BBC Arts has announced new series, Killing Sherlock: Lucy Worsley on the Case of Conan Doyle, made by BBC Studios and coming to BBC Two in December.

It will be accompanied by a Conan Doyle-themed ghost story for Christmas from the co-creator of Sherlock, Mark Gatiss – Lot No. 249, starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox (See the news here).

Sherlock Holmes is the world’s most famous fictional detective and made his creator – the author Arthur Conan Doyle – rich and famous. But the writer came to hate his fictional character.

Over the course of three episodes, historian and lifelong Sherlock Holmes fan Lucy Worsley investigates the love-hate relationship between Holmes and Doyle in a “unique parallel biography” of Sherlock Holmes and the man who created him.

Lucy Worsley says: “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. “

This series follows in the footsteps of Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen with Lucy scouring archives, meeting experts, descendants and fans. Weaving together historical context with personal history to explore Doyle and his creation within the world events and changes going on around them

Lucy Worsley unearths Sherlock’s origins in Conan 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 Sherlock, taking on the role of detective himself, in one of the most important legal cases of the twentieth century; 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 very famous magician. Sherlock Holmes, by contrast, found a life beyond his author, on stage and screen.

Amanda Lyon, Executive Producer, BBC Studios, says: “Examining the dual biographies of Holmes and Doyle is a fascinating way to re-consider these detective stories, and Lucy is the ideal investigator.”

Killing Sherlock: Lucy Worsley on the Case of Conan Doyle (3×60’) 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.


Jon Creamer

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