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Canon References In BBC Sherlock

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In "The Valley of Fear", Holmes and Watson investigate a murder on a country estate. "All the inn can do for them" there is a double room and Watson stoically puts up with it. In The Hounds of Baskerville, the innkeeper apologizes for not being able to put them in one room, because, nowadays, you'd assume they are a couple.

 

In "The Hound of the Baskervilles", there is an escaped criminal loose on the moor. His helpers who bring him food and so on signal to him with flashes of light. Now, in the pub in The Hounds of Baskerville, one of the innkeepers says something about "the ruddy prisoner". This is never further explained. I have always wondered why Dr. Frankland bolted in the end and preferred being blown up by a landmine to a regular court case. Maybe he was running from somebody else than Lestrade? Might Moriarty have been around in the flesh and not just in Sherlock's mind?

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Oh, of course, the code that refers to words in a book is also from "The Valley of Fear".

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In "The Hound of the Baskervilles", there is an escaped criminal loose on the moor. His helpers who bring him food and so on signal to him with flashes of light. Now, in the pub in The Hounds of Baskerville, one of the innkeepers says something about "the ruddy prisoner". This is never further explained.

 

I couldn't place that quote, so I checked Ariane DeVere's transcripts, and got this:

 

BILLY: What with the monster and that ruddy prison, I don’t know how we sleep nights. Do you, Gary?

 

So it may be "prison" instead of "prisoner" (I haven't seen / heard this episode for a while myself).  But in either case, you're right, it does seem to be a canon reference and/or a reality reference (since there really is a prison on Dartmoor).

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BILLY: What with the monster and that ruddy prison, I don’t know how we sleep nights. Do you, Gary?

 

So it may be "prison" instead of "prisoner" (I haven't seen / heard this episode for a while myself).  But in either case, you're right, it does seem to be a canon reference and/or a reality reference (since there really is a prison on Dartmoor).

 

 

Oh, prison! See, that comes from being too snooty to turn on the subtitles. But it still makes sense. It makes even more sense when we remember that we see the inside of a prison at the end of the episode and Moriarty inside it. Maybe he was out there, maybe an agent of his was. Anyway, I think Dr. Frankland ran from something other than our group of heroes...

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There's been a lot of commentary on John's facial hair as seen in the BBC teaser. In the stories, Watson is described as having a "modest mustache". In "His Last Bow", Watson comments on Holmes having grown a "horrible goatee". Holmes quickly assures him that it was only part of a disguise and will soon become no more than "a dreadful memory". Lets hope that John's beard goes the same way...

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I think Watson's shot through the window while standing in the house opposite his victim in A Study in Pink smacks of Moran's attempt to kill Holmes in "The Empty House". And while we're at it, doesn't Moran seem a bit like Watson's evil counterpart just like Moriarty is Holmes'?

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I think Watson's shot through the window while standing in the house opposite his victim in A Study in Pink smacks of Moran's attempt to kill Holmes in "The Empty House".

 

That had never occurred to me, but you're right -- and I suspect that it was a deliberate canon reference.  Note that in Hartswood's original (unaired pilot) version of "A Study in Pink," although we don't actually see John fire, he apparently does so from the house opposite 221B!

 

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"Take my hand" - "okay, now people will really talk"

 

In the stories, our two friends actually hold hands quite a lot when the situation calls for it, especially in "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton". There, we have Holmes using this simple device to navigate Watson through Milverton's house in the dark, reassure him that everything is under control and hold him back from interfering when Milverton is shot.

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"How would you describe me, John? Resourceful, dynamic? Enigmatic?" Of course, these are all words used by Watson to describe Holmes. In "The Norwood Builder" for example, we get introduced to Holmes' "enigmatic smile".

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In The Hounds of Baskerville, Lestrade says: "it's nice to get London out of your lungs". In "The Hound of the Baskervilles", Holmes says to Lestrade: "we will take the London fog out of your throat".

 

Also, even the great Mr Holmes has his moment of horror: "I knew from the thrill of his voice that he, the man of iron, was shaken to the soul" when he hears the screams of the convict who is being killed by the hound. I think "shaken to the soul" is pretty much what they showed us in the episode, isn't it?

