Sherlock Holmes and Modern Storytelling

Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain – the stories belong to everyone and no one. As a result, Conan Doyle’s stories have evolved into a limitless number of texts with circulating images, characters, settings and plotlines. Sherlock is universally recognised by his hat, and the creation of this iconic accessory is an example of the evolving nature of Doyle’s classic stories. It was an artist, not the author who original imagined the hat, and attached it to the detective.

fan 3

Writers Moffatt and Gatiss are huge fans of the original novels. Most elements of the original stories are maintained and Sherlock is very similar to Doyle’s original character. The BBC production demonstrates a post-modern awareness of fan culture, incorporating fan response in season three of the series.

Fan fiction is where modern storytelling enters the realm of myth and folktale, where characters take on life beyond the control of their authors, where they are let loose in communities with their own ideas about how to tell a story. Penny (2014) argues that Sherlock is merely an example of a modern fan fiction, written by well-paid, well-respected middle-aged men with a big fat budget.


Asher-Perrin, E. 2014, ‘Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaptation’, Tor, blog post, viewed September 5 2014,

Frew, C. 2014, ‘Television in Translation: Drama Focus’, Lecture Week 8, BCM 111: International Media and Communications, UOW, 16/9/14

Penny, L. 2014, ‘Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase’ New Statesman, viewed September 5 2014,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s