Derek Jamieson: Well more than a 100 actors have played Sherlock Holmes, but the biggest mystery is what makes him so popular after all these years. Here is a man who ranks next to Basil Rathbone as the best Holmes of all. Ladies and Gentlemen it is my pleasure to introduce Jeremy Brett! Lovely to see you, hot foot from the Wyndham’s Theatre where ‘The Secret of Sherlock Holmes’ is appearing.
Jeremy Brett: Yes, we’ve done over 300 performances -
DJ: - already?
JB: - we finish in September and then we do a national tour.
DJ: You’ve got the aquiline features, Jeremy!
JB: I think that’s happened since I started playing him -
DJ: - your nose -
JB: - (sighs) I know
DJ: Your schnozz, has it grown longer?
JB: It’s grown longer. (laughs)
DJ: And of course you did the film ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ -
JB: - we’ve done 26 films.
DJ: And the Granada series, that’s -
JB: That’s all Granada, 2 feature films ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ and ‘Sign of Four’ and 24 series. I must be mad.
DJ: Ladies and Gentlemen it’s a clever actor who monopolises Sherlock Holmes.
JB: I don’t know whether it’s clever...
DJ: If you’re going to corner the market in anything, then what better.
JB: Well I think the thing is this country we’re not allowed to use the word ‘star’, are we?
DJ: Yes!
JB: No, no, I think we’re twinklers, you’re a twinkler and I’m a twinkler. (Laughs) And I’m enjoying being a twinkler.
DJ: Smashing. What have you brought in your overnight bag?
JB: Um, a banana skin, because I didn’t want to leave it upstairs!
DJ: And have you got one of those hats with the flaps...(indicates a deerstalker)
JB: No, I’ve got a Comic Relief nose.
DJ: Nah, you’re kidding.
JB: No, I use myself as my disguise, during the daytime.
DJ: Jeremy, we have a clip actually, of your distinguished performance of Sherlock Holmes. (clip from The Hound of the Baskervilles)
DJ: That’s the one we all know best, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Now put me right Jeremy, I’m a bit thick, me. That was the television series?
JB: The whole thing has been done by Granada, but this was done on 35 mil.
DJ: What do you make of Sherlock Holmes then?
JB: Not much.
DJ: Is that right?
JB: Not my cup of tea (laughs).
DJ: I was going to say, I wouldn’t have thought so - a strange chap.
JB: Funnily enough, Rita and I worked together many years ago, didn’t we darling - Rita Tushingham - and I was much happier then, in those days. I was playing a demented cook, then, a German cook. She was playing one of the waitresses.
DJ: Not Sherlock Holmes, then!
JB: No, no - an extrovert! Holmes is so difficult because he’s such an isolated creature. He’s impossible to play; he’s better read, actually.
DJ: Indeed, and of course he was in to opium and all that.
JB: Yes, yes.
DJ: He had the odd sniff now and then.
JB: Yes, a lot of that. They didn’t realise then how dangerous it was, I don‘t think. We touch on that, we try not to play it up too much.
DJ: They used to call it belladonna in those days, I think, didn’t they?
JB: Did they really?
DJ: Took it for headaches and -
JB: Well I think it was, as you finished your job in Fleet Street, you just popped down the alleyway to your opium den and had a quick snifter. Rather like a pint now. (Laughs)
DJ: You, of course, went to Eton, Jeremy. Do you think Holmes came from the top draw?
JB: He was a sort of middle-class boy, I think he was fairly isolated. It’s interesting because when’s been a handicap to me, being at Eton. It’s taken me a long time to convince people -
DJ: Oh...
JB: - the class rubbish -
DJ: I’ve always said when I was an editor, ‘don’t hold it against him because he went to Eton!’ -
JB: - thank you -
DJ: - it’s not his fault.
JB: That’s jolly kind of you (shakes his hand).
DJ: It’s true isn‘t it.
JB: True, yes, it was handicap.
DJ: It is, I suppose every single -
JB: - I was known as a toffee-nosed git -
DJ: - time you sit down for interviews they say ‘and were you at Eton?’
JB: That’s right. I was a toffee-nosed git, and I had a silver spoon in my mouth, you see, so I got my first breaks because I had a little money behind me and all that goes into the business in a very bad way.
DJ: You had to outlive that?