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There is a Holmes story where he investigates the kidnapping of a rich man's son: "The Priory School". It does not bear much other resemblance to the kidnapping in The Reichenbach Fall, though, at least not as far we can tell from what we know about that. (And I do not think we will find out Moriarty used horses wearing fake cow hoofs for anything...)

 

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I just started reading the original stories by ACD yesterday and I'm sooooo impressed by Moffat and Gatiss. I mean, I knew they were brilliant before, but I only read about 20 pages so far and there're soooo many references already! They're geniuses!!

.

 

Or, like you, they read the stories.  Doesn't take a genius to borrow and reference another's work.

 

Yikes, I'm grumpy today.

 

 

Sorry, I "have" to comment on this. No, it takes no special talents just to borrow somebody else's ideas or quote somebody. But what has been done with "Sherlock" in reference to the source is brilliant. It is quite difficult to write any literary adaptation but to make something great out of a huge collection of mediocre detective stories that were written over a hundred years ago by a man who just needed the money and therefore didn't care much for consistency or character development, that would normally only work if you simply took the central idea (a genius and a doctor solve crimes together) and ran off with it in your own direction.

 

Instead, the show is brimming over with not just loving nods to it's source but very intelligent transformations of Doyle's ideas. For example, look at what they did with the main character. Sherlock is more than just a good portrait of Holmes, he's got a depth and complexity to him that the stories only hint at.

 

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In The Hounds of Baskerville, Lestrade says: "it's nice to get London out of your lungs". In "The Hound of the Baskervilles", Holmes says to Lestrade: "we will take the London fog out of your throat".

 

A lot of people consider Greg's appearance in "Hounds" to be gratuitous (but thoroughly enjoyable).  It's interesting to know that it's actually canon (though I haven't yet gotten to that part of the original story).

 

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There is a Holmes story where he investigates the kidnapping of a rich man's son: "The Priory School". It does not bear much other resemblance to the kidnapping in The Reichenbach Fall, though, at least not as far we can tell from what we know about that. (And I do not think we will find out Moriarty used horses wearing fake cow hoofs for anything...)

 

True, but I am nevertheless fairly certain that the kidnapping subplot from "Reichenbach" was based on "The Priory School," or at least inspired by it.  However, I think it owes more to the Jeremy Brett adaptation than it does to the original, as I said here a while back:

 

... we recently watched the Jeremy Brett episode of "The Priory School," and if that isn't the origin of St. Aldgate's, I'd be amazed.  In the story, a prominent man's son (daughters didn't much count in those days) is kidnapped at night from his room at a boarding school, and is later hidden in a cavernous location (in fact, literally a cavern), then rescued by a horde of people with torches (literally, the flaming kind).  (None of the Hansel and Gretel tie-ins, though.)

 

Same thing applies to "The Blind Banker" / "The Sign of Four," by the way -- I've already commented on that on the Jeremy Brett thread.

 

And what the heck, as long as we're discussing the canon's contributions to Sherlock, I came across this while searching for the above:

 

I recently read "The Final Problem," and it -- finally! -- occurred to me that the phone call John gets, claiming that Mrs. Hudson has been shot, is a counterpart to the note that Watson gets in the original story, saying there's a very sick Englishwoman back at the hotel, and could he please come.  In both cases, there is supposedly a dying Englishwoman, in both cases the message gets Watson out of the way, and in both cases Holmes knows (or suspects) that it's a fake.

 

 

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... to make something great out of a huge collection of mediocre detective stories that were written over a hundred years ago by a man who just needed the money and therefore didn't care much for consistency or character development, that would normally only work if you simply took the central idea (a genius and a doctor solve crimes together) and ran off with it in your own direction.

 

... which may explain Elementary -- not saying that it's great, but it does generally work very nicely, and it's getting further from canon all the time, what with Watson turning into Holmes, Jr.

 

I think the main reason that Sherlock works on so many more levels is that it's done by two men who are not only in love with Conan Doyle's stories, but also are not attempting to churn out twenty-some stories every year (so that's both the good news and the bad news!).

 

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This isn't an exact canon reference, but I think it's interesting and might be further proof of how well the spirit of the original stories is evoked in the BBC version:

 

In The Hounds of Baskerville, John gets pretty angry at Sherlock. In "The Hound of the Baskervilles", Watson gets the closest to mad at Holmes that I have known him yet. In both cases, the doctor is placated by Holmes' praising his work.

