Another Outing for Sherlock Holmes

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Wireless Theatre Company has just released my latest collaboration with Peter Davis, The Trial of Sherlock Holmes

It had been quite a while since we’d delved into the world of the great detective, but Peter and I needed little excuse to head back to Baker Street. Our last play, Sherlock Holmes Strikes Back, was released back in 2011 and has been one of their most popular downloads ever since. I think it was inevitable that we would do some kind of follow up.

It’s not a direct sequel – there’s a fair bit of difference between the two plays. Sherlock Holmes Strikes Back took its inspiration from the 1940s wartime propaganda films starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, as well as their subsequent radio outings. If you’ve never heard or seen this partnership in action, I would recommend watching the films and having a listen. Rathbone and Bruce are a formidable team and one of the defining versions of Holmes and Watson. I will admit that when I was younger and took myself more seriously I was less than enamoured with Nigel Bruce. Now I see how great a comic performance it is.

Having covered the wartime adventures of Sherlock Holmes, we needed a new hook for our story and inspiration came from Holmes’ popularity and the number of copycat detectives that sprung up in his wake. There are tonnes of them out there, Max Carados, Thomas Carnaki, Professor S.F.X. Van Dusen and probably the most famous of them all, Sexton Blake. There’s a great collection of stories that you can track down, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, edited by former BBC Director General Sir Hugh Carlton Greene. It was also adapted for television by Thames TV in the 1970s and is available from the wonderful Network Releasing.

So Holmes’s rivals were the inspiration – how would they feel in competition to the public’s favourite consulting detective? We also decided to make it harder on ourselves by writing three separate adventures to create a portmanteau. It was good fun, coming up with ridiculous cases for the Holmes and Watson to solve. It was important to remember that while the cases were silly, we treat our heroes with respect. If we send them up a little, it is done with love.

The Trial of Sherlock Holmes is a Newgate Production, exclusively available from The Wireless Theatre Company. It’s a subscription service, but well worth it. You can join from as little as three pounds and there’s  lots to choose from. Some of them even feature me, so think of that as an incentive! To find out how to subscribe, click here.

 

Dan Starkey versus The Monster Hunters!

Out now in your local pair of ears.

Out now in your local pair of ears.

The Monster Hunters returned in May for a brand new episode and we were joined by an exciting guest star!

Destroy All Monster Hunters is the first of four special episodes Newgate Productions are producing this year. It’s a blockbuster style romp as Roy Steel and Lorrimer Chesterfield investigate the murders of the world’s top monster hunters, taking them from the swinging streets of London to the northern world of Leeds. Can our heroes put a stop to the plans of the fiendish Sir Princely Mothman before they too fall victim?

Guest starring as Sir Princely Mothman is none other than Dan Starkey, known to Doctor Who fans as Strax, the Sontaran factotum to Madam Vastra and Jenny, a pair of Victorian Adventurers set to return to the show later this year. It’s a terrible cliche to sat, ‘oh, X is simply wonderful’, ‘everything was marvellous’ and even more of a cliche to moan about saying it. But Dan is a thoroughly nice guy and absolutely terrific as Sir Princely. He came in having put a lot of thought into the character and delivered a suitably oily and stomach churning performance. We also gave him the part of a Collosisquid (Listen to it, it’ll all make sense) and off he went again, breathing life into a character that was only there for a couple of jokes to the point where we really wanted to find a way of bringing the character back! Maybe one day…

Also, a big thank you to Peter Davis who not only writes and stars as Lorrimer, but edits the thing as well. He had to put up with me wielding the worst cold I think I’ve ever had (it stuck around for weeks. I nearly lost my voice and I sounded ridiculous. There was a point when I had to download one of those text-to-speech apps to talk, which meant sounding like an American lady). It meant I recorded all my stuff weeks after everyone else and Peter had to painstakingly edit it all back together. On top of being a new father. It’s down to his hard work that The Monster Hunters always sounds so polished.

Dan at the mike. And a reclining Sir Maxwell.

Dan at the mike. And a reclining Sir Maxwell.

If you want to hear it, get over to themonsterhunters.com/episodes. You can also follow the series on twitter and like it on the Facebook.