Holmes, Undershaw and a Great Debate


Last Saturday, I drove down to Hindhead in Surrey (including an interesting but rather bumpy sat-nav generated diversion around the Devil’s Punchbowl). I was visiting Undershaw, the former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is where he wrote many of his stories, including the famous Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

It is a beautiful property that was built for Doyle, following his instructions, in order to accomodate his wife’s poor health. After years as a hotel, it has been lovingly restored and, with the addition of a modern extension, serves as the home of the Stepping Stones School.

Paul Hiscock Writing in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Study

I was there to take part in the Great Sherlock Holmes Debate 2019 as one of fourteen panelists, each defending a different adaptation of Sherlock Holmes as being a valuable addition to the character’s legacy. However, first I took part in an Undershaw tradition and wrote the first line of a new Sherlock Holmes story sitting at the desk in Conan Doyle’s own study. 

The debate itself was great fun, with panelists taking part from all over the world via a video conferencing link-up. I felt a little underqualified alongside so many notable figures from the world of Sherlock Holmes fandom, but I did my best to make the case for the Disney film, The Great Mouse Detective, which was based upon the Basil of Baker Street series of books by Eve Titus.

Even the most unlikely of adaptations was shown to have its merits and in the end I agreed with the proposition put forward by the organiser, Steve Emecz from MX Publishing, that “All Holmes is good Holmes”. You don’t have to take my word for it though — all of our presentations were recorded for posterity on video and can be viewed below or at https://bit.ly/TheGreatSherlockHolmesDebate2019Videos

Once you have watched, there is also an opportunity to vote. Do you think any of the adaptations went too far, or do you agree that they all have their place? Visit http://bit.ly/GreatSherlockHolmesDebateVote to have your say.


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