A man who solves problems with his massive brain, always at least one step ahead of those around him, helped by a faithful companion, an uncertain relationship with women and not very good with his feelings. Sometimes really quite unthinkingly rude.
Sherlock Holmes or Doctor Who? Both.
But Steven Moffat, the showrunner for both Doctor Who and the latest reboot of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the consulting detective and his sidekick Watson doesn’t see the similarities. [OP dies laughing]
‘I suppose in certain respects they’re kind of opposites, aren’t they?’ he said at the Ad Lib event in Edinburgh on Wednesday to Frank Skinner: ‘The Doctor is the angel who aspires to be human and Sherlock is the human who aspires to be an evil god.’ Moffat also ruled out a crossover episode and said that the Doctor and Sherlock ‘wouldn’t like each other.’
That’s probably true. Sherlock and the Doctor take a certain pleasure at being the cleverest person in the room. But there are huge similarities. Sherlock cheats death at the Reichenbach Falls, in a similar way to the Doctor with regeneration. But certainly I wouldn’t want to see them together in the same adventure.
The difference though between the two is joyfulness. The Doctor is thrilled by the universe, life in all its forms and the potential of all humanity. He loves to show off the wonder of creation to his companions and has deep (if sometimes erratic) morals.
Sherlock Holmes is world weary and disgusted by the squalor of human life and the stupidity of most people. He is a consulting detective because otherwise he would be bored with the every day mundane drudge of an ordinary existence. He doesn’t really have an ethical dimension but rather an amoral code.
Sherlock is dour and disappointed but the Doctor loves fun and has a good sense of humour. The Doctor also embraces technology while Sherlock eschews it. Holmes will wield a gun if he needs to and shoot it.
Of course, there are differences but there are huge similarities too. And it’s the intelligence. In an age of muscled bound heroes, dripping sweat and saving the world with bombs and machine guns, only two men prefer to use their brain and have a nice line in elegant long coats, tweed and scarves.
Back in the day, the producers of Doctor Who saw the similarities between the Timelord and Sherlock. When third Doctor Jon Pertwee was stranded on Earth as UNIT’s Scientific Advisor back on the 1970s, they even went so far as to give him a foe that they likened to Moriarty. The bitter battle between the Doctor and The Master continues… how familiar.
What do you think, ONTD? Has Moff crafted two wildly different male leads?