Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, Bipolar Disorder and Manic Depression

I grew up watch­ing Jere­my Brett in one of my best loved TV series of Sher­lock Holmes.Jeremy_Brett_as_Hamlet

Brett was the quin­tes­sen­tial Holmes, nobody, nei­ther Basil Rath­bone nor Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch can come close to epit­o­miz­ing the essen­tial Sher­lock. In 2014, Brett was vot­ed the Great­est Sher­lock Holmes beat­ing oth­er actors who have also played the icon­ic role.

For a stage actor who played Shakespeare’s Ham­let and Mac­beth, Sher­lock must have been very easy. Not so.

Holmes is the hard­est part I have ever played — hard­er than Ham­let or Mac­beth.”

What I, and I sus­pect many, don’t know is that Jere­my had a men­tal ill­ness.

Jeremy_Brett_as_Sherlock_HolmesIn the lat­ter half of 1986, he exhib­it­ed wild mood swings that alarmed every­body, and after per­sua­sion to seek treat­ment of bipo­lar dis­or­der, he was giv­en Lithi­um. This is why his phys­i­cal appear­ance notice­ably changed in the episodes filmed after 1987. He put on weight and his body start­ed retain­ing water. He would have dif­fi­cul­ties breath­ing and often need­ed an oxy­gen mask dur­ing the film­ing.

But, dar­lings, the show must go on”, was his only com­ment.

As a roman­tic, my unqui­et mind has often been tempt­ed to think that it was play­ing Sher­lock, tru­ly imbib­ing the char­ac­ter he was por­tray­ing, that led to his men­tal ill­ness.

But that is wrong. There are def­i­nite psy­cho­log­i­cal effects of method act­ing but that was not the case with Brett. He was a vic­tim of bipo­lar dis­or­der whether he played Sher­lock or not.

In his lat­er years, he pub­licly acknowl­edged his ill­ness and strove to raise pub­lic aware­ness about it. Here is a rare audio voice over of Jere­my Brett talk­ing about bipo­lar depres­sion.

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  • supriya5

    It is real­ly nice that he pub­licly acknowl­edged his ill­ness and strove to raise pub­lic aware­ness. Now many peo­ple in depres­sion. Either all peo­ple will sucide or go mad if this con­tin­ues. The expec­ta­tion reached in all time high and due to that peo­ple get into the depres­sion soon. You can’t say the peo­ple to let the expec­ta­tion go but you can say them to keep it low as much as pos­si­ble. Lets tell the peo­ple to do yoga and med­i­ta­tion this will hold your mind and have bet­ter con­troll. I woke up morn­ing, do yoga then light up some cycle san­dal agar­bathi and start doing med­i­ta­tion. Lat­er have one small cup of Amla juice. All these keep me active and free from dis­eases and depres­sion. Try Yoga and med­i­ta­tion to keep your­self free from depres­sion and ten­sion.