A detective in his dotage, but aiming to crack a case - catch Mr Holmes at Royston’s Picture Palace

PUBLISHED: 21:18 27 July 2015

Ian McKellen in Mr Holmes

Ian McKellen in Mr Holmes

Archant

The crimebusting brainbox of Baker Street has never been more popular, it seems.

Fair enough, he was a literary sensation when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first started penning the Sherlock Holmes stories, and was big news again when his pipe-smoking, violin-playing, deerstalker-wearing persona was transferred to the silver screen by the likes of Basil Rathbone.

There have been Holmes films for more than 100 years, and the list of stars who have tried their hand at the lead role for film and TV include unlikely candidates such as Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Christopher Plummer and even Leonard Nimoy.

But the thirst for new adventures, and new departures, seems impossible to slake.

Of the current crop there’s Robert Downey Jr’s knockabout period piece, Benedict Cumberbatch’s cerebral modern times take and Jonny Lee Miller’s troubled New York crimebuster all vying for audiences – and now we have Sir Ian McKellen throwing his hat into the ring in the much-praised Mr Holmes, showing at Royston’s Picture Palace on Friday and Saturday night, with screenings at 7.30pm. Click here to book tickets.

This is a new Holmes, an older Holmes, a detective in his dotage, long-retired but still troubled by a case he couldn’t crack.

Sir Ian gives a masterclass, playing the character both nearing 60 and then at 93, in a film based on the 2005 novel A Slight Trick Of The Mind.

Sir Ian has already enjoyed success with director Bill Condon – their 1998 movie collaboration Gods and Monsters earned Condon a screenplay Oscar and the star a best actor nomination.

Condon, whose most recent film about Wikileaks whistleblower Julian Assange received distinctly mixed reviews, is back on firmer ground with this thoughtful period piece which delivers a fresh perspective on a familiar character.

On the multiplex front we’re back in summer blockbuster territory with the release of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which does exactly what it says in the title and provides Tom Cruise with further opportunities to show off his action chops.

Director Christopher McQuarrie helmed Cruise’s Jack Reacher and has also been involved in other hits featuring the star Scientologist, as a writer and a producer.

There’s also Hot Pursuit, starring Reece Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara, the larger than life second wife in hit TV comedy Modern Family.

The story is about a Texas policewoman and her female prisoner who find themselves on the run from a group of crooked cops and is a change of mood for director Anne Fletcher, best known for comedies like The Guilt Trip and The Proposal.

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