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Linda Pritchard Sherlock Jeremy Brett interview

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THE THOUGHTS OF LINDA PRITCHARD


Our site is greatly honoured: Linda Pritchard kindly agreed to give us an interview via email. You can read it below. The introduction was written by Revati and she contacted Linda, while SherlockExtra wrote the list of questions. Our sincere thanks to Linda for her generosity and cooperation.

Fans of Jeremy Brett know very well that Linda Pritchard became his friend and later his partner. Her love and support was vital for the actor. But perhaps fewer people know how they met.

In 1981 Linda heard about Terry Fox and his heroic achievement. It encouraged her to run the London Marathon in 1987, and afterwards she began to prepare to a much greater distance. Linda’s aim was to make aware to cancer as many people as possible and to collect money for cancer research. Her project was named Keep Alive Hope and she collected for Imperial Research Fund (which changed its name to Cancer Research UK in 2002). Before starting the long run, Linda tried to find sponsors – she wrote many people, and one of them was the actor Jeremy Brett. The two met in Richmond in 1989. It was unbeknowst to Linda that Jeremy’s wife, Joan died of cancer, that is why he was so deeply touched by her plans. He helped raise some money in the theatre and popularizing the run.

Linda began the run on the 12th of April 1989, and the project finished on the 8th of November the same year. She run 4000 miles around the coast of the United Kingdom. She collected more than forty thousand pounds. Congratulations!

Sherlockian Holmesian

INTERVIEW WITH LINDA, Jeremy Brett's friend and partner

Jeremy Brett

How are you? Are you happy? How do you usually spend a day?

Yes I am very well and happy with my life in Devon, which is on the South West Coast of England. My day is spent caring for my mother who has early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Although she is forgetful there are lots of things she is still capable of doing for herself. We enjoy walks by the sea and visiting towns and villages nearby. Occasionally we visit London, which is where we were born. It is still a great place as there is so much to do and all the ‘must see’ places are a short distance away.

Jeremy’s which characteristics did you like the most (thinking about the ordinary man, not the actor)?

Jeremy’s sense of humour was the most adorable attribute. He always made me laugh even when life was difficult for him. Also the way he laughed was so engaging. What I also loved about him was that he was a great story teller. Whether he was talking about his early life growing up, or playing a part in a film or theatre. He had a great presence too. People wanted to listen to him when he spoke and he could keep a whole audience of people interested in what he had to say.

What do you think, which were Jeremy’s greatest artistic features?

If you are talking about his acting. It was his ability to make a scene mesmerising. He held your attention even if he did not utter a word. In a scene in, The Resident Patient he didn’t speak for ages but I found myself enthralled by his acting. Jeremy is also a scene stealer. Another actor can be talking but it is still Jeremy you find yourself looking at. His mannerisms are brilliant so you dare not take your eyes off him. This is why I so enjoyed watching him act. He spoke volumes without talking simply by using a sideways glance, a curl of the lip, or a raised eyebrow. There are a very few actors in the world that has this ability.

Which is your favourite Granada Sherlock Holmes episode and why?

That is a difficult one because there are so many excellent episodes. But I do like the Musgrave Ritual as Jeremy is so hilarious in it. I find myself laughing out loud when he laughs and when he starts counting out the steps from the Ritual I find myself laughing even louder. There is a lot of the real Jeremy in many of the amusing scenes in Sherlock.

Which episode was Jeremy’s favourite?

I think there were many favourite episodes and many favourite scenes, but he did mention, The Norwood Builder as one he really enjoyed doing.

In which non-Sherlock role did you like Jeremy the best?

Number 10 when he played William Pitt the Younger. But I haven’t seen everything he has done so I am sure there would be something else I would enjoy too. To be truthful, I like watching him in whatever part his played. I would have loved to have seen him in Dracula.

UK COAST RUN Jeremy Brett books

You can have a look at Linda's site and books here: ukcoastrun.com

We would like to apologize, because when reading on the net that you publish the umpteenth book about Brett we thought this was only about money – we are so sorry for that. Holmes teaches us not to have prejudices and urges us to collect enough information before we form our opinion. But at that time your books were inacessible for us and the series was already finished….We think the latter deceived me the most, and maybe this was the situation for others as well, nowadays so many things are over-emphasized – we mean television series that are shot because of earning large sums of money, though the story and the characters are already shallow. Somehow we got used to the fact that everything is about the money, that incomes are more important than quality. So that is why it is not our first thought that a truly creative mind has to be behind all these high quality books. But thanks to your site we were able to virtually look inside your books. They really are of high standard, it shines out that they were made advisedly and with lots of love. Reading just the excerpts was an enormous joy.

