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Andy Archer, co-publisher of the Sherlock Holmes Gazette, on Holmeses past and present: 'The problem is that each generation sees a different Holmes and sees that person as the ultimate, true Holmes. I think Jeremy Brett is brilliant, a little mannered, but then so was Laurence Olivier. I liked Basil Rathbone, but he and Brett are the only two as far as I'm concerned. I actually thought the worst one was with Michael Caine - which was a shame as he's one of my favourite actors - but he didn't have the aesthetic, deep-thinker quality of Brett.

'The Granada productions don't veer far from Conan Doyle's originals, just enough to make it work for television. The whole programme has that kind of gloss that, when applied to period drama, will sell worldwide. The Japanese are totally obsessed by it.'

Minutiae: Currently in residence at 221b Baker Street is a branch of the Abbey National where the press officer, Erica Harper, handles Holmes's mail: some 50 letters a week. 'These are often people writing simply to say 'Hi, Sherlock. How you doing?' We reply that he is now 140 and has retired to Sussex.'

(Photograph omitted)

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