Monday, 30 January 2012

Cut and Paste and Post.

Greetings everyone out there in Internetland. The first month of 2012 is almost over and, boy, hasn't it flown? Christmas feels like yesterday, yet it was last year. Anyhow, quantum mechanics isn't the theme of today's post. Most certainly not, in fact, as today I've got a very different piece of fiction for you. The other day for my Creativity module, we were told to bring scissors and glue to the session. Yes, I am still at university. And, yes, I am taking a proper course. We were looking at ways to be creative (as any good writer needs to do) and so were tasked cut up random phrases or sentences that jumped out at us from sheets of pulpy science fiction novels we were given. With these, we were compose something new out of them. I thought I would share the result of mine here with you.

It's a Pendulum Professor

In the distance, night fell.  Moonlight.
He gave his attention to the straightening of his papers by tapping the bottom edges of the podium. He would have looked menacing, but his tiny mouth and chin spoiled the effect.
Pausing for a moment to scan the crowd, Matsui took a deep breath.
‘We believe the killer to be insane. This is disturbing enough, of course.’ He gazed at a spot just over Bach’s left shoulder. ‘If we’re going to push knowledge forward, we will escape our past.’
Heads nodded in the audience.
‘You can raise the ‘nuclear annihilation’ demon.’ Chesnutt chuckled.
‘You will have guessed by now that we intend using you as bait.’
Chesnutt grimaced.
Matsui pushed his hands deep into his pockets. ‘Psychology section says our killer is probably male. Which does not rule out our female suspects.’
‘Good speech, sir’ Henderson stood quietly for a minute. Her eyes were open, and strangely peaceful.
‘I’m sorry.’ From the back of the room, a woman hurried for the door.
Matsui finished his speech. Maybe he was getting too old for the back-stabbing politics of the university.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Lost in Time

Inspired by a recent post on Doctor Who comic writer, Jonathan Morris' blog, I got all nostalgic and thought it'd be fun to seek out some of my old notebooks which I used to fill to the brim with scribblings for Doctor Who stories when I was a young teen . Sometimes half-written adventures, occasionally a synopsis or plot summary but mostly just a title and a few notes. So, after excavating one from the deep, dark recesses of my room, I've decided to share some of these teenage dreamings with you. Please don't make fun, I'm confiding in you here. And no stealing, I may use some of these one day. Ta.

The Face Escape - I bet I was pleased with myself for this pun. This didn't have much about written about other than that it contained a villainous evil computer called the Face.

The Nightmare World - This is one I was really proud of and worked out a full plot for. I'm sadly not going to tell you a lot about it but suffice it to say I sort of beat Steven Moffat to the punch with this one. And I mean that in the least arrogant way possible.

Slitheen Rivalry - I really loved my pun titles, eh? No prizes for guessing which monsters this featured.

Cave of the Dragon - Must have been done before this one; Doctor Who in medieval times.

The House That Flew Away - I believe this idea came about after watching 'Zathura.' 'Nuff said.

Tomb of Sontaris - I'm pleased with this one too. It has a nice story to it.  Who knows, it might see the light of day yet.

The Phantom Force - Your guess is as good as mine here.

The Cybermen of Ages - You can tell I'm a fan boy, can't you?

Eye of the Rani -  What happened to her other one?

Ghost House - Title says it all really.

Thunderstorm - Don't know where I was going with this one.

The Entrapped Enemy - Lame title. I think it was to do with Omega.

The Last Sphere - This one was for Tom Baker's Doctor - interesting.

The Catrigan Catastrophe - Nice ring to it, no idea what it consists of though.

The Nestene Child - Says it on the tin.

Book of Scroll - Ooohh, hmmm...

The Crystalline Crysallis - Maybe my favourite title out of these. Just sounds good.

What do you think? Do any have some merit? It's an interesting exercise, this, even though I'm not sure quite what to take from it. Though, I think I might search again for more of my old notebooks now. You never know what I might find.

