Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes

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  • Jeremy Brett As Sherlock Holmes and Himself





The best portrayal of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes has certainly been delivered by Jeremy
Brett (1933-1995). He was the definitive Sherlock Holmes. This page contains my favorite Sherlock Holmes
quotes, biographical and other information about Jeremy Brett, list of all Granada episodes and many picutres
of Jeremy and some of the people that have worked with him.

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Sherlock Holmes Quizes

Take these quizzes and see how much you actually know about Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Canon.

  Quiz #1   Quiz #2   Quiz #3   Quiz #4   Quiz #5   Quiz #6   Quiz #7   Quiz #8   Quiz #9   Quiz #10   Quiz #11   Quiz #12   Quiz #13   Quiz #14   Quiz #15   Quiz #16   Quiz #17   Quiz #18   Quiz #19   Quiz #20   Quiz #21   Quiz #22   Quiz #23   Quiz #24   Quiz #25   Quiz #26   Quiz #27   Quiz #28   Quiz #29   Quiz #30   Quiz #31   Quiz #31   Quiz #32   Quiz #33




Jeremy is the most well-known and the most admired for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the series produced by Granada TV
(1984-94).Jeremy gives to the character all his complexity and brings out his contrasts. He made with the detective a real human
being, complete and lively, very faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writings, when some other actors played only one side of the
character. Jeremy Brett Gallery is at the bottom of this page.




         Some of my favorite quotes (my all time favorite ones are typed in bold):

"My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, most intricate analysis, and I am in my proper
atmosphere. Then I can dispense with artificial stimulants. I carve mental exultation. That is why I have chosen my profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world. The only unofficial consulting detective. I don't want credit in my cases. The work itself, the pleasure of finding a field for my particular powers is my highest reward."

"She is a lovely woman Watson, with a face that a man might die for."

"You know, I begin to think that my reputation, such as it is, will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid. Omne ignotum pro magnifico."

"Watson, you disappoint me, I never guess."

"You know, sometimes I think my whole life is spent in one long effort to escape from the common place of existance."

"You are Holmes the meddler, Holmes the busybody, Holmes the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office."

"Ah, Watson, it's a wicked world. And when a clever man turns his brains to crime it is the worst of all."

Watson: "He (Holmes) used to sneer much at cleverness of woman but I have not heard him do it of late. And when he speaks of Irena Adler, or when he refers to that woman, it is always the honorable title of "the woman". In his eyes. she eclipses the whole of her sex. It was not that he ever betrayed any sign of love for Irena Adler, all emotions such as that one are abhorrent to his cold, precise mind. He only looks on women pathologically, as the source of motives, clues.

"Detection is, or ought to be an exact science. Observation, deduction, a cold and unemotional subject. You (Watson) have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which has much, to say, advantage, if you worked on a love story or an elopement into the 5th proposition of Euclid."

"My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know."

"I think that there are certain crimes which the law cannot touch, and which therefore, to some extent, justify private revenge."

"You'll excuse me while I satisfy myself as to this floor."

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

"You can never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be
up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant."

"One of the most dangerous classes in the world is the drifting and friendless woman, with no one to protect and guide her. She is inevitable insighter of crime in others."

"It is fortunate for this community that I am not a criminal."

"I have been beaten four times - three times by men and once by a woman."

"There are no crimes and no criminals in these days. What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, at most, some bungling villainy with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it."

"My sympathies are with the criminals rather than with the victim."

"A criminal who was capable of such a thought is a man whom I should be proud to do business with."

"I will represent the official police until their arrival."

"It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you."

"What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done?"

"The London criminal is certainly a dull fellow."

Watson: "What is it tonight? Morphine or cocain?" Holmes: "Well, I can strongly recommend a 7% solution of cocain."

Watson: "Your visitor will want me out of the way." Holmes: "Not a bit doctor. Stay where you are. I am lost without my Boswell."

"It's quite a three pipe problem and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes."

"Watson, you are a British jury, and I have never met a man who was more eminently fitted to represent one."

"The same old Watson! You never learn that the gravest issues may depend upon the smallest things."

"You have a grand gift of silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion."

"You mean well, Watson. Shall I demonstrate your own ignorance?"

"It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it."

"I am getting into your involved habit, Watson, of telling a story backward."

"You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself."

"Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age."

"The observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents, should be able accurately to state all the other ones, both before and after."

"I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it - there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones. A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library where he can get it if he wants it."

"If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an armchair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived."

"I am an omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles."

"It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London."

"I made a blunder, my dear Watson - which is, I am afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think who only knew me through your memoirs."

