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Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (Photo: Masterpiece/BBC)

Oh now here’s an intriguing thought. Mark Gatiss, the co-creator of Sherlock, has said he’s interested in keeping the franchise going for as long as possible. Not that he wants to milk a hit show for as long as there’s an audience or anything as crass as that, he wants to try to reflect the changing relationship between Holmes and Watson as they grow older, more experienced, and more familiar with each other’s foibles and flaws.

He told the Independent: “I think one of the wonderful things, if everybody is up for it, is starting as we did with Sherlock and John as much younger men than they’re usually portrayed as, we can play with the idea of them growing up.”

And of course, this means using the same actors over a long period, so their changing interpersonal chemistry as people becomes bound up with that of the characters they portray.

“I’d love the idea of Benedict and Martin the same age as Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Who knows? Why not?”

Why not indeed?

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By Fraser McAlpine