Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional consulting detective, has been awarded a Guinness World Records title for the “Most Portrayed Literary Human Character in Film & TV.” as part of London & Partners’ World Record London.
The character, brought to life recently in film by Robert Downey Jr. in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – available now on Blu-ray and DVD – famously lived at 221B Baker Street, London and was renowned for his incredible powers of deduction. Sherlock Holmes has been depicted on screen a massive 254 times since his creation in 1887.
Through a combination of appearances in films, television series, dramas and documentaries, Sherlock – one of the great British literary exports – beats his nearest rival, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, by 48 portrayals to claim the record. The first known appearance of Sherlock on screen is believed to be 1890’s Sherlock Holmes Baffled, a 30 second silent movie created in the US and shown in Mutoscope machines, a regular feature of arcades at the time.
The short film shows Holmes being burgled and struggling to stop the intruder, but the identities of the actors who played Holmes and his assailant were never recorded. Since then, Sherlock has been played by over 75 actors including Sir Christopher Lee, who has also played Sherlock’s brother Mycroft, Charlton Heston, Peter O’Toole, Christopher Plummer, Peter Cook, Roger Moore and John Cleese.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock, saw a largely British cast bring the thrilling story of Sherlock’s nemesis Moriarty and his destructive plot to life. The cast includes Jude Law as Dr. Watson, Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, Jared Harris as Moriarty and Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade. It is available now on Blu-ray and DVD. Other literary figures in the top 10 include Cinderella (136), Robin Hood (127), Romeo (101) and Tarzan (85). The record has been awarded by London & Partners – the official promotional organisation for the capital – as part of World Record London.
The campaign will see London attempt over 20 Guinness World Records to become a multi record-breaking city in the run up to the 2012 Games.
Burgess, Guinness World Records adjudicator said: “Sherlock Holmes is a literary institution. This Guinness World Records title reflects his enduring appeal and demonstrates that his detective talents are as compelling today as they were 125 years ago.”