Doyle came to hate Holmes and killed him off in print only to be forced to revive him upon public demand. In documentary series “Killing Sherlock: Lucy Worsley on the Case of Conan Doyle” (3 x 60′), historian Lucy Worsley investigates the love-hate relationship in a parallel biography of Holmes and the man who created him.
The series follows in the footsteps of “Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen,” with Worsley unearthing Holmes’ origins in Doyle’s early life as a medical student, unpicking his early stories and revealing the dark underbelly of late Victorian Britain – from drug use to true crime. She explores Doyle’s growing disenchantment with his detective creation and desire to distance himself from Holmes and investigates the darkness of his later stories, mirroring the reality of Doyle’s life after the loss of his eldest son, his turn to spiritualism and declining public appeal and spat with a famous magician.
Worsley said “I have had a life-long crush on Sherlock Holmes, so it was the biggest pleasure imaginable to explore his life, death and resurrection. While exploring his life and times, I also got a real and sometimes troubling insight into manliness, Empire and Victorian values. I find his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, to be a complex, contradictory and endlessly fascinating character. “
To accompany the series, “Sherlock” creator Mark Gatiss, who has a tradition of adapting ghost stories for the BBC for Christmas, has adapted Doyle’s short story “Lot No. 249” (1 x 30’), starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox. It revolves around a group of Oxford students, one of whom undertakes research into the secrets of ancient Egypt which become the talk of the college.
Gatiss said: “It’s a serious delight for me to delve once again into the brilliant work of Arthur Conan Doyle, this time for the Christmas ghost story. ‘Lot No.249’ is a personal favorite and is the grand-daddy (or should that be Mummy?) of a particular kind of end of Empire chiller: a ripping yarn packed with ghastly scares and who-knows-what lurking in the Victorian closet.”
“Killing Sherlock: Lucy Worsley on the Case of Conan Doyle” is a BBC Studios Specialist Factual production for BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and PBS. The producers are Rachel Jardine and Laura Blount, the series producer is Linda Sands and the executive producer is Amanda Lyon. The commissioning editor for BBC Arts is Mark Bell. Zara Frankel is executive in charge for PBS.
“Lot No. 249” is produced by Isibéal Ballance for Adorable Media and will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this Christmas. It was commissioned for BBC Arts by Mark Bell and will be distributed internationally by BBC Studios.