 

The situations are different, though. In the TV version, John is exasperated because Sherlock would not take his advice or acknowledge his friendship.

 

At the heart of the novel, there is actually a small "reunion" scene which is a lot more satisfying to read and more believable than the big reunion when Holmes returns from the dead. Watson makes the very correct accusation: "you use me, and yet do not trust me!" and he actually almost cries when he believes that all the effort he put into his reports to Holmes have been wasted. It takes less than a page until "the warmth of Holmes’s praise drove my anger from my mind", but at least there was some spark of resentment.

 

 

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All that Watson says about Holmes at the beginning of "The Musgrave Ritual" has been used on the show (and been pointed out here, so I won't repeat it, just wanted to name the source).

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I am sure that the dialogue:  "All that I have to say has already crossed your mind" / “Then possibly my answer has crossed yours" from "The Final Problem" has already been mentioned here. But did you also notice that the original Moriarty already comments on Holmes having a gun in his pocket?

 

"It is a dangerous habit to finger loaded firearms in the pocket of one’s dressing-gown" he says, shortly after he enters the room.

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And this little bit of dialogue is also in the original stories (in "The Five Orange Pips", which was referenced otherwise in The Great Game):

 

Watson: “that was surely the bell. Who could come to-night? Some friend of yours, perhaps?”
Holmes: “Except yourself I have none”

 

He used to, though. Conan Doyle actually provided Holmes with some glimpses of backstory in "The Musgrave Ritual" and "The Gloria Scott" and he's supposed to have had a friend at university whose father actually made a remark to Holmes that first gave him the idea of becoming a "consulting detective".

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I just started reading the original stories by ACD yesterday and I'm sooooo impressed by Moffat and Gatiss. I mean, I knew they were brilliant before, but I only read about 20 pages so far and there're soooo many references already! They're geniuses!!

.

 

Or, like you, they read the stories.  Doesn't take a genius to borrow and reference another's work.

 

Yikes, I'm grumpy today.

 

 

Sorry, I "have" to comment on this. No, it takes no special talents just to borrow somebody else's ideas or quote somebody. But what has been done with "Sherlock" in reference to the source is brilliant. It is quite difficult to write any literary adaptation but to make something great out of a huge collection of mediocre detective stories that were written over a hundred years ago by a man who just needed the money and therefore didn't care much for consistency or character development, that would normally only work if you simply took the central idea (a genius and a doctor solve crimes together) and ran off with it in your own direction.

 

Instead, the show is brimming over with not just loving nods to it's source but very intelligent transformations of Doyle's ideas. For example, look at what they did with the main character. Sherlock is more than just a good portrait of Holmes, he's got a depth and complexity to him that the stories only hint at.

 

 

 

Yes, they are both very clever men and I always get a tingle when I can spot the references to the originals. It's just there are some things I know about Mr Moffat (regarding Doctor Who, not Sherlock) that make me cringe everytime I see him praised for his brilliance.  Personal knowledge not hearsay. A lack of respect for women doesn't help me think well of him either. But I do love what he's done with Sherlock.

 

 

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Well, there seem to be more brains than one behind "Sherlock", so who knows who contributed what. I am very ignorant about everything concerning this show except for what I see in the episodes and the original stories. The real-life people around it don't show up much on the news where I live (and even of they did, I might not pay much attention). So forgive me if I make inappropriate comments...

 

I have not yet spotted any lack of respect for women on "Sherlock". Do you?

 

 

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My references are getting vaguer and vaguer. But one thing occurred to me (while doing very boring laps at a crowded swimming pool, actually...):

 

I think they didn't make it quite clear (enough) on the show that Moriarty's way of "burning" Sherlock by making him look like a fake is, in fact, the very worst thing you could do to him, at least if he works the way Holmes does in the stories. Watson repeatedly says of him that he is extremely vain of his talents, very susceptible to praise. Take, for example, this passage in "The Six Napoleons":

 

"A flush of colour sprang to Holmes’s pale cheeks, and he bowed to us like the master dramatist who receives the homage of his audience. It was at such moments that for an instant he ceased to be a reasoning machine, and betrayed his human love for admiration and applause. The same singularly proud and reserved nature which turned away with disdain from popular notoriety was capable of being moved to its depths by spontaneous wonder and praise from a friend."

