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Updated by Natasha Hervatta on Jun 09, 2017
Headline for Who's your favourite Sherlock Holmes?
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Who's your favourite Sherlock Holmes?

Over the years we've seen a number of actors portray the role of the greatest consulting detective in the world. So which one's your favourite?

1

Jeremy Brett

Jeremy Brett

From The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984–1985)

In 2014 Brett was voted the Greatest Sherlock Holmes. Brett once said that "Holmes is the hardest part I have ever played - harder than Hamlet or Macbeth..."

2

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.

From Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Guy Ritchie initially felt Downey was too old for the role because he wanted the film to show a younger Holmes on a learning curve. Ritchie decided to take a chance on casting him in the role, and Downey told the BBC that "I think me and Guy are well-suited to working together. The more I look into the books, the more fantastic it becomes. Holmes is such a weirdo."

3

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

From Sherlock (2010– )

Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue became interested in casting Cumberbatch as the title character after watching his performance in the 2007 film Atonement. The actor was cast after reading the script for the creative team. Producer Sue Vertue said, "Benedict was the only person we actually saw for [the part of] Sherlock... Once Benedict was there it was really just making sure we got the chemistry for John [Watson].

4

Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone

From Sherlock Holmes (1939 film series) and The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

The writer David Stuart Davies concluded that Basil Rathbone was "the actor who has come closest to creating the definitive Sherlock Holmes on screen", also describing the choice as "inspired". The historian Alan Barnes agrees, and wrote that "Rathbone was Sherlock Holmes"

5

Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing

From The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) and Sherlock Holmes (1964-68 TV series)

Peter Cushing was approached to take over the role of Sherlock Holmes for the 1968 series. Having already played Holmes in the 1959 Hammer films adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Cushing was eager to play the role again. Cushing was an avid fan of Doyle and looked forward to portraying the detective correctly.

6

Vasily Livanov

Vasily Livanov

Vasily Borisovich Livanov MBE, FMF, PAR is a Russian film actor, screenwriter and animator.

7

Chrisopher Lee

Chrisopher Lee

From Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962)

Lee donned a false nose to play the famous detective for the first time. He later reprised the role on TV, in 1991's Incident at Victoria Falls and 1992's Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady).

8

Robert Stephens

Robert Stephens

From The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

The film offers an affectionate, slightly parodic look at the man behind the public façade, and draws a distinction between the "real" Holmes and the character portrayed by Watson in his stories for The Strand magazine.

9

Jonathan Pryce

Jonathan Pryce

From Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars (2007)

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars was a BBC television drama about Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, a gang of children who would occasionally help him. It was an original story by Kurti & Doyle, starring Jonathan Pryce as Sherlock Holmes and Bill Paterson as Dr Watson.

10

Johnny Lee Miller

Johnny Lee Miller

From Elementary (2012– )

In 2011, Miller auditioned for the role of Sherlock Holmes for an upcoming CBS adaption based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. He originally turned down the part as he feared it would be too similar to the BBC version Sherlock. However, after receiving the script he accepted the part and it was officially announced he would star in Elementary alongside Lucy Liu. This earned him his second Satellite Award nomination for Best Actor.

11

Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen

From Mr. Holmes (2015)

On September 5, 2013 it was announced that Mitch Cullin's book A Slight Trick of the Mind will be adapted into a film with Ian McKellen as a long-retired Sherlock Holmes. Ian McKellen tweeted, along with the photo above, "Over 70 actors have previously played Sherlock Holmes. Now he's 93 years old and it's my turn."

12

Eillie Norwood

Eillie Norwood

From 1921 to 1923, Stoll Pictures produced a series of silent black-and-white films based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Forty-five short films and two feature-length films were produced featuring Eille Norwood in the role of the detective.

13

John Neville

John Neville

John Reginald Neville, CM, OBE was an English theatre and film actor who played the Sherlock in A Study in Terror where he is on the trail of Jack the Ripper. In the dark alleys of London.

14

Edward Woodward

Edward Woodward

Edward Albert Arthur Woodward, OBE was an English actor and singer who reprised the role of Sherlock in Hands of a Murderer 1990 where he joins his campanion Dr. Watson to chase professor Moriarty for top secrets and Holmes' brother, Mycroft.

15

Arthur Wontner

Arthur Wontner

Arthur Wontner won the role of Holmes having played Sexton Blake, a character seen as a flattering imitation of the Baker Street detective. Wontner earned appreciation from staunch Holmes experts, including Conan Doyle’s wife, for his approach to the role in the film The Sleeping Cardinal, which fused two separate stories: The Empty House and The Final Problem.

16

Ronald Howard

Ronald Howard

The British actor Ronald Howard was born in Norwood, London, England, in 1918. He stared as the detective in Sherlock TV Series (1954–1955)

17

Tom Baker

Tom Baker

A year after leaving Doctor Who, Baker was invited to play Holmes by his former producer Barry Letts. The 1982 BBC television production of The Hound Of The Baskervilles, shown in the Sunday afternoon classic serial slot, was well received.

18

Nicholas Rowe

Nicholas Rowe

Nicholas Rowe was the star of the 1985 Steven Spielberg movie Young Sherlock Holmes. The film followed Sherlock’s early life and his first meeting with John Watson as the two were caught up in the first of many exciting mysteries.

19

Robert Stephens

Robert Stephens

Known for1970 production The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes where he eagerly takes the case of Gabrielle Valladon after an attempt on her life, the search for her missing husband leads to Loch Ness and the legendary monster.

20

Vasily Livanov

Vasily Livanov

Vasily Borisovich Livanov MBE, FMF, PAR is a Russian film actor, screenwriter and animator.