Esler: Travel to Baker Street any day this summer and you'll see a line of tourists, many of them from the Far East, waiting to get into 221B. It's the address of someone who never lived there because he never lived at all. Sherlock Holmes. And yet, Holmes remains one of the most enduring characters in world literature. Now, more than 120 years after he first smoked his pipe, Holmes and his sidekick, Dr Watson, have been reimagined, not just in a Guy Ritchie movie, but also for a BBC series, which starts on Sunday night, created by the man who's currently also behind Doctor Who. In this very modern Holmes, the relationship with Dr Watson is, you might say, very 21st century. Here's a clip of the old and the new.

Holmes: A convict, thank heaven!
Watson: What?
Watson: That's the man I shot at the night we arrived, the man Barrowman was signaling to. Who is it?
Holmes: The Notting Hill Murderer. He escaped from prison last month.

John: People don’t have arch-enemies.
Sherlock: I’m sorry?
John: In real life. There are no arch-enemies in real life. Doesn’t happen.
Sherlock: Doesn’t it? Sounds a bit dull.
John: So who did I meet?
Sherlock: What do real people have, then, in their ‘real lives’?
John: Friends; people they know; people they like; people they don’t like ... Girlfriends, boyfriends ...
Sherlock: Yes, well, as I was saying – dull.
John: You don’t have a girlfriend, then?
Sherlock: Girlfriend? No, not really my area.
John: Mm. Oh, right. D’you have a boyfriend? Which is fine, by the way.
Sherlock: I know it’s fine.
John: So you’ve got a boyfriend then?
Sherlock: No.
John: Right. Okay.

