BBC Arts has revealed a new series, “Killing Sherlock: Lucy Worsley on the Case of Conan Doyle,” produced by BBC Studios. It’s set to premiere on BBC Two and iPlayer in December, accompanied by a Christmas ghost story themed around Conan Doyle, courtesy of Mark Gatiss, co-creator of Sherlock. The tale, titled “Lot No. 249,” will feature Kit Harington and Freddie Fox.
Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most renowned fictional detective, stars in over 60 original tales and numerous adaptations. For more than a century, he has captivated and enthralled fans with his intellect and deductive prowess, bringing fame and fortune to his creator, author Arthur Conan Doyle. However, Doyle came to despise his own creation.
In three episodes, historian and lifelong Sherlock Holmes enthusiast Lucy Worsley delves into the remarkable love-hate dynamic between Holmes and Doyle, unravelling the parallel lives of the detective and the intricate man behind 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 delving into archives, consulting experts, meeting descendants, and engaging with fans. She intertwines historical backdrop with personal narratives, situating Doyle and his creation amidst the sweeping global events and transformations of their time.
Lucy uncovers Sherlock’s roots in Conan Doyle’s early years as a medical student, dissecting his initial tales and exposing the grim underbelly of late Victorian Britain – from substance abuse to real-life crime. She delves into Doyle’s growing disillusionment with his detective brainchild, his yearning to distance himself from Sherlock, and his foray into the role of a detective in one of the pivotal legal cases of the 20th century. She also probes the somber tones of his later stories, mirroring the realities of Conan Doyle’s life post the loss of his eldest son, his embrace of spiritualism, his dwindling public appeal, and his clash with a renowned magician. In contrast, Sherlock Holmes transcended his author, finding a life on both 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, with Linda Sands as the series producer and Amanda Lyon as the executive producer. Mark Bell serves as the commissioning editor for BBC Arts, and Zara Frankel holds the executive role for PBS.
In conjunction with the series, Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss will adapt Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, “Lot No. 249,” for Christmas, featuring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox.
In line with his tradition of crafting and directing a Christmas ghost story, this marks Gatiss’ first adaptation of a Conan Doyle horror tale for television. The upcoming narrative revolves around a group of Oxford students, one of whom delves into the enigmas of Ancient Egypt, which soon become the talk of the college.
Writer and director Mark Gatiss says “It’s a serious delight for me to delve once again into the brilliant work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this time for the Christmas Ghost story. ‘Lot No.249’ is a personal favourite and is the grand-daddy (or should that be Mummy?) of a particular kind of end of Empire chiller: a ripping yarn packed with ghastly scares and who-knows-what lurking in the Victorian closet…”
“Lot No. 249, a ghost story for Christmas” (1×30’) is produced by Isibéal Ballance for Adorable Media and will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this Christmas. It was commissioned for BBC Arts by Mark Bell and will be distributed internationally by BBC Studios.