Jeremy Brett - Playing A Part

Jeremy Brett - Playing A Part

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"Holmes could be rude, impatient, abrupt, and his intolerance of fools was legendary. I tried to show all this, all of the man's incredible brilliance. But there are some cracks in Holmes's marble, as in an almost-perfect Rodin statue. And I tried to show that, too. It's difficult for me to say what I may have given to the image of Holmes. Faithful to Conan Doyle's text, certainly. Also, I've tried to bring out the emotion that is there in Holmes. On the surface he seems a cold, sometimes dark, rather off-putting figure. But deeper down, I think, he's a man of feeling." Jeremy

Jeremy Brett is still recognised as the most celebrated incarnation of Sherlock Holmes which he presented for ten years. Jeremy delighted viewers with his dashing, arrogant, moody interpretation of the most popular famous detective he brought a brooding intensity to his finest role - one of disturbing power. He is still called the definitive Sherlock Holmes.

Covering a forty year period from first leaving Central School of Speech and Drama until his early death at the age of 61, Playing a Part is a full career book of "a very fine actor" who would delight audiences as a sensitive lover or as a haunted murderer. Talented, loved and admired by the theatrical world at the birth of the National Theatre led by Laurence Olivier, Robert Stephens and Maggie Smith. Beginning and ending his career in Manchester he would transfer his talents to the American culture of the 70s as he settled into his new life with his American wife but was enticed back with some of the best classical roles for television and the stage.

Jeremy's own words are used whenever they are available to present his story and his approach to playing the parts. His unfailing enthusiasm for a new project and the degree of commitment comes through.

Illustrated with original photographs covering his life and career it is the first detailed record of all his performances on the stage, film or television.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 468 pages
  • 216 x 280 x 32mm | 1,447g
  • English
  • 1787055892
  • 9781787055896
  • 59,130

Review quote

"Maureen Whittaker's 'Playing a Part' presents a remarkable and highly readable compendium of the professional career of the scintillating actor Jeremy Brett - who thrilled audiences for four decades onscreen and onstage in roles ranging from Orlando to Dracula, William Pitt the Younger, and Freddie Eynsford Hill - culminating, in his creation of what what is widely regarded as the definitive performance of Sherlock Holmes in Granada's legendary series. As a deep Sherlockian and fan of Jeremy, I loved this book - it is a thrill ride and a suitable way to honour the remarkable career of a courageous, gifted gentleman. Twinkle on, Jeremy."

Bonnie MacBird, BSI, Emmy winning producer, playwright, screenwriter (TRON) and author of 'The Sherlock Holmes Adventure Series'), HarperCollins.

A quarter-century after his death, the name of Jeremy Brett is known and honoured world-wide - because in the early 1980s Michael Cox chose him to play Sherlock Holmes in a landmark television series. That one rôle made him an international star and ensured his lasting fame, but it has, regrettably, overshadowed the rest of his career. The reason why Jeremy Brett was a great Sherlock Holmes (many would say the greatest) is that he was one of our finest actors. Yet his work pre-Holmes is little known, as his most notable performances were in the theatre or on television; no recordings exist of his work at the Old Vic, the National Theatre or the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and only a few are available from such small-screen productions as Love's Labours Lost, The Merchant of Venice and An Ideal Husband. Maureen Whitaker's splendid book - "the fruit of pensive nights and laborious days"* - redresses the balance, and does justice to Jeremy Brett's whole remarkable career.

Roger Johnson, BSI, ASH

Editor, The Sherlock Holmes Journal

* Sherlock Holmes's description of his own magnum opus in "His Last Bow".
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