Jeremy Brett is, to me, the definitive Sherlock Holmes. It's hard for me to put my finger on exactly why. He just does everything right. He is arrogant, condescending, occasionally manic, and brilliant. The way he speaks, his mannerisms- all are how I imagine Holmes when I read him. I enjoy Basil Rathbone and Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, but they don't beat Jeremy Brett.
I first saw the Granada Sherlock Holmes series as a kid, when it aired on PBS. It was shown as part of the Mystery! series, but it was produced by a British channel called ITV. Mystery! was memorable to me because it had the Edward Gorey opening. Even now I can picture the macabre illustrations on the screen and the woman tilting her head back, putting the back of her hand to her forehead saying "Oooh!" The funny thing is, I don't know if I watched anything else on Mystery! Aside from Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, I never read mysteries, and I hardly ever watch them on tv.
Along with Holmes, there must be an excellent Watson. The Granada series had two different actors fill the role- David Burke and Edward Hardwicke. Burke only played Watson for the first two years, and then Hardwicke took over for the other eight. I like them both as Watson, but I prefer Hardwicke. Poor Watson. He has to put up with a lot. Holmes can be pretty rough on his friend sometimes.
|Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke|
Of course there are the major recurring characters of the Doyle stories in the Granada series, too. Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes, Inspector Lestrade, and arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty all appear. I personally love when Mycroft shows up. Mycroft may be even smarter than Holmes, and they have an interesting relationship.
Jeremy Brett died at the age of 61 from heart failure, ending the series after ten years with adaptions of almost three quarters of the Sherlock Holmes canon.
Brett brought to life the resident of 221B Baker Street in a way that no one else has.