Jimmy Savile in Sherlock
I'm a great fan of Sherlock Holmes and always have been. As a child I enjoyed watching Jeremy Brett play him in the 1980s and 90s. Recently, the BBC has come up with a modern adaptation of the character, the series of which is currently showing on Sunday evenings. Although the storylines are somewhat complicated and they over-egg Sherlock's drugtaking and autistic personality, they are cleverly written and include many of Doyle's original characters.
One of Holmes' most dangerous enemies is one Culverton Smith who is an intelligent man with a knowledge of disease. In the original tale of the Dying Detective, set in 1890, Holmes lures Smith to his house in order to trick him into confessing to murdering his nephew. The 2017 version portrays Smith as a wealthy entrepreneur who appears to be based upon Jimmy Savile. He hobnobs with the wealthy and powerful, he fundraisers for charity and supports hospitals which apparently give him unlimited access to all their rooms. In the scene in which Smith attempts to strangle Sherlock whilst in a hospital bed, the camera gives us a glimpse of his apparent erotic pleasure in performing the act.
The bogeyman of 1890 was a cultured, intelligent gentleman with a good education and knowledge of eastern poisons. Our generation's equivalent is a popular yet warped philanthropist with an unwelcome attraction to children. Sin is sin, no matter how it dresses up nor the generation in which is it spurned. In this respect, 'there is nothing new under the sun.'