“Come at once, if convenient…” – a visit to 221B Baker Street

221B Baker Street; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr 221B Baker Street, circa 2012-2015, as seen in the BBC’s series Sherlock – and in Second Life (Flickr) – click any image for full size

“Come at once if convenient. SH.” So reads the text message on the ‘phone. A few seconds later it is followed by, “if inconvenient, come anyway. SH.”

Thus, Doctor John Watson finds himself being summoned by his new flatmate, the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes, in the opening episode of Sherlock, the BBC’s re-imagining of Conan Doyle’s famous duo The show sees the pair transplanted to London in the 21st Century, getting a suitably modern make-over in the process, whilst still remaining true to their roots (Watson, for example, sustained a wound during the recent conflict in Afghanistan, just as the original Watson received his wound during the Second Anglo-Afghan War).

The series has aired around the world to much acclaim, each episode retelling one of Conan Doyle’s famous cases, again cleverly updated for modern times. And if you haven’t guessed already, I’m quite a fan – just as much as I enjoy Conan Doyle’s original short stories and novels.

221B Baker Street; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr A certain website recording, among other things, 43 different types of tobacco … (Flickr)

So when Strawberry Singh IM’d me about a place in Second Life which apparently recreates the flat at 221B Baker Street as seen in the BBC’s series, it was something I had to see for myself. And I have to say, it really is the most remarkable reproduction.

Almost everything that anyone familiar with the show would expect to find in Holmes’ flat is here. The same untidy mess, the same flock wallpaper and poster on the wall, the kitchen-converted-into-a-lab; there’s even the expected severed head in the fridge and the hand-drawn target on the wall, complete with bullet holes, put their by a “bored” Holmes…

221B Baker Street; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr “The wall had it coming…” What happens when a certain S. Holmes, Esq., gets bored … (Flickr)

The flat is the work of Darius Godric, who is clearly an aficionado of the show; not only has he recreated 221B Baker Street in extraordinary detail (as shown in the top image, it even sits above Speedy’s Sandwich Bar!), he has incorporated many touches from various episodes of the show.

Fore example, on the table sits a laptop displaying Holmes’ website, The Science of Deduction. Close by, on a chair, sits a pink travel case, taken from A Study in Pink (a play on A Study in Scarlet, the novel by Doyle which introduced Holmes and Watson). Between the two lies a page of ciphers, alluding to the episode The Blind Banker, which in turn draws on The Valley of Fear and The Adventure of the Dancing Men.

221B Baker Street; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr The pink travel case at the heart of A Study In Pink, which introduces audiences to the BBC’s Holmes and Watson (Flickr)

While visiting 221B Baker Street, Berry and I had a little fun dressing-up in a Sherlock style (we actually debated going for the complete look and male avatars, but while there is a lot of stuff for Sherlock to be found, John Watson seems to be less well catered for), and you can see the results of our fun over on Berry’s blog, as a part of her Monday Memes series.

221B Baker Street; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr
Darius as Sherlock (Flickr)

Darius has also gone to great lengths to recreate Sherlock’s looks with his avatar, and the results are stunning.  I had the opportunity to chat with him when he dropped by the flat after Berry and I had finished shooting (literally and figuratively, as you’ll see on her blog!).

“I made the avatar, then I got bored, so I built the flat,” he said as we sat by the fireplace, Darius in Sherlock’s trademark coat and gloves. “I suppose it’s for fans of the show, and homage,” he added.

He’s hesitant to suggest it could be used for role-play, as it retains the dimensions of the original, and thus is on the cosy side when it comes to having too many avatars present, and he’s understandably concerned that visitors popping in and out might spoil the atmosphere. The flat is, however, open to any and all who wish to visit.

Anyone who has enjoyed Sherlock’s three (thus far) seasons via the BBC (and their world-wide partners) is going to love the version of 221B Baker Street Darius has created in Second Life; it really is a marvel to visit. The many touches within it will have fans of the show smiling happily (I know I was).

And if you need reminding of the appearance of the flat in the show, check the video at the end of this piece, courtesy of the BBC.

221B Baker Street; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Watson: “There’s a head in the ‘fridge!” Holmes: “Yessss…” Watson: “A bloody head!” Holmes: “Well, where else was I supposed to put it?” … what you might find in the kitchen-turned-Lab at 221B Baker Street (Flickr)

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Special update: It appears that Holmes and Watson, as portrayed by Benedict Cummerbatch and Martin Freeman in the BBC series will next be appearing in  … 1895! To find out more, and to understand the layered significance of this date, read the news on the BBC website!

With thanks to Darius Godric for his time, and to Berry for the invitation!

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