BBC rethinks Sherlock Holmes

Detective brought into the 21st century

A comic reworking of Sherlock Holmes, relocated to 21st century London, is one of the highlights of a package of drama greenlit by the BBC.

“Sherlock,” which will air as three 90-minute episodes, is co-created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, “Doctor Who’s” new showrunner.

It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the iconic crimebuster and Martin Freeman as his loyal sidekick, Watson. Hartswood Films, the shingle of Moffat’s wife, Sue Vertue, is producing.

Other drama offerings include coming-of-ager “The Silence,” a four-part serial made by Company Pictures; five-part Arctic submarine thriller “The Deep,” from Tiger Aspect; and a two-part adaptation of Kay Mellor’s play “A Passionate Woman.”

All will unspool on BBC1 next year.

BBC head of drama commissioning Ben Stephenson unveiled the slate on Tuesday, saying, “All of these pieces start and end with a writer’s startling vision.”

The announcement undercuts criticism from veteran producer Tony Garnett earlier this week that the pubcaster’s drama department lacks creativity. He claimed the BBC is too interested in backing “high-volume junk.”

On Tuesday, the BBC Trust called on the pubcaster to raise its game in smallscreen fiction.

The Trust, which is the BBC’s inhouse watchdog, demanded “greater range and ambition across all types of drama on the BBC.”

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