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Steven Moffat wanted Richard E Grant and Paul McGann as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson! What?!?

April 23rd, 2022 by Marc Comments

Sometimes you hear something or find something out that blows your mind and makes so much sense it actually baffles you why it didn’t happen.

Today was one of those days.

Scrolling through Twitter I stumbled across a tweet from Max Kashevsky, one of Big Finish’s Doctor Who writers, that, as I said above, blew my mind.

Now, we’re all familiar with the BBC’s Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular detective and Martin Freeman as his ever loyal –  and rather badass – sidekick, Dr John Watson. The show was a global phenomenon and made true household names of the two stars.

However, it seems that before the two stepped into the iconic roles, other actors were in the running and we now know that two of those actors were Richard E Grant and Paul McGann.

Yes, we almost had Withnail and I as Holmes and Watson.




Kashevsy works with with McGann on Big Finish’s Doctor Who adventures and in a recent chat, McGann revealed that the two came pretty close to being the detecting duo.

Here’s what Kashevsy had to say: Paul McGann just spilled that, ages ago, [Creator, Stephen] Moffat was seriously considering him and Richard E. Grant to star in Sherlock. Like, *as* Holmes and Watson. “There were multiple conversations, that’s how you know it’s serious.”

McGann said Grant definitely would’ve been Holmes. Presumably, this was before they settled on Cumberbatch and Freeman – he said it was around 2010, and it didn’t sound like a sort of one-off appearance.

Dear BBC, there’s still time… make this happen!

We know that creators of the show Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss recently said that they are up for more Sherlock but Cumberbatch and Freeman are too busy these days: “I’d do Sherlock again tomorrow, why ask me?” said Moffat.

“Mark would do it tomorrow, Sue [Vertue, producer] would do it tomorrow – we’d all just do it again.

“It’s down to Benedict and Martin. They were very loyal to that show over a very long while when it was out, when it definitely became their lowest paying job.”

“And I don’t think that’s necessarily what they want to do now – fair enough, absolutely fair enough. But if anyone thinks I’m the one getting in the way, I will confidently tell you I would start writing it tomorrow, if everybody else did too.”

We also know that a third movie based on Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law’s take on the characters is in the works along with two TV spinoffs at HBO Max, so there’s a definite feeling that the public wants more Holmes and Watson… I say the BBC – or whoever – needs to take with GRant and McGann and give the world the best version of Holmes and Watson they could ever imagine.

And I say they do it now.

What say you all? Let me know your thoughts, gang.

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….