Okay, I’m sorry but I just HAVE TO SAY IT.
I love the 1984 Sherlock because of this guy. Out of all the sherlock actors, even if I haven’t seen them all, I believe he’s the best one. If you ever read his bio it’s just heartbreaking.
So before he took the sherlock role, he was already a distinguished actor. But he truly committed to playing sherlock. Like the people he works with comments that he sort of became sherlock.. Until eventually it took over him. Jeremy Brett died before finishing the TV series, but he was already too sick and being casted out anyways.
But apparently by becoming the character sherlock has psychologically taken him over.. Like he had personal problems and being sherlock Holmes didn’t help that (if you know what I mean).
I suggest any sherlock Holmes fan to read up on his bio because it’s moving. Like he is seriously dedicated on becoming sherlock. He read of all Conan Doyle’s books and even wrote like mannerisms and habits of sherlock and practiced them.
I remember reading that his wife died and got him really depressed and that he was also a bisexual actor.
Okay I’m done.
Playing Holmes didn’t really take him over, although Jeremy sometimes claimed that. That’s a sort of fandom myth perpetrated by The Man Who Became Sherlock Holmes, which is apparently a rather sensationalist semi-biography which presents only one side of the story.
Jeremy was manic depressive, and was never treated for it until his hospitalization after the filming of Granada’s third season. That’s when things actually started going downhill.
Yes, Sherlock Holmes was a tough role. He had to film several hour-length episodes in one stretch of time, during which he had to memorize as many lines as everyone else in the episode put together. Not to mention his stance of “stay true to Doyle,” which he was fighting the producers on from the beginning, and which didn’t stop until his health declined too far for him to keep it up. (Hence the weirdness of the later episodes.)
But Jeremy had scarred lungs from a childhood illness, and he was a chain smoker, sometimes smoking six packets of cigarettes in a day. He later regretted this, but at the time, it was his way of dealing with stress. He started taking medication for his bipolar disorder, and the medication caused him to retain water, giving him the slightly bloated, unnaturally heavy appearance that started in season 4 and worsened as time progressed.
But it’s important to note that, in the end, Jeremy still enjoyed playing Holmes, still enjoyed what the role had brought to his life. Certainly, without Granada, Jeremy would not have discovered his own Watson in Edward Hardwicke, and when playing Holmes on stage in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, he said on-camera that they were having a ball.
I guess my point is, don’t just read the Wikipedia article and call it good. Dig deeper. Find what other people who knew Jeremy, met him, saw him, have to say about him. Watch the interviews on YouTube. Heck, go get Bending the Willow on Kindle—it’s a read that will break your heart but will also tell you far more about Granada and Jeremy than you can learn online.
Jeremy Brett was a complicated man with a complicated life who played a complicated character in a complicated series. (True facts, all of those complications.) The myth that Sherlock Holmes “took him over” is doing a disservice both to actor and character.