We’ve already counted down the very best portrayals of Professor Moriarty and Dr Watson, and now we arrive at the big one. Out of the 252 times Sherlock Holmes has been adapted on screen, let’s see who the greatest Great Detectives were.
20. William Gillette
William Gillette has the distinction of being the very first actor to play Sherlock Holmes, in a smash-hit stage play that began in 1899. Gillette is responsible for the popular image of Holmes, clad in deerstalker and Inverness cape with a claypipe. So popular was he that he played the role in various films up until 1935.
19. Eille Norwood
Eille Norwood (who took his unusual stage name from an old girlfriend) earns his place here as he is the actor who has played Holmes the most on film – he starred in a whopping 45 short films and 2 feature films in the 1921-23 period. He was also Conan Doyle’s favourite, who said: “His wonderful impersonation of Holmes has amazed me.”
18. Douglas Wilmer
An underrated Holmes, Douglas Wilmer played the part for 13 episodes in a 1960s TV series (before Peter Cushing replaced him). He also turned up as Holmes for a cameo in Gene Wilder comedy The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother. Sherlock fans will know him as a disgruntled Diogenes Club member in ‘The Reichenbach Fall.’