Sadly Jeremy’s memory is not treasured that way he deserves it, but these books are the perfect examples of how to remember someone who made so many people’s lives much happier. We do believe that your books are interesting for everybody. You can always offer new little details, and being able to do that you have to think a lot about your topic. May we ask what are the things that inspire you?


Please believe me when I say I made no money from the books whatsoever. They are ‘print on demand’ books and that is why they cost more to buy. Even I have to buy the book if I want a copy. I really wanted to make it cheaper, but the only way to do that is to print a large amount of books at once and that is a huge financial risk. If all the books are not sold, I would be financially worse off. Also the time spent making the books took days and weeks out of my life and nearly made me ill. Spending too much time on a computer is not healthy. The original idea for the books were to just make them for myself, then I realised that other people might want them too and so I allowed the books to go on sale to the general public.

What inspires me is the interest and love people still have for Jeremy. It is wonderful, and he has left us with a wonderful legacy with his Sherlock Holmes. It will never be bettered as Jeremy’s Sherlock is so much like the original character in the Conan Doyle stories. However, I do like the Benedict Cumberbatch version of Sherlock, but Jeremy will always be my best Sherlock.

We also looked inside your quotes book. Some may say collecting quotes isn’t a big thing, you just have to surf on the net. But reading quotes in a wonderful book is a totally different thing. The pleasant design gives us the chance to get out of our everyday hurry and spare some time to the familiar Doyle quotes and to contemplate on them. There’s only one quote per page so it is easy to focus on it. We think every quote could be the topic of Sherlockian club meetings, they are so manifold and offer so much. You gave us a true, precious gift. What sorts of feedback did you get from readers? Which gave you the most joy?

Again I intended to have this book just for me because I adore all those quotes and instead of searching for them I wanted them all in one place. But then I thought someone else might want the book too and allowed it to go on sale. Again I wish it was cheaper to buy but I do not control the prices, Blurb (the book printers) does. I only add a few extra pounds to cover the time spent making the book and to help pay for my gas and electric bills.

The feedback I got from readers was that they appreciated having books to remember Jeremy by as there are so few. So that gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Just like Sherlock Holmes or Jeremy Brett, you are also very steadfast in your work. We know how much you run to help those fightong with cancer. There are too few people who are so helpful, and you accomplished your plans. Your books also prove that you took the take to do something you think is important. We are really grateful because you paid tribute to another fantastic actor, Edward Hardwicke, who died of cancer as well…. Sadly nowadays persistence is quite rare, but many people wish for it. Could you give them some advice?

I was both shocked and saddened when I read Edward Hardwicke died of cancer. He was an incredibly nice man and very generous with his time. Also he was always the perfect gentleman. Words cannot express what a great person he was. His wife Prim is also a delightful person and my thoughts and feelings go out to her. I just wish the scientists who are looking for a cure for cancer would get a move one. This disease has been around for far too long and billions have been raised around the world to find a cure. Let us hope the scientist gain the knowledge they need very soon.

I read once that, ‘You are never given an idea without also being given the power to make it come true.’ In other words, if you have a dream or an idea then you have the capabilities to make it happen. Believe in yourself and go and achieve. Don’t let others say it cannot be done. They may not believe because they have made up their minds that ideas and dreams have limits. Limits are chains that need to be broken. Unchain yourself and you will be surprised what you can achieve in life.

You were the partner and friend of Jeremy, who was a very sensitive artist. He also suffered from serious illnesses for a long time. We understand that the love and respect you felt for him gave you strength in hard times. But what could you advise to someone who works with an artist?

You need to have a lot of understanding of the importance of their work. When they work it is all consuming so don’t expect them to be thinking of you when they are doing their job. You have to be self sufficient in your own life and give them the time to do their job. To be a great Artist of any kind means you have to be single minded and nothing must get in your way if you are going to make fantastic work.


We would like to say again how grateful we are for Linda Pritchard's kindness.
We wish her and her mother all the best and lots of joy.

Date: 21/11/2014
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You can have a look at Linda's site and books here: ukcoastrun.com

UK COAST RUN Jeremy Brett books


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