Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe

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Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe

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Buy Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Entertainment
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Susmita Chatto
Reviewed by Susmita Chatto
Summary: A comprehensive guide to the television series, featuring insights into every aspect of the show.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: November 2014
Publisher: BBC Books
ISBN: 978-1849907620

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I still remember sitting down to watch the first episode of Sherlock. I was looking forward to it, certainly, but within minutes I realised this was going to become far more than just a television series. It also struck me that, of all the television and film versions I had seen, this felt like the most authentic interpretation of the original stories - but trying to work out exactly why would definitely be a three patch problem. Happily, this book provides all the explanations.

This is a beautifully crafted guide which showcases the development of the show from the conception phase to the last editing detail. Details from casting, production, and story developments are all featured and provide great insight into why everything works so well.

The start of the book contains some fascinating background about the contemporary response to the original Sherlock Holmes stories. I was intrigued to find that Victorians wore black crepe in their hats to mourn Sherlock’s apparent death in 1893. As I learned more about the context of the original works, I was able to appreciate the series more and I particularly enjoyed the examinations of current scenes set against the first versions.

That said, the main appeal of the book, for me, lies in the observations of Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, having watched their idea become phenomenally successful. Moffatt says The audience didn't build, they all arrived on the first day of transmission. How did they know it was going to be good? That's what a successful show is: it's not just that it's good, it's the right moment. People want this now. Part of the genius of this work is just that; Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffatt – and really I should say the entire team – have tapped into the zeitgeist, captured it and attached it to a series of classic stories in the most extraordinary way.

One of the many things I love about Sherlock and the way everything fits so perfectly and organically and how you, as a viewer, grow along with it – it’s not that it’s predictable, it’s that they have set it up so skilfully you follow the exposition in the way the team wanted you to – down to the very second. For example when Mycroft says to Dr Watson, You’re not haunted by the war, Dr Watson… watching at home, I shouted you miss it! just as Mycroft said that himself. I am not saying the secret of such perfect exposition is contained within these pages – that's something contained only in the heads of those possessing such extraordinary talent – but this book is a wonderful window into that talent.

With regards to the acting talent, there is plenty of information about that here too. I particularly enjoyed the insight into Moriarty, who has relatively little screen time but Andrew Scott has made him into the most commanding villain I have seen in years. Interestingly, Andrew says There are lots of different interpretations of Moriarty – and I decided to look at none of them. Another comment which struck me was Steven on Martin Freeman as John Watson: Martin Freeman makes being ordinary seem like a poem. That sums it up perfectly for me, and that ordinary is even more poetic when cast alongside Cumberbatch's high functioning sociopath. There is of course, plenty of insight into that here.

While this book certainly has coffee table appeal, it is very densely packed and I have no doubt I will return to it many times. I have many “favourite” scenes in Sherlock (!) and some are mere seconds long, but I found many of these covered in the commentary here. I particularly enjoyed reading the email conversations between those working on the show and felt absolutely humbled at how quickly a talented and motivated team can put together such a brilliant series.

I could discuss this book for almost as long as I could discuss the series itself. So I will sum up by saying this - this book is as unmissable as the show to which it pays tribute and if there was a six star rating, I would use it. Many thanks to the publisher for sending a copy to Bookbag.

For another look at how entertainment was made, have a look at Interstellar: Beyond Time And Space by Mark Cotta Vaz.

Buy Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe at Amazon.com.

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