"A man with so large a head must have something in it!"

"There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you."

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

"In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise
it much. In the everyday affairs of life it is more useful to reason forward, and so the other comes to be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically. Improbable as it is, all other explanations are more improbable still."

"I should prefer that you do not mention my name at all in connection with the case, as I choose to be only associated with those crimes which present some difficulty in their solution."

"I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one's
self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one's own powers."

"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

"Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell."

"It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize out of a number of facts which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated."

"I never make exceptions. An exception disproves the rule."

"You see, but you do not observe."

"There are some trees, Watson, which grow to a certain height and then suddenly develop some unsightly eccentricity. You will see it often in humans. I have a theory that the individual represents in his development the whole procession of his ancestors, and that such a sudden turn to good or evil stands for some strong influence which came into the line of his pedigree. The person becomes, as it were, the epitome of the history of his own family."

"It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."

"He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson."

"Mrs. Hudson, you're dreadfully underfoot."

"Danger is a part of my trade."

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Jeremy Brett-- Q&A

Jeremy Brett in General

Q: How tall was Jeremy Brett, and what color were his eyes?
A: About 6'2"; hazel (brownish-green).
Q: What was JB's real name?
A: Peter Jeremy William Huggins.

Q: When was he born?
A: November 3, 1933 (Note: A good many articles, and most of his obituaries, said 1935, but 1933 is the correct year).

Q: Where was he born?
A: In Berkswell, near Coventry, England.

Q: What were his parents' names?
A: Henry William and Elizabeth Edith Huggins. His father was a decorated Lt. Colonel in the Army; his mother was from the Cadbury family, world-famous for its chocolate.

Q: Did JB have any siblings?
A: He had three older brothers: John, Patrick and Michael. John is a minister who spoke at his youngest brother's memorial service on November 29, 1995.

Q: What breed of dog was "Mr. Binks"?
A: Mr. Binks, according to what Jeremy said in interviews, was a mixed breed with a bit of Jack Russell terrier. Going by photographs I've seen of Jeremy with dogs purported to be Mr. Binks, the canine appeared to have been white with dark ears. Incidentally, there's some confusion about when Jeremy owned Mr. Binks. In a 1991 NPR interview, Jeremy spoke of "Mr. little dog...he died 16 years ago." (1975) However, in a print interview from the same era, Jeremy said when he was 15 (which would have been 1948) he took the elderly Mr. Binks to the vet, who put the dog to sleep. Jeremy said he was so traumatized by the experience that he never owned another dog!

Q: Why did Jeremy use the name "Brett"?
A: His father didn't want him using the family name on the stage (he thought acting was a dubious profession). Jeremy took his stage name from the label in his first suit: "Brett and Co."

Q: Where and when did JB make his acting debut?
A: In the repertory company of the Library Theatre at Manchester, England, in 1954.

Q: What was his first feature film role?
A: Jeremy made his feature film debut as a French art student in the 1955 British film Svengali. He appears in a few scenes early in the film but neither his name nor his character's name is listed in the credits. Jeremy's first credited feature film role was "Nicholas Rostov" in War and Peace (1956), starring Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn.

Q: Was JB ever married?
A: Yes, twice. First, to British actress Anna Massey in 1958 (marriage ended in divorce, 1962), and second, to American public television producer Joan Wilson (a.k.a. Sullivan) in 1977 (Jeremy was widowed by Joan's death in 1985).

Q: Did he have any children?
A: Yes, a son named David Raymond William Huggins, born 1959. He also had stepchildren, Caleb and Rebekah Sullivan, through Joan Wilson.(JB often referred to all three as "my children.")

Q: Was JB's own singing voice used in My Fair Lady?
A: Maybe. For years, Jeremy insisted he sang his own songs in MFL but that the "top notes" were "sweetened" by another singer. However, in a 1994 documentary about the making of MFL, he said his singing voice had actually been "dubbed" (replaced) with the voice of a singer named Bill Shirley.(This is also noted on the MFL soundtrack CD.) Although JB had a good singing voice (he sang in British TV and stage musicals), the second scenario is more likely--after all, MFL star Audrey Hepburn's singing voice was also dubbed in the film. Personally, I think JB may have sung the intro to On the Street Where You Live (it sounds like his voice to me). But, thereafter, it's definitely Bill Shirley's voice we hear whenever Jeremy "sings" in My Fair Lady.

Q: What was Jeremy's final role?
A: "Mr. Fielding" in the feature film Moll Flanders (1996). Note: JB was not in the 1996 TV mini-series of the same name.

Q: When did Jeremy die?
A: On September 12, 1995, in his sleep at his home in Clapham Common, South London.

