MM: Would you ever do that, bee-keep in Kent? I suspect you're attached to Mr Sherlock Holmes for a long time aren't you. JB: Well I tell you what it's a lovely part, a brilliantly exciting part to try and get right and I haven't yet - I haven't finished working on him yet and therefore it's exciting. MM: Where will Holmes go in the stage version you're doing? Does he take on Moriarty? JB: Yes, Moriarty is very much there. Very much there, I mustn't tell too much about the play because it is an insight. UW: It’s a two-man show actually, as opposed to a one-man show. JB: Well there are about seven ghosts. UW: Oh, ah no one told me about the ghosts. RETOURMM: Good morning to you first of all. JB: Morning, morning, morning. MM: I want to start off an investigation here really, Jeremy, because it is my theory that your Holmes, more than any other Sherlock Holmes plays the character as close to the edge of evil himself. Very little difference in a sense between him and Moriarty, the evil genius who hounds Holmes. Am I nearly right? JB: Truthfully, I just desperately tried to play him. I'd hope there is a little spirituality in the way I play him, as well as that edge. I mean, the representation of genius is practically impossible, if you're a person, you know, just like me. In all my endeavours to try and get across the quickness of mind and the fact that he doesn't show anything, has meant that I've had to kind of draw my face. And the only way to let the audience in through the camera, is to kind of show the cracks in the marble, and I think probably in that endeavour there is certainly a darker side of the moon, to Holmes. Daytime Live TVAM (1987) : Interview Mike Morris JB: - He'd only wear them in the country. MM: Right that’s interesting, that's fact is it? JB: In all the drawings he only wears them in the country. So whenever I'm in the country or it's in the drawings accompanying the story I wear it. Not in town, and of course, there wasn't that (indicates meerschaum pipe) I think that was William Gillette when he said it was easier to speak with a pipe in his mouth, when he had a meerschaum. UW: So it was just a straight pipe? JB: He smoked a disputation pipe - a long thin cherry wood - for his disputation moods, and a short clay one for his meditative moods. MM: It’s all worked out to the last detail, fascinating, we'll chat later, Jeremy.
MM: It’s the moments when you play the violin, in almost a manic fashion, also in those days when Holmes was depicted, opium was not actually the obscenity that of course it is now considered. And there is that edge in both those things and the way you play Holmes; you sound as if you're nearly on the step of the opium den all the time. JB: (laughs) MM: Well you look sometimes like that. JB: I’ve just listened to the bit about smoking, and I'm needing to say you can tell I've left my cigarettes off (laughs). I think there was of course at the end of that century a great darkness, there was Bram Stoker's Dracula, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Holmes and they're all rather dark creatures. But the things that I find most complicated about him is to get across this brilliance of the brain, hence the hair, straight back, trying to look like the drawings that used to accompany the Strand magazine, and the white make-up. And the white make-up, is my fault, nothing to do with Granada, 'cause bless them the were wonderful to me and took such care of me, and still are. But I did a very white make-up to try and make myself look very pale and aesthetic and I think that brought a kind of devilment to the face. MM: Without wishing to sound sycophantic, I think it works absolutely brilliantly, I think you're the best Holmes there's been. Has it taken you over, the character? JB: For a while, I then tossed him aside. Well, not as easily as that, for a while, I'm now enjoying him immensely. It's taken me long time, to get into him and find the way to play him without it sort of affecting myself. It's funnily enough easier in the theatre. In the theatre you go in and put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and as you leave you hang it up. When you're filming, you get dressed up and made up at half past 6 in the morning and you're wearing that black undertaker's outfit and the white mask, rather like the Phantom of the Opera, another one, until 7 in the evening. So that was harder to take the cap off. Now I'm enjoying it more. MM: What is it about Holmes, I mean if you went to America and talk about Holmes, they all know about him. About a mile away from here in Camden in North London is Baker Street, his old address in the books, and is it, I believe forty letters arrive each week to his address in the book. JB: Yes, there's a little lady there, very sweetly answering letters saying that Holmes has retired, cannot look into their case and is beekeeping in Kent! (laughs)
LIEN VERSION FRANCAISEJB: They come in, and it's a brilliant production by Patrick Garland. We open at Wyndham's next Thursday, for I think, until February. Then the idea is to stop for a while, then the States, which will be hilarious, because they are crazy about him- MM: They are absolutely nuts about Holmes in the States. JB: They’ve seen all our films, 20 of them I think, about 5 or 6 times. When I was there in '85 I was asked to a little presentation do - I was rehearsing a play - I walked in and I was dressed as me. I walked in and every single person was dressed as Sherlock Holmes - men and women. The women had meerschaum pipes and they were all (indicates clapping) and I thought I must wait until they leave because I long to see if they go out like that. And they did, they went on the subway, the buses, they got into their cars all dressed as Sherlock Holmes! Wonderful! MM: One final question - we'll chat to you later - where is the deerstalker and the pipe? Many people have said of your depiction that you've left those two basic props out for a long part of -