I’ve been hearing vague references about this for a while, but not enough to know what to think about it.

Starting tonight (9pm, BBC 1 and BBC HD) is a new Sherlock Holmes TV series. There will initially be three 90 minute episodes, each (as far as I can tell from the information so far available) a complete story.

But, but, but, I hear you but.[1] Surely there’s no point doing Sherlock Holmes again? Didn’t Jeremy Brett star in the definitive version? Weren’t those few starring whatshisname not terribly good? Well, right on both counts, but stay with me.

This is Sherlock Holmes updated to the present. Yes, yes, yes. I know. Terrible idea. A bit naff when they did it with Basil Rathbone, and surely it just wouldn’t work now?

Well, ordinarily that’s exactly what I’d be thinking. I’d probably watch out of curiosity and then grumble about it, but I wouldn’t be actually looking forward to seeing what latest outrage had been committed against one of my all-time fictional heroes. Well, two of them, really. Watson is often underestimated, and frequently badly cast and badly played[3]. Edward Hardwicke and David Burke were pretty damn perfect in the Jeremy Brett TV versions, and I liked Jude Law’s version in last year’s movie, but those are exceptions to a generally dire rule.

But, and here’s the big but. This moderately big production has a major advantage. It’s been thought up, put together and written by Steven Moffat, who I may have mentioned once or twice and Mark Gatiss, who has also had some Doctor Who involvement. And that’s enough to make me want to watch it. More than enough, in fact.

Holmes is being played by a man with one of the most wonderful names I’ve ever heard: Benedict Cumberbatch, and Watson by that eternal everyman Martin Freeman. Just as in the original stories, Watson is an army doctor just back from Afghanistan who’s introduced to a strange man who needs someone to share a flat…

The first story is called A Study in Pink, but somehow I don’t think it will be a pale imitation[4] of the first Conan Doyle Holmes story.

This being a suitably modern production, there’s some suitable support material on the net:

The Science of Deduction – Sherlock Holmes’s website

The blog of Dr John H Watson

BBC Sherlock site

Looks like it’s going to be worth watching. I’ll follow up with my opinions when I’ve seen it…

[1] But[2]
[2] This may be a Welsh reference :wales:
[3] Did I mention the Basil Rathbone movies?
[4] Sorry, had to be done. And if you don’t get it, get reading. Now.