Q: What caused his death?
A: Cardiomyopathy (heart failure). Jeremy's heart valves were scarred by a childhood bout with rheumatic fever. They were further damaged by the toxic buildup of the medication used to treat his bipolar disorder, and by his heavy smoking. Jeremy was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in early 1995. Told he needed a heart transplant, Jeremy replied, "That's far too dramatic, even for me!" The transplant didn't occur because doctors feared that the anti-rejection drugs Jeremy would have needed the rest of his life would counteract the medications used to treat his bipolar disorder. Ironically, not long after Jeremy died, newspapers and medical journals began reporting on a new surgical technique which eliminates the need for heart transplants in some cardiomyopathy cases. And, now some heart failure patients are living with implantable artificial hearts.

Q: Where is Jeremy Brett buried?
A: Actually, Jeremy wasn't buried. He was cremated, and as such, has no "final resting place" for people to pay respects at. Since we cannot give him flowers, perhaps the best memorial of all is simply remembering Jeremy. "If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give." (George McDonald)

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Jeremy as Sherlock Holmes

Q: How long did JB play Sherlock Holmes?
A: From 1983 through 1994 in the Granada television series. He also played Holmes in the 1988-'89 British stage play The Secret of Sherlock Holmes. Incidentally, he played Dr. Watson in a 1980 production of Crucifer of Blood at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles.

Q: Did Jeremy actually hate playing Sherlock Holmes?
A: JB initially thought he was horribly miscast as Holmes, because his "sunny" personality was so different than the detective's moody nature. (He also had reservations because the character had already been portrayed so many times.) Early on, Jeremy said things like "I wouldn't cross the street to meet Holmes," meaning that he thought he had nothing in common with the character. However, such quotes are often taken out of context and used as "evidence" that JB "hated" Holmes. Actually, Jeremy was perhaps the staunchest defender of Doyle's original stories on the Sherlock Holmes set. Also, he devised an elaborate back-story for Holmes as preparation for the play The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, demonstrating his deep insight into the character. But, like any actor who's played the same character for many years, Jeremy tired of Holmes now and then. All good actors fear typecasting (being cast in the same type of role over and over). Also, playing Holmes was emotionally and physically draining for Jeremy because JB was a "becomer," the kind of actor who strives to "become" the character he's playing (somewhat like "Method" acting). Jeremy had the added burden of martinet critics who loudly (and often harshly) objected whenever his interpretation of Holmes didn't match their cherished ideal of the make-believe sleuth. Jeremy was also battling mental illness during his stint as Holmes (see below). But, Jeremy later said things like, "Holmes wouldn't cross the street to meet me" and even wanted to film the entire Holmes "canon" (which, sadly, wasn't to be).

Q: Did Jeremy have a "nervous breakdown" because his second wife died?
Q: Did Jeremy have a "nervous breakdown" because he thought he really was Sherlock Holmes?
Q: Did Jeremy fake a "nervous breakdown" so he wouldn't have to play Holmes anymore?
A: Actually, there is no such thing as a "nervous breakdown" (this is a non-technical term used by laymen). Joan Wilson's death from cancer triggered Jeremy's first recognized bout with bipolar disorder (a.k.a. manic depression), a condition he'd apparently had most of his life. A sufferer can live for years with mild, manageable symptoms (e.g. mood swings) until a traumatic event (such as the death of a spouse) sends them into a manic depressive crisis. That's apparently what happened to Jeremy. He went back to work on the Sherlock Holmes series soon after Joan Wilson died. Overwork and unresolved grief, as well as his underlying bipolar disorder, caused Jeremy to be hospitalized for what was erroneously described as a "nervous breakdown" in early 1986. That's when his manic depression was finally diagnosed. Jeremy's condition was treated with medication, but he battled the disorder the rest of his life and was institutionalized several times. It's highly unlikely he would have gone to such drastic lengths simply to avoid playing Holmes--there are much easier ways to quit a job! At any rate, he played the role through the end of the Granada series in 1994.

Q: Why does Jeremy have a different hairstyle in some Holmes episodes?
A: Reportedly, JB was in a bad mood during one of his "manic" phases and took it out on his hair. His new "do" caused the Granada Studios hairstylists much consternation because it was too short to be slicked back into his usual Holmes style. Of course, it eventually grew back. Perhaps Jeremy was ahead of his time--just a few years later, stars such as Kevin Costner and George Clooney sported the close-cropped "Caesar" cut, which looked a lot like Jeremy's hair did after he chopped it! ;->

Q: Why is Jeremy heavier in some Holmes episodes?
A: Apparently, the medication prescribed to control Jeremy's bipolar disorder built up in his system over time and wreaked havoc on his heart, causing him to retain water. This explains his bloated appearance in many later episodes. When Jeremy's heart began to fail, his medication was adjusted. Heart medicine and diuretics were prescribed, and his weight returned to nearly normal (unlike his health, unfortunately).

