18 January 2013 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Sherlock Holmes might be sexier, but Gk Chesterton's atmospheric Father Brown stories are the best the genre has ever seen

If there is debate about who is the greatest literary detective, there can be no dispute as to who is the most recognisable. An IMDb search for adaptations of Gk Chesterton's Father Brown stories yields one 1950s film, two television series (one of which has just started on BBC1), a clutch of American Masterpiece Mystery shows, and an American TV movie. A similar hunt for Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes turns up an immediate 200 hits, with many more following: there's Young Sherlock, Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Brett, Basil Rathbone and Billy Wilder, as well as the Baker Street Irregulars, all the spoofs, the debunkings, the modernisations, and so on and on. Even Tom and Jerry have met Holmes.

The reasons for Holmes's on-screen triumph over the diminutive »

- Michael Newton

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