pat troughton


MORE favourite dead not-American actors: an Advent Calendar

Day 23: Jeremy Brett

Much like my adoration for Pat Troughton , my love of Jeremy is approx 73% because of one role. That’s ok. This is the joy of things. Especially when those things are telly programmes and there’s a ton of them to enjoy over and over again. As a tiny nipper, my Holmes was Baz, of course, in the always-on-the-telly increasingly anachronistic 30s/40s films, but - luckily for me - teenage me got Jeremy, and wonderful scripts and marvellous design and two great Watsons. 

Set aside the reams and reams of nitpicking and debate that have been written about ACD and Holmes over the decades, (but not the fanfic, never set the fanfic aside) and just marvel in the sheer joy that is Jeremy’s Holmes. There are few more complete inhabitations of a role. Mercurial, cutting, agile, knowingly theatrical, charming; gleaming with intelligence and flashes of humour, and above all a real sense of respect for the source material, and the icon that Holmes is, without ever descending into parody or heavy-handedness. It is a wondrous, life-giving, glee-inducing, comfort blanket of a thing to see, whether for the first or the thirty-first time. 

Of course, there’s all the other roles as well. From his startlingly swoonsome youth (my dad, an avid theatre-goer from the 50s onwards, and not one to comment on the looks of actresses, never mind actors, said that 1950s Jeremy on stage was one of the most beautiful men he had ever seen), through his sterling work - especially in some great 70s telly - in his middle years, he is a delight to watch. And of course - which always helps - a complete darling of a man. 

Favourite Role: obvs Sherlock Holmes, and while I’m a Hardwicke gal, and don’t always rewatch S1 as much, he is perfection from the very start. It’s so hard to pick a favourite ep, but  I have an exceeding fondness for The Abbey Grange (scathing about the North), The Musgrave Ritual (petulant!Holmes and his comfort blanket) and The Master Blackmailer (everyone is fabulous, Holmes vs CAM is amazing).  

Another Good Place to Start: he’s a wonderful Basil Hallward in the BBC’s Picture of Dorian Gray [1976], with a little-too-old Johnny G as Henry Wooton and a rather petulant Peter Firth as Dorian. It’s stagey and videotaped, but it’s well worth watching. For young, swoony (supporting actor) Jeremy, Girl in the Headlines [1963] is an entertaining little british cop thriller, nicely seedy at times and pretty engaging.