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Q: Besides the U.S. and U.K. versions, isn't there also a Russian TV version of Sherlock Holmes? Someone told me there is. If that's true, who does it star?

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Author: 
Adam Thomlison / TV Media

St. Petersburg stands in for Victorian-era London in "Sherlok Kholms," which premiered last year on Channel One Russia.

The series stars budding young Russian star Igor Petrenko as the titular detective, and the more established actor Andrey Panin as his devoted companion, Doctor Watson.

Indeed, it seems the series is hewing closely to the source material, with other characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, such as Irene Adler and Inspector Lestrade, making appearances.

That's not surprising, though; Doyle's stories are reportedly very popular in Russia and have been since the Soviet days.

In 2007, statues of Holmes and Watson were erected in Moscow, across from the British embassy, but paid for by the city. Interestingly, however, they were made in the image of the Russian actors who starred in a series of Soviet-made Holmes telefilms in the late 1970s and the 1980s.

The films, starting with 1979's "Sherlok Kholms i Doktor Vatson: Znakomstvo" (which translates, loosely, as "Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: Acquaintance"), starred Vasili Livanov as Holmes, a role that earned him honorary membership in the Order of the British Empire.

"Mr. Livanov's presentation of Sherlock Holmes is one of the best I've ever seen," British ambassador Anthony Brenton told Russia's RT News. "This is where the two different cultures meet. The actor captures this very English personality."

There were nine of these films in total, ending with 1986's more cumbersomely named "Priklyucheniya Sherloka Kholmsa i Doktora Vatsona: Sokrovishcha Agry," which IMDB translates as "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Treasures of Agra."

The new Russian adaptation has not achieved such longevity or acclaim yet, but it's still young. With the popularity of all things Holmes in this half of the world, maybe it's time for a big revival over there as well.

 

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