The Singular Affair of the Apparent Death of Sherlock Holmes

Oh, before I go,; in case you've been living on the dark side of the moon for the past week you will know how the superb second series of Sherlock culminated. For those that have been on an extraterrestiral jaunt, the nation watched through teary eyes as Sherlock plummeted to his death, jumping off St Bart's Hospital, only to reappear, shortly after, at his own graveside!
The internet has been awash with theories about how he escaped (Moffat and Gatiss are remaining stoutly schtum), some plausible and others very bizarre. My personal favourite of the mad ones is that the Sherlock we saw fall was actually just a Tesselecta (the shape-shifting, numbskull-carrying justice-serving spaceship from Doctor Who last year which died in the Doctor's place). The best of the ones that could actually be true is possibly Paul Cornell's, although I dissagree with him on a few points. I suspect that whatever any of us come up with will never be what will actually turn out to be truth.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Story Time #4: The Adventure of the Whistling Ghost

Hello and welcome to another my home-grown, completely mine, no-taking-from-these-please-thanks stories. Today's is something you may have read mentioned in other posts before Christmas, my own attempt at writing a faithful Conan Doyle style Sherlock Holmes story with an original plot by me. Here I give you the first 1500 words as (hopefully) a treat. If you have any comments on the story here, please leave them below. Right, now cast your mind back to Christmas, it's a cold winter night, you're sitting in front of a cracking open fire (maybe chestnuts are roasting) and you pick up this story (pretend it's an old leather-bound book rather than on a computer screen) and read...

                                 The Adventure of the Whistling Ghost

Of all the cases that I have chronicled over the years few have been as striking as the strange affair at Vortigern House. A tale of mystery, intrigue and tragedy, I always wished to recount it to my reading public but I solemnly promised I would refrain from doing so to the participants of the case at its culmination. However, this sanction has now been lifted upon the sad death of the head of the family whose daughter has allowed for me to release it now.
It was Christmas 1889, and London was full of festive cheer. Although not a particular advocate of the additional festivities that have adorned the special day of late, I could not help being moved by the rosy glow on all the fair city’s citizens I passed. Everyone seemed to be taking Christmas to heart. I went under this jovial supposition until I reached Baker Street, the abode of my dear friend, Mr Sherlock Holmes.
My wife Mary was away on a visit for the week and so I had decided to stay with Holmes until she returned. When I arrived I found Mrs Hudson had decked my friend’s rooms in colourful paper decorations which made Holmes’s languorous figure, draped over the sofa and attired in his favourite dressing gown, rather incongruous.
‘This Christmas has been frightfully full of tedium, Watson,’ he told me, once I had settled back into my old lodgings. ‘Do you remember that year when we were blessed with that case of the Blue Carbuncle in the goose? Of course you do, you chronicled it in the Strand, I believe. Well, this year has brought no such case. I have had nothing brought to me. No improbable murder, nor seemingly-illogical theft, nor even a simple cipher to crack. I curse the lack of good crime this season brings.’

‘Oh, Holmes,’ I retorted. ‘What about good will to all men?’
‘If good will at this time of year means no crime then I say goodbye to Christmas!’
‘You know, you sound like Dicken’s very own Ebeneezer Scrooge.’
Holmes glanced at me with the smallest fraction of a smile. ‘Bah humbug.’
‘Well, if there’s no case to be had then why not visit your brother? Christmas is meant to be about surrounding oneself with loved ones and you haven’t seen him since that ghastly business with the Angel of Trafalgar Square last June.’
Holmes merely snorted at my suggestion and I was about to further my point when the doorbell peeled, causing my friend to bolt into an alert position like a dog who had just sniffed an interesting scent.

‘Could it be, Watson, that the Ghost of Christmas Present has brought me a gift after all?’

Momentarily, the door to our study opened and a young dark-haired woman dressed in fine clothes entered. Her apparel and overall well-kempt appearance told that she was a woman with wealth in her family.

As I rose to greet her and show her to a chair, I noticed a sly smile crease Holmes’ face. ‘I trust that your problem is important as you have made the journey from Kent and left the arms of your beloved to come here.’

The young girl looked astounded. ‘I don’t understand. Has my mother sent you a telegram?’

‘No, my dear, I merely deduced it. I noticed, as you sat down, the soil on your shoes is both fresh and of unmistakeable Kentish origin – you remember Watson that I once wrote a short monograph on the subject - while your betrothal I assumed from your stature.’

‘My stature, sir?’

‘Yes. Although you recently suffered a period of strife - the slight, probably unconscious hanging of your head tells me that – you still hold yourself with that singular confidence which only those in the first throws of love have.’ I was a little astounded myself at this as Holmes very rarely touched upon the subject of love. It had always occurred to me that such feelings were alien to him but now and again he would mention something that shed a dim light on his soul.