JB: (Smiles) I had to go through a bit. I had my nose broken on the National Theatre stage, and they suddenly say ‘Oh he’s not just a pretty face’. All sorts of rubbish I had to go through.
DJ: Course, you tried Hollywood -
JB: - tried Hollywood; failed -
DJ: - finished up on the stage playing Dracula.
JB: That’s right, I tried to become a movie star but I discovered all the directors were living in Hertfordshire in the Cotswolds, down the road here! (Laughs)
DJ: In a sense Sherlock has restored your career to full bloom.
JB: Oh I don’t think it’s restored it, I think it’s made it actually. I was doing quite nicely before, but this has made me, as I said before, into a twinkler.
DJ: According to what they call the tabloids, you really were on a downer, weren’t you?
JB: Yes I was desperately ill.
DJ: Was it illness or booze?
JB: No it was, my wife died, actually it’s the anniversary of her death today -
DJ: Is that right? That’s sad...
JB: That didn’t help and then...the workload. And I am playing a demented creature!
DJ: Yes.
JB: But I have learnt to live with him now - I think.
DJ: But your lovely wife, Joan, she died and that caused the breakdown?
JB: Yes, just before - didn’t seem much point to it all.
DJ: How did you come out of that?
JB: Well, I was very angry with The Sun for exposing me, but, now I don’t feel so angry because, funnily enough in this country, people are much more interested in failure than success and I don’t know why that is.
DJ: Why, look at me!
JB: (laughs) You’re a twinkler! And they kind of take you to their heart, when they see damaged goods around. And I suppose, I’m quite enjoying that. I love people saying ‘You all right?’ ‘You all right, Jeremy?’ ‘Good to see you around’ and all that.
DJ: It’s beautiful, people care.
JB: They really do care, yes. They pick me up a lot.
DJ: They say that to me. ‘All right Del, all right?’ And they know that I’m a bit vulnerable, you know, about to go over the edge, isn’t that right, audience?
JB: (laughs) It’s true.
DJ: What form did your illness take?
LIEN VERSION FRANCAISE Jamieson Tonight - Interview de Derek Jameson - 4 Juillet 1989

JB: I went potty.
DJ: Were you out of the game altogether?
JB: Oh I went potty -
DJ: - didn’t know where you were -
JB: - I went very high, and I was...removed...ascertained, is I think, the word.
DJ: You had booze on top of that?
JB: No, not much, just a little. That wasn’t really it, it was work.
DJ: ‘Cause when we look at Jeremy Brett and we hear that he’s having problems you think it’s the booze.
JB: It was the workload and I got very isolated. I cut the phone off and wouldn’t answer my mail - all sorts of strange things - can I change the subject a minute -
DJ: - of course!
JB: - Linda Pritchard who is the girl you interviewed right at the very beginning -
DJ: - the runner? -
JB: - she’s been standing outside my stage door for about six months. She said ‘I’m going to run around England to get rid of cancer around the world'.
DJ: That’s right.
JB: 5000 miles, all around the British Isles, well she’s done 1700 miles now, she is, I think tonight in Sandwich, in Wales.
DJ: Good Lord.
JB: She’ll be in Manchester on the 22nd - and I hope Manchester will give her a lovely welcome.
DJ: Annabel, don’t sit there! That was your lady, Linda Pritchard, you interviewed her. (Speaking to woman on settee next to JB)
A: That’s right, she’s running like mad all over the -
JB: - she’s just started, and she’s done 1700 out of 5000.
DJ: That’s great.
JB: So if anyone would like to support her in her quest to get rid of cancer, the address is (proceeds to recite address)
DJ: Hanwell, W7?
JB: And the little girl’s doing it, isn’t it superb?
DJ: And on the anniversary of Joan’s death, too.
RETOURJB: And it’s her birthday, Linda Pritchard’s birthday, today.
DJ: Well it’s been lovely having you.
JB: Thank you.
DJ: Anytime you want to come in and have a chat from the Wyndham’s -
JB: - bless your heart -
DJ: - and it’s good to see you doing so well.
JB: Lovely to meet you. (Turns to Annabel) And you’re incredibly beautiful (kisses her on cheek)
A: Oh, I’m in love !
DJ: Ladies and Gentlemen, Jeremy Brett, a twinkler !
JB: (grins) And you !
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