Transmedia Storytelling in Sherlock

Written by Huiyuan Zhou (Bridget)

Transmedia narrative can be seen as part of the convergence culture and remediation according to Henry Jenkins. As The Matrix was described as an example of transmedia storytelling, he stated that “transmedia story unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole”. (Jenins, 2010) While Sherlock Holmes has proved to be one of the longest lasting narrative stories, it is significant to find out how the narrative has been adapted in terms of content and platforms.
Sherlock (2010), a new profound adaption TV series from this classical novel and produced by BBC, brought the charming detective to the stage in 21st century London. Therefore, Mr. Holme’s methods of detection used during cases have been distinctive to that of the original book, which was based on traditional elements such as fingerprints, typewritten documents, handwriting, footprints, ciphers, and dogs. (O’Brien, 2013)
sherlock-holmes-search_550Although most of these elements are presented in the TV series as well, the writer for Sherlock (2010) introduced the characters into the Internet world and made this legend figure an ‘online celebrity‘, which make the story more believable.


Sherlock became a ‘net phenomenon’ in BBC’s adaption

For example, Sherlock has been writing his own website – The Science of Deduction and the each case that are solved by Sherlock and Watson in the series can actually refer to John Watson’s blogs, which are equally popular within the narrative world. In some degree, these blogs are even driving the storyline forward. Even Molly Hopper who is one of the female characters in the show has her own website. Written by the production team, these websites and blogs are essential elements for the narrative world and proved to be a success on haunting the audience into the narrative.

Here is a video that pick some of the best TV or films adapted from Sherlock Holmes since last century.

From books to drama to films to games to online blogs, Sherlock Holmes and his story have continued evolving as a transmedia work. As O’Brien (2013) stated, it has experienced major successes in every single platform. Its continuous and ever-growing popularity over the past two centuries show how highly regarded the narrative is considered in relation to transmedia strategies, techniques and correct implementation, demonstrating that “successful transmedia worlds (can) exert a powerful effect over fans” (Schell, pg.303).

Jenkins, H. (2010). Convergence culture. 1st ed. New York: New York University Press, pp.95-96.
O’Brien, J. (2013). Six methods of detection in Sherlock Holmes | OUPblog. [online] OUPblog. Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2017].
003: THE BBC’S SHERLOCK, TRANSMEDIA FROM INCEPTION. (2017). Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2017].
Schell, J 2008, “Art of Game Design: a Book of Lenses”, [ONLINE], Available at:, [Accessed 02 June 2011]

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