‘Well, Mr Holmes, I see that Dr Watson does not exaggerate your genius in his stories. Maybe you can work out what on Earth is happening to my family.’ The girl paused here, as if she were struggling to speak. ‘Mr Holmes, my house is being haunted by a phantom.’

The girl saw the sceptical – almost mocking look – on my friend’s face. Regular readers of these incoherent memoirs may remember our previous client who claimed to be pursued by the supernatural in the form of a Hound which had of course turned out to be a very mortal mutt. Holmes had not believed in such superstition then and clearly was not about to now.

‘Then if it is not a phantom, how can a man disappear into thin air?’

My friend’s expression changed. ‘Pray tell us what has happened from the start. Leave no detail untold.’

‘Well, my name is Rosemary White and I am from Kent as you correctly guessed. My father, Ignatius White, came into some wealth before my birth and so my childhood was one of privilege and happiness, passing with little strife or turmoil. However, the last few weeks have contained enough for a lifetime.

‘I have lived all nineteen years of my life in a manor house near Rochester, it is known as Vortigern House; an old place with much history. The traditional owners, the Vortigern family ruled over the parish for generations and are still remembered locally for their ruthless, unkind treatment of the townsfolk. Many stories have evolved around the Vortigerns and their house; some say the old Lord Vortigern’s ghost still haunts it. A short while ago I would have laughed at the idea but not now.
‘Sometime during the last month, one night I heard the strangest sound; a long, high whistling. At first I thought it merely the wind blowing throw the trees outside my window, but it was too melodious; a melancholic almost morose tune which left me full of dread. I left my room to alert someone but everyone was already awake having heard the same peculiar noise, like it had echoed through the house. We sent men around the house to find the culprit but they found nothing inside or when they searched the grounds. This certainly unsettled my mother and me but nowhere near as profoundly as my father. He fell into a terrible nervous state of which was most troubling to me for I had not seen my father, who is usually so strong and not in the least superstitious, so terrified.
‘I see,’ interjected Holmes. ‘Ms White, could you repeat this ominous whistling now for me? It would help to imagine the scenario.’
‘Yes, of course,’ the girl answered, before licking her lips and beginning the tune. If the girl’s impersonation was correct, I can understand how a grown man may be quake from it. It was a beautiful melody indeed, but thoroughly haunting.
‘Thank you, Ms White.’ Holmes nodded. ‘Continue.’
‘Well gradually, throughout the week, mother and I restored him to almost full health but exactly seven days after the first, at midnight, we all heard the same morose tune and again found no soul anywhere in the grounds. This, of course, sent my father back to his previous state. The whistling has been heard twice more since, my father now refuses to leave the house. The strain of looking after my father and the fear of what kind of power could transform one usually so stout into a nervous wreck any time he hears it is taking its toll on my mother – we have had to call of our visit to my aunt as she is bedridden with worry.’
The girl hesitated here, for a second or so her youth showed and she looked most vulnerable. ‘It is all a grate strain on my mind; it feels like the world is ceasing to make any sense. Thank God I have Marcus. That is Marcus Adams; my fiancée of three months whom you guessed existed earlier.’ The young woman reddened slightly in the cheeks before climaxing her story. ‘We have called the police but they have found nothing. My father, a proud man, wished not for you, Mr Holmes and Dr Watson, to get involved, but it is on my mother’s insistence that I come to you today as the ghost comes every week on this day. Please, will you help us, Mr Holmes?’
Sherlock Holmes sat still in his chair a few moments before replying; ‘How could I refuse such a most singular case with several interesting features. We will accompany you on the first train back to Kent.’ As I glanced at my friend, I noticed an excited glint in his eye that I was so familiar with when Holmes had a case on his hands. As the man himself would say ‘the game is afoot!’

Friday, 6 January 2012

Sherlock's Greatest Moments

The more Sherlock-like among you may have realised there's two very good reasons for a doing a post such as this. Firstly, its a year ago this month that we were all enjoying the flabbergasting fruits of Sherlock Series Two and with the lack of any new Sherlock for the next few months its nice to remind ourselves of how good  the show is. The second reason is that today, Twelfth Night, is Sherlock Holmes' 159th birthday! Its been a long-held Sherlockian idea (based on hints in the Holmes canon) that Holmes was born on 6th January 1854.  It's a testament to Conan Doyle's genius that he created a character who inspired people enough to search through his works so they could give their hero a birthday. Really, though, Holmes is timeless; as a show which updates he and his loyal friend's adventures to the 21st century shows. Many Happy Returns, Mr Holmes!