Q: What happened to Jeremy's first Dr. Watson, David Burke?
A: He left the Holmes series to spend more time with his family, and to concentrate on stage work. He's still active in British stage and television productions.

Q: Where can I write to Edward Hardwicke, JB's second Dr. Watson?
A: Try: International Creative Management, 396 Oxford Street London W1. (This is Mr. Hardwicke's agent.)

Q: What is the framed picture that Jeremy holds during one of the nightmare sequences in The Eligible Bachelor?
A: It is a reproduction of an 1848 portrait of Christ known as "The Veronica" or "St. Veronica's Handkerchief," painted by Austrian artist Gabriel Max. It was inspired by an image that was said to have appeared on a cloth St. Veronica used to wipe Jesus' face as He walked to His crucifixion. Jesus' eyes are closed in the portrait, but, supposedly, if one stares at them they will suddenly open. A few years ago I saw a copy of this portrait displayed at an antique show (which is where I learned the above information). I immediately recognized it as the picture from The Eligible Bachelor.

Q: Is Granada going to make more Holmes episodes, with a "new" Sherlock?
A: Eventually, someone will film a new Sherlock Holmes series, but it probably won't be Granada. Even before the series with Jeremy Brett was completed, Granada's famous Baker Street set was walled up, roofed over, and made a part of the studio tour--it can no longer be used for filming. Also, the British television industry has changed drastically since the Brett Holmes series began in 1983. There is greater emphasis on ratings and profit, so Granada now concentrates on crowd-pleasers such as Cracker, Prime Suspect and the sexually explicit Moll Flanders mini-series. Sadly, thoughtful period drama such as Sherlock Holmes is the exception rather than the rule these days.

"Jeremy Brett & Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes Q&A section written by Lisa L. Oldham. Reprinted from "The Brettish Empire", copyright 1994-2003. Used by permission of the author."

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                                                        Granada's Sherlock Holmes Episode Guide

I. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1)
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Dancing Men
The Naval Treaty
The Solitary Cyclist
The Crooked Man
The Speckled Band
The Blue Carbuncle

II. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2)
The Copper Beeches
The Greek Interpreter
The Norwood Builder
The Resident Patient
The Red Headed League
The Final Problem

III. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1)
The Empty House
The Abbey Grange
The Musgrave Ritual
The Second Stain
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Priory School
The Six Napoleans


IV. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (2)
The Devil's Foot
Silver Blaze
Wisteria Lodge
The Bruce-Partington Plans

V. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
The Problem of Thor Bridge
Shoscombe Old Place
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Illustrious Client
The Creeping Man




VI. Two Hour Movies
The Sign of Four
The Master Blackmailer
The Last Vampyre
The Eligible Bachelor

VII. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The Three Gables
The Dying Detective
The Golden Pince-Nez
The Red Circle
The Mazarin Stone
The Cardboard Box

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Sherlock Holmes and Jeremy Brett Gallery


I'm contemplating!

Sherlock's third passion was violine. First one
was solving crimes and second chemistry.

Perfectly balanced, aristocratic face. Beautiful...

Outside 221b Baker Street. He just thougt of something.

His favorite pose for thinking. I never understood it.

That famous hat.

He looks so classy. Guess what, HE WAS!

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson (played by David Burke)

Don't you just love guys with perfect teeth and impeccable smile?

Very artistic and innocent look. Love it.

Younger days, but again, that smile kills me.

A guy like this could never get a date nowadays. I still love this look.

Simply gorgeous

So profound and deep

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson (played by Edward Hardwicke)

Sherlock and his biggest enemy, prof. James Moriarty
aka The Napoleon of Crime.

You can tell he is incredibly intelligent

I love the way they used to dress in those days.
Simple, yet elegant.

I spy with my little eye...

Yeah, they know who did it.

Look at that walking cane. Isn't it interesting?

Young Jeremy in "Picture of Dorian Gray"

Two Jeremy's? Can it get any better than that? Yes, three Jeremy's.

Holmes, Mrs. Hudson and Dr. Watson

Best pals

Freddy from My Fair Lady. Did you know Jeremy had
a voice worthy of an opera singer ?

From "The Medusa Touch"

The Sign of Four caused sleepless nights
and hence bags under his eyes.

Worried about a case

Working on a case bright and early

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