For over 135 years, Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved characters in all of literature, film and television. The character debuted in 1887 in author Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective story “A Study in Scarlet”. This story featured the dynamic duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and they continued to gain prominence through short stories published in The Strand Magazine. By 1927 Conan Doyle had published four novels and 56 short stories about Holmes and Watson, most set between 1880 and 1914. Most of the stories are told by Watson and feature the characters’ shared residence at 221B Baker Street, London.
By the 1990s, there were over 25,000 films, television shows, stage productions, and publications portraying Sherlock Holmes. He was even awarded the title of most portrayed literary human character in film and television history by Guinness World Records.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen many adaptations of the character, including the 2010s film series starring Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson and the 2010 TV series starring starred Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson. There’s also 2018’s “Holmes & Watson” starring Will Ferrell as Holmes and John C. Reilly as Watson, the 2018 animated film “Sherlock Gnomes” starring Johnny Depp as Holmes and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Watson and the 2020 film “Enola Holmes” starring Millie Bobby Brown as Holmes’ younger sister.
There are currently many other Sherlock Holmes projects in the works, including an upcoming spinoff show on HBO Max. Take a look at some of our favorite Sherlock Holmes tattoos inspired by the literary legend in the gallery below, then let us know your favorite adaptation of these characters in the comments section on social media.