5. I've Just Got One... 
From: 'The Hounds of Baskerville'

Why: The heart of Sherlock is the staunch friendship between Sherlock and John - which is rarely better demonstrated than in this touching scene. After shouting at John the previous night during their investigation in Dartmoor, Sherlock admits to John that the good doctor is his only friend. This scene also shows the development of Sherlock since the start of Series One; it seems impossible that that Sherlock Holmes would have admitted to have a relationship of any kind with a(nother) human being.

4. Sherlock Christmas
From: 'A Scandal in Belgravia'

Why: A real favourite of mine. It adds nothing to the overall plot but which Sherlock fan would not want to see all the CSI Baker Street gang celebrating Chrimble round Sherlock and John's? Its hilarious to see that Sherlock does not even switch off his dream-shattering deductions at Christmas, costs John another girlfriend by getting her name wrong whilst still showing off his violin skills. This scene also delivers a bittersweet moment when Sherlock humiliates dear old Molly Hooper, as usual, but then apologises for his behaviour! Perhaps even Sherlock's stony heart gets warmed by the spirit of Christmas?

3. Meet Moriarty
From: 'The Great Game'

Why: Right from his first appearance, Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty, 'the most dangerous criminal mind the world has ever seen', is completely engrossing - in a camp yet dangerous way that's all his own. The way he dances rings round Sherlock in this scene - a man we know well enough by now to know that's very unusual - and spouts some of the most memorable lines of  the series makes this one of the show's best scenes. But then, if you're a fan like me, everything I have  to say has already crossed your mind...

2. The Address is 221B Baker Street...
From: 'A Study in Pink'

Why: Simply because its the moment our two heroes first meet! Ingeniously lifted straight from the pages of Conan Doyle and plonked into this spanking new TV show, this wonderful scene introduces John's fascination and amazement at Sherlock's methods as well as giving us a very good impression of the fundamentals of Sherlock's character: his coldness, charisma, love of technology, scientific knowledge - and, of course, his brilliance. The two men - although very different - clearly like each other straight away. Little knowing it will be the start of a great friendship.

1. The Fall
From: 'The Reichenbach Fall'

The Sherlock moment at the top of my list is also the last (for the moment, not ever - I for one can't wait for Series Three later this year). Moriarty's masterplan has been deployed, and Sherlock's reputation lays in tatters. With Moriarty threatening his only friends in the world - John, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson - it seems Sherlock's only option is to give into his nemesis - and jump from the roof of Barts Hospital. The build-up to THE moment is full of tension and cracking dialogue ('the side of the angels' line is one of my favourites) while the phone-conversation between John and Sherlock is heart-breaking, beaten only by John's lament to Sherlock's grave in the following scene. Even though we know Sherlock (somehow) lives on, its still quite the powerful scene. Series Three has a lot to live up to but after the quality of the previous two series,  I have full faith.

Sherlock Holmes and the Other Adaptions

As the triumphant modern version of Sherlock has returned to our screens recently with Steven Moffat's 'A Scandal in Belgravia' and Mark Gatiss' 'Hounds of the Baskerville' and finishes this week with Steven Thompson's 'The Reichenbach Fall' (I know, I can't flippin' wait either!) I thought I'd run through some of the best -  or my favourite - adaptations that I have immensely enjoyed since I became a Holmes fan. So if the BBC smash hit series has made you one of a whole new generation (including me) that have fallen for the world's greatest detective I highly recommend you don your deerstalker, cape and magnifying glass and seek these other versions of Holmes out. Now.*

5. Clive Merrison   

The star of BBC Radio Four's complete adaptations of the original stories and its spin-off The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, all-new stories based on references to untold cases in the canon, Merrison is a great Holmes. Faithful to Conan Doyle's original portrayal, unlike many onscreen Holmes he gets the balance between morose layabout and excited investigator right and him and Michael Williams have an obvious rapport and believably fond friendship.

