I always have a slight problem with projects like this, however. There’s an irritating little voice nagging away at the back of my mind. It goes something like this… How come nobody in the show says to Sherlock ‘Hey, you’re called Sherlock Holmes, just like the guy in the books, and you’ve got a friend called Doctor Watson! What are the chances of that?’ Sherlock Holmes, in any modern adaptation, has to live in a parallel universe where Conan Doyle never wrote the original books. It’s one of the suspensions of disbelief we are always faced with when engaging with fiction. It’s the same with soaps – why do none of the characters do what everybody else in the country does – i.e. watch soaps?
|Benedict Cumberbatch as|
Sherlock Holmes (digitalspy.com).
You are faced with the same problems if you put classical allusions in a story, or have echoes of classics from the past. No one, for instance, says in West Side Story (or indeed in any of the other countless retellings of Romeo and Juliet) “Hang on a minute, this is exactly like Romeo and Juliet. We’d better stop all this nonsense before someone gets hurt.” And I must confess I have never read James Joyce’s Ulysses, but perhaps one of you literary types reading this can confirm, it never strikes Leopold Bloom that in some weird way he is acting out the story of the Odyssey on the streets of Dublin.
I’m not too bothered how many of my readers spot the classical references. Some kids have noticed them and enjoyed them. I’ve mainly used them to make my life easier. The best writers steal ideas – but they only steal them from the greats. And, for me, Homer was the greatest.