When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, we’re all Dr. Watson. We try to solve the mystery ourselves based on the few clues we can perceive, but Holmes is always many steps ahead, making deductions based on evidence we haven’t even noticed.
It’s certainly impossible to keep up with Sherlock Holmes as portrayed in films and TV. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the sleuth invented 127 years ago by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the most oft-portrayed character in cinema, having been played by more than 70 actors in upwards of 200 projects. One of the most celebrated, the current BBC series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a 21st-century Holmes, returned to the airwaves this week, with its third season debuting on these shores on PBS on Jan. 19. And Cumberbatch is just one of several current TV and movie Sherlocks, including Robert Downey Jr. and Jonny Lee Miller.
Conan Doyle’s hero – a mix of deductive brilliance, charisma, and personal vices – has proved surprisingly adaptable over the past century and a quarter. He continues to fascinate, whether he’s prowling the foggy streets of Victorian London or trolling the Internet in the age of Twitter. Here, then, are 10 of our favorite actors who’ve (metaphorically, at least) tried on the deerstalker cap, proving over the decades that there’s no ace like Holmes.
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