4. Robert Stephens

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, in which Stephens is the lead, is one of the best Holmes films out there. It sets out to address the real Holmes behind Conan Doyle's mysteries. Raising the questions fans debate for hours; his sexuality, his upbringing, his drug addiction ETC and largely answers them satisfyingly. Plus, it finds time for a rollicking mystery involving the Loch Ness Monster and Queen Victoria! Steven Moffat's also quoted it as one of the influences on Sherlock (it features a scene where a woman walks around stark naked in front of Holmes - coincidence, I think not!). Stephens himself plays both the comedy moments and drama with aplomb although Colin Blakely as his Watson is a bit of a prat.

3. Peter Cushing

Cushing, whom you might know from his roles as Dr Frankenstein and Van Helsing in the old Hammer Horror films (he also played Doctor Who in a couple of movies in the sixties), was Holmes in a Hammer version of 'Hound of the Baskervilles'. It's a pleasing adaptation, the spookiness and atmosphere are beefed up while there's also more bright technicolour blood than you may remember from the story.Cushing certainly gets the brainiac side of Holmes well, as he furrows his brow a lot while thinking about the case and always eager to get sleuthing. His Watson is pretty forgetful, however, although I remember him being a fairly competent, serious character rather than a comic bumbler.

2. Basil Rathbone

Perhaps still the most iconic version of Holmes, Rathbone played Holmes in a series of films in the 40s which uprooted the intrepid detectives from fog-bound London and plopped them in modern-day wartime Britain (and yes, of course, Moffat and Gatiss have said these are their favourite adaptations). Rathbone is not the closest Holmes to the original - he's far too charming and genial for that - but he is thoroughly likeable. His Watson, Nigel Bruce, is the ultimate buffoon, constantly asking Holmes how he worked it out - enter the famous 'Elementary, my dear Watson!'

1. Jeremy Brett

Probably the Master of the Holmes adaptation. The Granada (now ITV) series of adaptions of the original stories is famous for going out of its way to be as faithful to Conan Doyle as possible. The sets are exquisite and, at the risk of sounding stupidly sycophantic, it really feels like the 1890s! Both actors who played Watson over the years (David Burke and Edward Hardwicke) are reliable, intelligent and more on a par with the detective. However, Brett is undoubtedly the star. He encapsulated all the aspects and complex personality of Holmes - the mood swings, the calculating mind, the asexuality - greater than perhaps any other actor (I would place Cumberbatch top, but that's my opinion). However, his success came at a price as he infamously had a breakdown in the 1990s and was haunted by the character in his dreams - afterwards, he only referred to Holmes as 'He'. After his death a few years His legacy remained in tact and is many Sherlockian's favourite Holmes - for good reason.

* I haven't included the new Hollywood blockbuster series starring Robert Downing Jr and Jude Law as you most probably have come across them before. I haven't seen the sequel A Game of Shadows but the first film was great fun although still not a patch on Sherlock  - I know, I'm loyal.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Doctor Who vs Sherlock!

Here we are again. Another year gone, another just starting. Same old, same old. Christmas has just been and gone, leaving you empty-pocketed and the warm glow you get from giving out presents and eating too much food has faded. It can be quite a depressing time of year for some, can January. However, this year we all have a bit of a pick-me-up, or should I say a huge chuck-me-into-the-stratosphere as the long-awaited second series of mega-clever, mega-exciting and mega-short Sherlock is BACK! Three new 90 minute movies are being given to us by the good people at the BBC and scriptwriting geniuses Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. AND this Christmas Day, as per tradition, we had a new Doctor Who special which will be our only Who fix for several months. So, the big question is, for someone like me who loves the worlds of Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes more than any other fiction; which was better? There's only one way to find out! Fight? No, a cerebral consideration of each.

By the way, spoilers ahead, sweeties. So if you haven't seen either the Who special or Sherlock, go and do so at once. Then come straight back here, OK? Promise? Good, I'll see you lot later.

