MM: Have you ever come across before, in your own life, a misdeed or a minor villainy where you've found yourself thinking precisely the way Sherlock would?
JB: No, I tell you what is so extraordinary, I'm so far away from him and that's why I think, I mean acting is sort of like being a sponge - at least I think it is - you do all you research on the part, you then drain the liquid of yourself out and you draw the liquid of the character in. Now, the only trouble with Sherlock is that he's fairly smarting, stings a bit. Because he's a genius and no one is. He's on a darker side of the moon, he's also compulsive and I find him the hardest part - it's harder than Hamlet, harder than Macbeth - this is the hardest part I've ever played but now having got on top of him, I'm going to enjoy him.
MM: Well that's great, good to meet you Jeremy...
MM: So anybody watching who has lost a ring on Clapham Common -
JB: - (laughs) I'm going to lose it again! -
MM: - It's now being worn by Sherlock Holmes. There was a time, I know in no sense are you worried about being so linked with Sherlock Holmes, you're actually proud of it.
JB: Well I tell you this business is tough, and - I mean my profession. I think I'd better call it my profession - while I can - and I think it's to do with, if you're going to make a success, for God's sake don't be ashamed of it.
MM: There was a time though, wasn't there, Jeremy, when the character, and such a fascinating character - there's so many dark sides - that you, yourself went to the very edge of sanity in playing him.

MM: It's great !
JB: You hold it there, as it gets very hot, by the base.
MM: Getting the details right, if you get the detail wrong, absolute mayhem breaks loose, doesn't it.
JB: I’m getting around 3000 letters a week and many of them are saying 'listen, you left out this' or 'you left out that'. And it's, that's really exacting.
MM: There could be 6000 letters this week saying -
JB: - Why am I wearing an earring! -
MM: - Sherlock's wearing an earring!
JB: (laughs) Well I tell you exactly why, I found it on Clapham Common, which is near where I live. I found it just before Christmas and I thought that must be for me, it's my Christmas present from up there (points upwards), from somewhere.
RETOURJB: I brought these because I haven't got the one I'm being given because I'm not allowed to see that until lunchtime. I'm told that's very special, because I was robbed when I was doing, I think, 'The Greek Interpreter' and we had some VIPs round and they stole my pipe. I think it was either the young Conservatives or the Royal Ballet - I bet it was the young Conservatives! Anyway, I think I'm getting something like that, which has an amber stem. This is the one, which he smoked - this is all in the books - in 'The Copper Beeches'. That's a lovely pipe, you can gesture with it.
MM: Now he used that for relaxing
JB: - In his disputatious moods.
MM: Yes.
JB: And this, in his meditative. (Puts it in his mouth) Just like Popeye!

MM: Much play with props, good morning to you Jeremy.
JB: Good morning.
MM: Now, I suppose with the current health campaign and so on, we should, should we be low key on this title, pipe-smoker of the year?
JB: No, I think of it as incense, rather than nicotine. Also it does coat your lungs in very gentle way, and you know, with all these frightening flu's going about, maybe it helps you. I haven't had flu - everyone else has.
MM: You think it insulates you?
JB: I think so, in a way - pickles you!
MM: You mention incense actually, Sherlock, there was a dark side to him. Was it opium Sherlock Holmes actually -?
JB: - Cocaine.
MM: Cocaine?
JB: And opium. Well then it was like snuff.
MM: Yes.
JB: You know, to a degree. There were opium dens all over London.
MM: Now you've got, now I know if you get the details wrong you get slaughtered. (JB picks up his two pipes)
JB: Yes, I don't find him easier still. I have a nodding acquaintance, I've almost met him now - but I really resist him. I saw him on the other side of the street when I started to work on him, and I thought I wouldn't cross the street to meet him. He's very dark - damaged penguin I call him or the black beetle - but we have so many children coming to the play at Wyndham's now and I never thought children would come. I didn't think children ever read it or even thought about Sherlock Holmes, but they're coming and they think of him as some kind of Batman or Superman and I don't understand it. So I'm having to really rethink and I've been so subjected to him - I'm having to really rethink my self now. And I see him less threatening, and I'm not frightened of him anymore, I was - and you're right, I was ill.
UW: How much has it invaded your life, because there's such enormous interest - Sherlock Holmes fan clubs and so on. And you must be recognised wherever you go and people want you to be him.
JB: To be honest, I love it. They don't really, they actually want Jeremy and that's the great relief. And funnily enough I think that is to do with something that is very beautiful in this country, I think people have compassion, actually. And I think that because I've been ill, people are very aware that I've had a battle and I think...they are kind to me, they really are. People on buses are kind to me, and I'm...I walk among the blessed.
UW: Yes, you say that you've been ill, wouldn't that make you want to give up this whole smoking lark?
JB: No, no, no-
UW: - You're not one of these health fiends?
JB: It’s getting back on the bicycle and in 1986 when I was ill I got back on the bicycle in '87 and that was to get myself through it. Now we have the play, which is an enormous success, and we've got six more films to make, the series starts again in April, which I'm thrilled about. No, no, no lets just get on and enjoy it.
Daytime Live TVAM (1988) : Interview Mike Morris

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