Esler: Well, I'm joined now by Steve Moffat, the executive producer of Doctor Who and co-creator of the new Sherlock Holmes series, and by the playwright and Doctor Who fan, Mark Ravenhill. Um, Steven, what is it about Holmes that 123 years on still gets us.
Moffat: I think, I mean, he's honestly the single best fictional character ever created. It's a marvel. I think the one thing that got me and I think still gets people to this day, he's got the one explainable superpower that's out there. (Esler chuckling) When he deduces things, when he looks at someone, he looks at Dr Watson and deduces he's been in Afghanistan or Iraq, he actually goes to the trouble to explain it. Now, Superman never tells you how he flies, The Doctor, trust me, never tells you how the TARDIS is bigger on the inside.
Esler: And you should know...
Moffat: I've tried to find out...
Esler: Yeah, nobody knows.
Moffat: ...he won't say a word. But Sherlock Holmes tells you how the trick is done.
Esler: Ah.
Moffat: And when that works, Um, and it works beautifully in the stories, and we've tried to duplicate that element of it, it's so exciting.
Esler: That, I think we all agree, that is the really exciting bit of Sherlock Holmes. But what about bringing the character up to date? Nicotine patches instead of smoking, texting, and so on, does that work for you?
Ravenhill: Absolutely, I mean, I just watched the preview of the show tonight and it's absolutely so exciting and so witty. Um, and I think one of the things about Sherlock Holmes, he does explain what he does, but also there's an elusive quality about him. We never quite get to know him. He is a mystery. And I think that's what's so fascinating about the Watson-Holmes relationship. Often in movies and in TV, the buddy relationship, as you know if they're not your buddy, they're easier to know than the women around you. So you retreat to your buddy. But, actually, Holmes and Watson... Watson's never gonna quite figure out who Holmes is. So he... Here is an element of mystery about him, as well...
Moffat: That's right, yeah.
Ravenhill: there is with The Doctor.
Moffat: Mmm-hmm.
Esler: Yeah, 'cause there's strong, um, similarities, there's some similarities, at least with The Doctor. They're, sort of, better than us, they deduce things, they need to have a sidekick to explain things and plot turns.
Moffat: Yeah, they do, but they're also, sort of, opposites. I always think of The Doctor, oddly enough, strange enough as a thing to say, but as more human. I was thinking he's more like that...
Esler: But he wants to be, doesn't he?
Moffat: Yeah.
Esler: I mean, he's a Time Lord.
Moffat: He's like an angel who aspires to be human.
Esler: Hmm.
Moffat: Whereas Sherlock Holmes is a... is a human being who aspires to be a god. So they're, um, he's rejecting the very things that The Doctor embraces. But they sort of meet in the middle, 'cause neither succeeds in their aspirations.
Ravenhill: Well, they're both very English, and they're both really draw on this tradition of the kind of Edwardian amateur scientist. Um, and in this programme of Steven's, Sherlock keeps on saying, "I'm not an amateur, I'm not an amateur." But they draw on that same Edwardian tradition. And they're both the people who say the most in the room, which I think makes them very different from a lot of American heroes. The John Wayne character or the Arnold Schwarzenegger character is the person who says the least in the room. Whereas The Doctor and Sherlock Holmes are firing out brilliant words all the time.
Moffat: Mmm.
Esler: How far, how far is this a buddy movie? I mean, it is about the relationship between these two men.
Moffat: You know, I think the Sherlock Holmes stories have always been about the friendship. I mean, the surface level is the detection, but what you fall in love with is these two impossible opposites who adore each other. And it's a very male friendship, in that they never sit down and ever, ever talk about it. And there's only one instance in the entire canon of the show that comes to where Sherlock Holmes admits he likes Dr Watson, one occasion, when he thinks Dr Watson is about to die. That's it! A totally male friendship, you only say anything nice if someone is dead in front of you.
Esler: But where does the gay bit come in? I mean, are you playing with it? Are you teasing the audience?
Moffat: Do you know what? It doesn't really. Even in that scene, what we're doing there is kind of dismissing it. Who knows who Sherlock Holmes fancies? I don't think he fancies anyone except himself.
Esler: Except himself. So, that's part of the mystery that Mark was talking about. Is that how you saw it?
Ravenhill: Yeah, I think on one level it's not gay at all, and that scene brilliantly dismisses that. And yet, as I said, it does play with this thing of normally the male-male relationship is you're with somebody more comfortable and more safe than females, who are strange and mysterious to straight men. And yet, Dr Watson finds himself with this kind of elusive, changeable, mysterious person. And in a lot of fiction, it's the female character. So there is something about the male-female relationship, alongside the buddy thing, which makes it much more complex than most buddy-buddy relationships.
Esler: Is it, is it true that both characters, um, appeal to a gay audience particularly? Doctor Who has got quite a big gay following, you can see it on the internet, and so does Sherlock Holmes.
Ravenhill: Doctor Who, certainly, for some reason, which I've never quite fathomed, you know, me included, get... Young gay men, as they're growing up, really tie into that Doctor Who story. And I think, as gay men, we partly identify with The Doctor. He's this flamboyant, bohemian character. And we partly identify with the companion, as well, who's been rescued from a dull life and whisked away by this bohemian, gay character. (chuckling)
Esler: He's also a bit of an outsider.
Ravenhill: But I think, Sherlock Holmes I think, as far as I'm aware, maybe Steven knows different, has less of a gay following.
Moffat: I don't actually know. I don't even know if it's true, in either case, if whether it's not... just, there's an awful lot of people who watch it therefore there's a lot...
Esler: But the big picture I thought, though, is that both characters are extraordinary in the sense that they are one of the few characters in literature, or on TV, that can relate to anybody. They can quite credibly meet a dustman or a duchess.
Moffat: Yes.
Esler: And that's very useful...
Moffat: Exactly, yes.
Esler: ...for Conan Doyle or for you...
Moffat: 'Cause they can go into anyone's life and do anything. They can go any place and they can be the exceptional person they are with that person, yes.
Esler: So, as a writer, that's great fun, 'cause you can do anything.
Moffat: It's good to have both, I'll tell ya, yeah.
Esler: Do you agree that that is the genius of Conan Doyle, actually, to create this, one of these very few characters that can do that?
Ravenhill: Yeah, and it's amazing that there is something elusive, and that we'll never quite understand. And that's great about the Sherlock Holmes character. That every actor can reinvent him, and that he can appear in all sorts of different disguises. He can be in a comedy version of Sherlock Holmes, he can be in an up-to-date version of Sherlock Holmes, as Steven's done. And yet, there is something essentially Sherlock Holmes about him that we recognise even though we can't identify. And that's the same with The Doctor. There are certain characters who've got this mystery about them, but they can keep on reinventing themselves, completely change, and yet, at core, there's something mythic and heroic about them.
Esler: Great stuff. Thanks both very much.

@темы: серия 1.01, интервью, Sherlock