There is definitely something extra Christmassy about Matt Smith's Christmas specials. Out of all of the Doctors, the Eleventh Doctor loves Christmas the most, perhaps on account of him being just a big kid. So when he lands in the cheery mid-winter this year in Steven Moffat's The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, his Doctor really enjoying himself and Matt Smith is on top form. The rest of the main guest cast are also great. Maurice Cole and Holly Earl are good as the kids and Claire Skinner (Sue in BBC sitcom Outnumbered, which if you haven't seen you really should) again gets to play a put-upon mum, Madge, very well, managing to be, as all great Doctor Who guest stars are, both touching and funny.
In narrative terms, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (I warn you not to initialise this title as part of it makes a rather un-family friendly word) follows the loose literary adaption theme started last year. However, I think this is where the story sadly falls short of last year's superb A Christmas Carol which largely stuck to how the Dickens classic plays out but with a huge dollop of timey-wimey, Wardrobe only takes the opening premise of CS Lewis's original tale - children are evacuated from London to a country house where they enter a magical winter wonderland. Once the Doctor and Madge join the kids, the tale spirals off into a tale of living trees with glowing orbs on their tops like Christmas trees that represent their souls. It's wonderful Christmas madness that only Doctor Who can do and Moffat has again pitched his episode to fit right in with the 'xmas atmos', but such a daft (in a good way) idea fails to pack the emotional punch of last year and all seems to whizz by until suddenly the Doctor's saying his goodbyes to the Arwells.
However, it's what happens next which was the highlight of this reviewer's Christmas (special of Doctor Who) - he goes and visits the Ponds! It's a joy to see Amy, armed with water pistol, answering the door on Christmas day to find her best friend she has not seen for two years standing on the doorstep, before inviting him in for Christmas dinner (they always set him a place apparently).The Doctor's own reaction, his own surprise at crying with happiness, is perfect. All in all, as it's Christmas (I can still say that as it's Twelfth Night) I say sod the subtle plot points, here's to this great slice of Doctor Who Christmas cake!

Just seven days later, as the year 2012 first opened its eyes, we were treated to the first big, possibly the biggest, treat of the year: the Return of Sherlock Holmes!
As you may know, from a quick glace at this blog, I adore Sherlock Holmes and in particular Moffat and Gattiss' modern versions of the classic tales; by stripping away the deerstalker, the fog and gaslight (all fun of course but not necessities) and concentrating on the characters of Holmes and Watson - or as we are in the 21st century, Sherlock and John - and the impossible mysteries, they have come up with the surprisingly closest adaptations of the original stories.
The opening episode of the second series, A Scandal in Belgravia, gets off to a brilliant start with the nail-biting cliffhanger from last year's finale being resolved so quickly and trivially that it is extremely funny - but there's also some foreboding as Moriarty skulks away, promising Sherlock they will meet again. The genius continues as we see the duo's success and fame growth over the months pass in minutes as John's blog becomes the talk of the town, causing Sherlock to don a deerstalker- yep, I know I what I just said, but this is a brilliant use of the stereotype - in disguise while out in public. We see several cases pass by which all have devilishly clever references to Conan Doyle tales ('The Greek Interpreter' becomes The Geek Interpreter, 'The Speckled Band' is The Speckled Blonde ETC) which is a great pay-off for Sherlockians like yours truly and hopefully encourages those who haven't to seek out the originals - if this sounds like you, please seek away.
Not to give to much away about the plot, Sherlock is sent on a mission by Buckingham Palace to recover compromising photos of an unnamed royal from dominatrix Irene Adler, known professionally as 'The Woman.' Fans of classic Holmes will know Adler as the only woman Holmes has ever taken too - something which is explored brilliantly here. Adler and Sherlock's form of flirting ranges from their playful battle of wits over his guessing her phone - that holds the photos - password (the answer to which is sure to become a catchphrase for fans) and her strutting around naked when they first meet. Theirs is a twisted love story to the highest degree and is fantastic viewing to watch unfold.
What brings the script to life is the excellent cast. As always, Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock is superb, drawing you too him every time he's on screen. As is Martin Freeman, who, although Cumberbatch as the best on-screen Holmes is debatable, is undoubtedly the best on-screen Watson. Una Stubbs gets quite a bit to do as Mrs Hudson, the Baker Street boy's resilient landlady, and Louise Brealey is again adorable in her few minutes on screen as the Sherlock-infatuated Molly. However, Lara Pulver is the star of the supporting cast as her Adler is sassy, sexy and a genius and is believably more than a match for Sherlock. After watching 90 minutes of something so cerebral yet exciting as this, your brain is throbbing from all it has taken it but you'll find yourself beaming at the expert telly you've just watched - why can't more telly be like this?!

So, overall, although both Who and Sherlock are the best examples of television out there, and it is extremely hard to choose between them, in this instance Sherlock wins, by a smidgen.
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