Today is Easter Monday and though I’m working as I have done every day so far this year, it seems like an apt time to make this post considering the time of year.
One of the nice things I like about running my own company is that I can do lots of things to help people in a wide variety of ways.
A few weeks ago I was approached by the offices of Richard Curtis. The first thing that came into my head was that I had unintentionally infringed on some copyright on my new Romcom Tour as like most people, I’m a fan of Richard Curtis though in my case particularly his long running 1980’s comedy BlackAdder.
As it happened however I wasn’t in any trouble and precisely the opposite, I was being approached to help organise and run a special Sherlock Tour for BBC Comic Relief for 2 lucky prize winners from the USA and one of the stars of the Sherlock TV show.
It was rather unexpected but one of those things that often seems to happen to me, it being just a few weeks earlier when I was approached to film a piece for an international news show on Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill due to my Churchill Walk and War Rooms Tour.
I immediately decided not to charge anything for the tour as once or twice a year I donate tours to charity fund-raising events and I knew if I were to charge anything then it would only take away money from those in need both in the U.K. and Africa.
The lucky prize winners had entered a competition where they would win breakfast with Benedict Cumberbatch and several other actors at Speedy’s, one of the key locations in the television show and then have a special tour which is where I came was to come in.
The hardest bit was to be the section of the tour at 221B Baker Street, the iconic museum house in the home of the Victorian sleuth. They are always bursting with tourists and very busy and understandably it is hard to get special allowances made. The official organisers had been trying for a while to get somewhere with them as taking a Sherlock actor and prize winners into Sherlocks actual house would be a bit of a logistical nightmare with hundreds of albeit very friendly fans around.
To the astonishment of all, one very nice and friendly email from moi and we had the keys to the house and we were given permission to miss out on the entrance line that could at times be anything from 10 minutes to well over an hour long.
It was a little bit of a nervous morning beforehand as everything was on a time-table which understandably slipped as events unfolded as the breakfast was going so well but around 11am in the morning a big black car pulled up at 221B Baker Street.
Out jumped the two prize winners I expected but then not one but two actors from the show. All went very much to plan and Paul from the museum was kind enough to give a splendid introduction for the first room of the house. From then on we had the house pretty much to ourselves.
Being a Sherlock fan myself, it was quite a thrill and both the actors were very friendly and into it. We had quite a laugh as we looked at photos on the wall of Victorian criminals, one of whom looks rather like Arnold Swarzenegger or John Malkovich only with longer hair and a smarter fashion sense. At one point we all posed for photos and the actors took a selfie and they laughed when I said it was harder to take a selfie with a gas lamp for lighting! I finally got to play with the Victorian police truncheon, handcuffs and other things.
It was a little surreal giving a Sherlock tour in the Sherlock museum house to actors who play roles in the official television show. I remember watching Una Stubbs when I was about 3 years old in the 1970’s even with my Grandparents and not only did she want to know everything about everything but she had enjoyed her time at Speedy’s so much that she had gate-crashed the tour too.
Louise Brealey was so lovely and we joked all the way round, she is a very nice and friendly lady and I’m a fan of many of her shows, I should say all of her shows!
We were in 221B Baker Street for about 40 minutes as there was a time-table to stick too and I didn’t want to bore the actors whilst I was also aware there were several dozen visitors exploring the house room by room as we moved ever on upwards.
I was as professional as possible but very glad to have a few photos taken, including this one above and every thing filmed and photographed as we went round which was interesting.
Afterwards some of us went off to Bloomsbury where I did a small section of my Sherlock locations tour. The prize winners were lovely people and enjoyed every moment, I don’t think they could believe their luck and the two ladies from the studios were wonderful too.
Afterwards I went to see my friend Chris, the owner of Speedy’s and had a much deserved cold drink as I waited to meet a friend from Germany who I’d met 2 years earlier when she had booked my Sherlock tour.
To think when I started the Sherlock Tour, I didn’t think anyone would really want to do it at all. Like many if not most of my tours, my tours through Ye Olde England Tours were and still are quite unique, although since the profligacy of the internet, you do get quite a few pale-imitations trying their luck. However being chosen to give such a special Sherlock tour by Richard Curtis, the BBC and Comic Relief for such a good cause and with he wonderful actors then that probably makes me almost as official as anyone can get.
Hopefully I played a small part in raising what I’ve heard is a huge amount of money and I had a great day myself and I thank Louise, Una and everyone else for that and for the team at 221B Baker Street.
You can see a little bit of the filming locations of Sherlock and how they are where they are in my video below.
If you want to go on the first and best Sherlock Walking Tour of London based around the BBC Sherlock show but also some of the old and new movies and places relating to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle then do let me know!