Lucy: You’re playing him too extreme. He was eccentric, not psychotic.
Jonny: What can I do? It’s the media driving it. The original Holmes was only in print. The readers created their own Holmes. On film, Basil Rathbone played a fairly civil Holmes, Jeremy Brett sharpened his peremptory eccentricities. Then Robert Downey and Benedict Cumberbatch really upped Holmesian quirks to manias. Now TV ups the ante.
Lucy: So we’re doing a post-modern Holmes and Watson?
Jonny: Precisely. We can’t go back. Holmes’ genius exists with borderline personality disorder, Watson develops cerebrality and reins him in sometimes.
Conan Doyle’s original Holmes was eccentric. But recently the vogue to outdo what went before has become almost outrageous. Robert Downey’s 2009 Holmes was antisocial and depressive, Benedict Cumberbatch’s 2010 Holmes was sociopathic and with a touch of Aspergers, Jonny Lee Miller’s 2012 Holmes has a superiority complex and ADHD. Where will it end indeed?