Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Lymm and Sherlock

I've written a number of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, but wandering round the grounds of Lymm Hall on Sunday, I discovered that there is a more interesting link between my home village and the great detective. And it's one I wasn't aware of.

The Shippon is in the grounds of the Hall. It is now the ‘yellow courtyard garden’, but it was once transformed into, of all places, Chatham Station for a Sherlock Holmes story featuring Jeremy Brett which was filmed partly in Lymm in 1992. The explanation, I imagine, is that the series was produced by Granada TV, whose home city is in Manchester, not too far away. The grounds of nearby Arley Hall were also used for scenes in one or two of the Jeremy Brett cases.

The Shippon was converted into a house in 1995 and a formal garden was laid out. Nobody looking at this tranquil spot today would guess that the greatest detective of them all was once played here by – arguably – his finest screen interpreter. I must admit that I prefer Basil Rathbone and possibly Douglas Wilmer to Brett as Holmes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire what Brett did with the character in the early series, which I thought more successful than the later ones.

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