Actors Stephen Fry (Warner Brothers), Louise Brealey and Mark Gatiss (BBC Sherlock) and a host of crime writers including Ian Rankin and Matt Hilton have come out to support the Guinness Worlds Records attempt for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Sherlock Holmes on 19th July at University College London (UCL).
Fans have the chance to both make and preserve Sherlockian history as the record attempt is raising funds for the restoration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home Undershaw. Some historians claim that without Undershaw there would be no Sherlock phenomena today. Imagine a world without BBC Sherlock, CBS Elementary or the Warner Brothers Movies?
Undershaw is where Conan Doyle brought Holmes back to life after killing him off at the Reichenbach Falls. It’s also where he wrote Hound of The Baskervilles which catapulted Holmes to international fame and recognition. Whilst popular in the UK, until The Hound the character was largely known only in the UK, but that all changed with that story garnering a worldwide following.
Sherlock Holmes already holds the Guinness Worlds Records title for the most portrayed character on screen – now fans will come together at UCL to set the record and take part in a raffle and photo shoot. Fry, Brealey, and Rankin have all provided signed prizes for the raffle and although filming schedules make it tough for them to take part in person the organisers hope for at least one surprise guest on the day.
Mark Gatiss is the patron of the Undershaw Preservation Trust (UPT) and has contributed to a book also being launched on the day. ‘Two, To One, Be’ is a collection celebrating the saving of Undershaw from destruction. The building is now in the hands of a school for learning difficulties, Stepping Stones, but until last year was subject to an intense legal battle that raged all the way to the high court as developers aimed to destroy the building despite its Grade II listing.
Hundreds of thousands of fans, many of whom contribute to the Saveundershaw group are overjoyed at the new ownership of the building. The UPT has committed to continue fundraising and the first two projects are to restore Conan Doyle’s study and the stunning stained glass windows.
A dozen lucky participants will also take part in a second photo-shoot with the National Literacy Trust’s Sherlock BookBench. The BookBench is part of the Books about Town ‘initiative that will see dozens of literary benches placed in public places, then auctioned off to raise money for literacy’ to ‘that brings 50 unique BookBench sculptures to the city, created by local artists and famous names to celebrate London’s literary heritage and reading for enjoyment. In October the BookBenches will be sold at an auction at the Southbank, with all proceeds going towards the National Literacy Trust’s work to improve literacy in the UK.
Tickets for event are available from Eventbrite – participation in the record attempt itself is free of charge.