Sherlock Holmes is an iconic fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a series of short stories and novels published between 1887 and 1927. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Holmes as "the most portrayed movie character in history", with more than 70 actors portraying the character in more than 200 different films, starting with a 30 second Mutoscope film Sherlock Holmes Baffled in 1900, and there are also numerous plays, television shows and other adaptations based on the character and his friend John Watson, as well as many novels and other written works that use the character but were not written by Doyle.
The definitive screen portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is generally considered to be that of actor Jeremy Brett in the Granada television series based on Doyle's stories. Other adaptations include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
In Doyle's stories, Holmes is never depicted in any kind of romantic relationship, leading to speculation that he might be asexual. As Doyle wrote to Joseph Bell, "Holmes is as inhuman as a Babbage's calculating machine and just about as likely to fall in love."
The nature of Holmes's relationship with Watson, with whom he is often depicted as living together, has also been a subject of speculation from fans and the non-canon slash ship Sherlock Holmes/John Watson is the second most popular ship on the fanfiction archive An Archive of Our Own, with more than 46,000 works tagged with the pairing, the majority of them based on Sherlock.
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