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Killing Sherlock - BBC Two
24 November, 2023

Killing Sherlock - BBC Two

It has been a brilliant experience for The Conan Doyle Estate to work alongside the BBC. We have been privileged to contribute to and help frame the series. It has been fantastic to work with the Killing Sherlock Team - supplying some never seen before film from the archive and 30 letters between Conan Doyle and his mother around the topic of killing Sherlock. 

We’re also proud that Richard Pooley - Director of The Conan Doyle Estate and Step Great Grandson of Arthur Conan Doyle features in the first episode with a fascinating interview.  

“We want to say a huge thank you for your contribution to the programme as it would not be the series it is without your help and knowledge! We really appreciate it. A special thank you goes out to the Conan Doyle Estate who have given us access to never seen before documents and rare footage of Sir Arthur.

We truly believe we have made a wonderful series that celebrates the genius of Sherlock Holmes but that does not shy away from the more complicated aspects of Arthur Conan Doyle's life. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.” The Killing Sherlock Team

BBC Press Release 

BBC Arts announces a new series, Killing Sherlock: Lucy Worsley on the Case of Conan Doyle, made by BBC Studios. Coming to BBC Two and iPlayer this 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, a ghost story for Christmas starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox.

Sherlock Holmes is the world’s most famous fictional detective and features in more than 60 original stories, as well as countless adaptions. For over a century, he has intrigued and excited his fans with his intellect and powers of deduction, and he 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 extraordinary love-hate relationship between Holmes and Doyle, detective and author, in a unique parallel biography of Sherlock Holmes and the complex 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 historical context with personal history, she sets Doyle and his creation against the seismic world events and changes happening around them.

Lucy 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 20th century; and investigates the darkness of his later stories, mirroring the reality of Conan 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 (3x60’) 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.

To accompany the series, Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss will be adapting Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story Lot No. 249 for Christmas starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox.

In keeping with his tradition of writing and directing a ghost story for Christmas, this is first time Gatiss has adapted a Conan Doyle horror story for television. The upcoming story revolves around a group of Oxford students, one of whom undertakes research into the secrets of Ancient Egypt which 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 (1x30’) 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.

BBC ARTS

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