 

It is interesting that the other friend besides Watson who applauds him there is Lestrade. And on the show, Lestrade is the first person who has to deal with the accusation that Sherlock set up his own cases.

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I think what you're terming "vague" is the infrastructure of the series -- in other words, the episodes aren't just generic detective stories with Sherlockian nuggets stuck in like raisins in a plum pudding; their underlying tone and characterizations actually ring true with the Conan Doyle stories.  That sounds way too grandiose, but it's as close as I can get right now to saying what I mean.

 

And I have a little one:  In the original stories, Holmes introduces Watson in various ways -- "friend," "colleague," "friend and partner," etc. -- but many times the introduction is simply glossed over.  You can't readily gloss over things on tv,  though, so in the Jeremy Brett series, Holmes fairly consistently says "my friend and colleague."  I suspect that this little scene (via Ariane DeVere's transcript) from "The Blind Banker" owes something to the Brett version:

 

SHERLOCK: This is my friend, John Watson.
SEBASTIAN (latching on to the emphasised word): Friend?
JOHN: Colleague.
SEBASTIAN: Right.

 

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Well, there seem to be more brains than one behind "Sherlock", so who knows who contributed what. I am very ignorant about everything concerning this show except for what I see in the episodes and the original stories. The real-life people around it don't show up much on the news where I live (and even of they did, I might not pay much attention). So forgive me if I make inappropriate comments...

 

I have not yet spotted any lack of respect for women on "Sherlock". Do you?

 

Well, the choice of Irene Adler's profession for one.

 

Although I thought it worked well in context, and was a nod to the  profession of the original Adler ("adventuress" being the code for woman who does not live life according to convention aka actress/courtesan), I was a little disappointed that she didn't actually best him (as she did in the story), That it was deemed necessary to have him rescue her, thereby proving that he is the cleverest of all the clever ones. The actual story (for all it's many flaws and lack of actual mystery) was a lifeline to a nerdy smart girl gorwing up in the 1960's. Sherlock Holmes, the smartest man in the world, was outsmarted by a woman and he's okay with it. He LIKES that she's smart. That was important to me. Also, in the story it's love that motivates her, that makes her strong. In "Sherlock" love makes her foolish and strips her of power. Love is a failing and it makes you lose.

 

Of course we could tie it all up and see that love is a motivator for Sherlock at the end of the the series and he loses everything to protect those he loves.

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Well, there seem to be more brains than one behind "Sherlock", so who knows who contributed what. I am very ignorant about everything concerning this show except for what I see in the episodes and the original stories. The real-life people around it don't show up much on the news where I live (and even of they did, I might not pay much attention). So forgive me if I make inappropriate comments...

 

I have not yet spotted any lack of respect for women on "Sherlock". Do you?

 

Well, the choice of Irene Adler's profession for one.

 

Although I thought it worked well in context, and was a nod to the  profession of the original Adler ("adventuress" being the code for woman who does not live life according to convention aka actress/courtesan), I was a little disappointed that she didn't actually best him (as she did in the story), That it was deemed necessary to have him rescue her, thereby proving that he is the cleverest of all the clever ones. The actual story (for all it's many flaws and lack of actual mystery) was a lifeline to a nerdy smart girl gorwing up in the 1960's. Sherlock Holmes, the smartest man in the world, was outsmarted by a woman and he's okay with it. He LIKES that she's smart. That was important to me. Also, in the story it's love that motivates her, that makes her strong. In "Sherlock" love makes her foolish and strips her of power. Love is a failing and it makes you lose.

 

Of course we could tie it all up and see that love is a motivator for Sherlock at the end of the the series and he loses everything to protect those he loves.

 

 

I guess things are different for a nerdy (maybe smart) girl who grew up in the 90s. I don't see the need for Irene to prove anything, I like her better as a damaged individual.

 

I also think she actually won and that the way she's portrayed is not necessarily sexist, but I've gone on about that at length elsewhere and won't repeat myself here.

 

"Love is a failing and makes you loose" is, I think, Sherlock's own bitter attitude and not what the show is trying to convey to the audience.

 

That said, I can totally understand why lots of people were not happy with Irene. I see their point, I just don't agree with it.

 

Btw, what do you think of Molly in this context?

 

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