A bit of Sherlock Holmes / Jeremy Brett’s hair style through the year.
Personally, I think it went to quite some changes and I can’t understand all of them. We rarely see Holmes with “fresh” hair - without product in his hair, and while in S1 and S2 the product is not overused, we can already see they used a lot of product with beginning of S3 (last row, left). Personally, I think his hair in “The Final Problem” and “The Naval Treaty” are the best suiting and fitting (second row). In later seasons, they not only invented the “rainbow of doom” as I call it, but they also put so much product into Jeremy’s hair, that it almost vanished (last gif).
In connection with Jeremy’s illness and weight gain, I sometimes think it would have been better to let his hair be a bit more fluffy, so it sometimes shows off his sickness so much. I don’t know who made the decision. Jeremy? The Make Up Department?
And of course, there is the infamous season with his short hair! For all who want to know more, here a little part from “Bending the Willow” by David Stuart Davies:
It was at this period that his hair was cut quite short. He explained the reason for this change to me thus: ‘Before my hair was long, and it had to be combed back and plastered down to keep it in place. Now that it’s short, I can play with my hair, run my fingers through it, ruffle it, which I just couldn’t do before. It’s just something else to help me play the character.’
Sadly, the real reason for the change had more to do with Jeremy’s mental instability than another ploy to humanise Holmes. He was, by the time of the second series, beginning to hate Sherlock Holmes, even stating so in the press. He told Geoffrey Wansell of The Mail on Sunday: ‘I never liked the devil from the start. I can’t find anything of me in him,’ adding, ‘I must learn to live again.’ In trying to ‘live again’ and perhaps shake off the dark shadow of Holmes, he cut his hair in some kind of symbolic act.
Edward Hardwicke told me the truth behind the haircut: ‘Jeremy just got into one of his manic states—you know, I hate Sherlock Holmes etc., and one day he cut his hair. In front of the mirror, he lopped bits off. I remember the first time I saw him after he had done it. We were both appearing in an 80th Birthday Tribute to Sir Laurence Olivier at The National. He turned up at the theatre and I said, “God, what have you done to your hair?” It was patently obvious it had not been cut by a barber—there were bits sticking up all over.’
The make-up department at Granada had to deal with the mangled thatch, as did producer Michael Cox, who, keeping up appearances, suggested that the shortlocks Sherlock worked. I was dismayed, as were many other champions of the series. At that time, of course, we were not aware of the seriousness of Brett’s illness.