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Sherlock ditched for Watson in Coventry play

Published: 28 April 2022
Reporter: Steve Orme

Tim Marriott in Watson: The Final Problem

A Sherlock Holmes play, Watson: The Final Problem, which tells the story of Moriarty from the perspective of Dr Watson, is to be staged in Coventry.

Based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Watson: The Final Problem will be performed by Tim Marriott who played Gavin in seven seasons of the BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire. He has written the new play with Bert Coules.

The play features Watson telling a tale of “long-buried secrets, betrayal and death; a journey across Europe pursued by Moriarty, the Napoleon of Crime, and a deathly embrace at the Reichenbach Falls”.

Marriott said, “I was inspired to make this piece following a holiday where I’d walked up to the Reichenbach Falls and visited the spot where Sherlock Holmes famously fell.

“It struck me that Watson's own story was pretty dramatic. He was an Afghanistan War veteran, shot twice and a survivor of typhoid fever. By 1894, his beloved wife Mary had died and his great companion had fallen in Moriarty's deathly embrace at Reichenbach. Watson is an old soldier with a cracking tale to tell.

“But I was about to embark on a tour to Australia and then to the US, and I didn't know when I would find time to write the play. This was January 2020; I soon found that I had plenty of time to write.

“So I looked up Bert Coules, the BBC's head writer on the Sherlock Holmes radio adaptations, and asked for some help. Together we came up with a script, recorded it in lockdown as an audio piece and managed to stage it at the Edinburgh Festival last year where we were thrilled and amazed that it sold out and received tremendous reviews. We’ve since taken the play back into rehearsal to refine and refresh it.”

Watson: The Final Problem will be performed at the Assembly Festival Garden, Little Park Street, Coventry from Tuesday 10 until Saturday 15 May.