Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NEWS: BBC's Sherlock Vs CBS's Elementary

Last September we brought you the news that CBS was looking to produce a modern update to the classic adventures of the world's most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. At the time we commented on the fact that the BBC had already done a very good job of that with their update, Sherlock.

Now Sherlock producer Sue Vertue has thrown her hat into the ring in a series of Tweets and interviews, stating that she ''will protect our series.''

Speaking to UK newspaper The Independent, Vertue explained that CBS had previously approached the producers of Sherlock, Hartswood Films, to discuss remaking the BBC-PBS joint venture. It appears no agreement was actually reached on such a remake in light of CBS announcing their own modernisation of the Holmes stories in the form of a show entitled Elementary.

''At the time, [CBS] made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn't resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying. We are very proud of our show and like any proud parent, will protect the interest and wellbeing of our offspring." 

The character of Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain, so there's nothing to stop CBS - or indeed, anybody - making their own new adventures of the Great Detective. However, the fact that CBS initially discussed - essentially - ''remaking the remake'' doesn't set them in good stead and Hartswood Films could legally oppose the CBS show if they feel aspects of their production have been infringed upon.

Margaret Tofalides, a copyright specialist at law firm Manches, said: "The concept of a new Sherlock Holmes is unprotectable. But if the unusual elements of the BBC series – the modern settings, characters, clothes, plots and distinctive visual style – were closely reproduced in the CBS version, that could form the basis of a potential copyright claim."

Season 2 is set to return to US screens on PBS in March.


  1. :O

    That could SOOOOO lead to problems... and personally, id back up the bbc. i doubt cbs could make any better than oor one (cause face it, it's epic enough)and i love the take on the characters.

    I fear if cbs TRIED, they may indivertably steal some of their unique characteristics, and hense the realcharm of the bbc's show.

    1. I think what's so damning here is that CBS spoke with Hartsfield before moving forward with their ''own version.'' I really can't see how they could produce a unique take on the character after that.


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