Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Woodbridge: Sherlock of the sixties discusses famous Holmes role

09:51 06 January 2014

Interview with former Sherlock Holmes, Douglas Wilmer at his home in Woodbridge.

Interview with former Sherlock Holmes, Douglas Wilmer at his home in Woodbridge.

Archant

Douglas Wilmer, who turns 94 this week, knows what it’s like to bear the frock coat, deerstalker and encapsulate the steely logic of history’s greatest fictional sleuth.

shares
Douglas Wilmer feature  As Sherlock Holmes (left) with David Burke (right)Douglas Wilmer feature As Sherlock Holmes (left) with David Burke (right)

More than nine million people are said to have tuned in to the long-awaited opening of the BBC’s new Sherlock series – eager to learn how the great detective faked his own death.

Mr Wilmer, whose depiction of Holmes drew even greater audiences in the 1960s, understands the national affection still felt for a character he famously portrayed.

“Although it couldn’t be less like my perpetration, the character and story remains fascinating to people,” said the former stage and screen actor, who lives with his wife, Anne, in Woodbridge.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous creation was one of many great roles Mr Wilmer filled – opposite some of the most accomplished actors of their day.

His filmography includes Olivier’s Richard III, Cleopatra, The Fall of the Roman Empire and Patton, plus appearances in Jason and the Argonauts, Octopussy and the Pink Panther films A Shot in the Dark and Revenge of the Pink Panther.

In 1964 he adopted the guise of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s production of The Speckled Band.

“I was reasonably well-known in television and had the right sort of look, voice and possibly the manner for Sherlock,” said Mr Wilmer, who made another dozen television appearances as the character, as well as a one-off return in Gene Wilder’s The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother.

In the 1990s, he read a number of acclaimed Penguin audiobook versions of the stories.

After rising to fame, Mr Wilmer left London for Suffolk to take a break from the spotlight.

He said: “The moment I finished the series I went to Greece for a holiday.

“At the Oracle in Delphi I was followed by a man who sidled up to say I was ‘a bit far from 221b Baker Street’. Evidently, I thought, not far enough!”

Mr Wilmer moved to a cottage outside Woodbridge before settling in the town centre and opening Sherlock’s Wine Bar in The Thoroughfare – now an Indian restaurant, Zunaki.

His life and career are chronicled in a 2009 memoir, Stage Whispers, in which Mr Wilmer describes working with some of stage and screen’s all time greats.

Among them, Laurence Olivier, who he thought of not only the greatest, but also the most imposing.

“When I first met him he was absolutely charming, but he could be quite terrifying when in charge.

“One can get to know people intimately when working with them.”

You can order a copy of Mr Wilmer’s autobiography, Stage Whispers, from www.porterpress.co.uk.

shares

0 comments

Fire crews rescue the man in Rumburgh - photo Jane Davis

A driver is lucky to have escaped after his car careered off the road and into a pond in Rumburgh, say eyewitnesses.

There are around 17 miles of tailbacks on the northbound A12 this evening.

A property in Leavenheath was burgled on Monday.

Police are appealing for information after a man who exposed himself to a 16-year-old boy on Tuesday.

Nowton Park daffodils. Pictured is George Cole.

March winds and April showers should give a very traditional flavour to the weather over the next few days as youngsters across Suffolk start their Easter school holidays.

The Charlatans' frontman Tim Burgess is looking forward to returning to V Festival this year

The Charlatans are among the latest names added to this year’s V Festival.

Staff at Sainsbury's on Woodbridge Road Andrew Rodger (left) and Martin Palman with youngsters at Noah's Ark Pre-School taking part in a fundraising 'bunny bounce' to raise money for a better outdoor play area and staff Sam Chambers (front L to R) Sophie Woodward and Sue Woolard.

Dozens of toddlers have helped an Ipswich pre-school raise funds to improve its outdoor play area – by taking part in a ‘Bunny Bounce’ challenge.

Hollesley.

Opposition has been voiced over proposals to use part of the grounds of a residential home for nine properties, including much-needed affordable housing.

The design of the proposed new clifftop shelter at Felixstowe - a replacement for an earlier modernistic design labelled as a monstrosity by some councillors.

Proposals for a new clifftop shelter labelled by a community leader as a “monstrosity” have been ditched in favour of a more traditional design.

Enthusiasts at Bawdsey Transmitter Block at Bawdsey Manor to mark the 80th anniversary of the Daventry Experiment which proved radar was possible. A £1.4m lottery bid has been lodged to preserve the old radar station.

Enthusiasts have submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for grant aid towards a £1.4million project to preserve one of Britain’s most precious pieces of war-time history and turn it into a major attraction.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages