VICTORIAN SECRETS
SFX|March 2021
HENRY LLOYD-HUGHES AND ROYCE IERRESON ARE HOLMES AND WATSON IN NETFLIX’S FRESH TAKE ON ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’S CHARACTERS. BUT THE REAL STARS ARE THE FIVE FRESH-FACED 20-SOMETHINGS PLAYING IRREPRESSIBLE URCHINS
JAMIE TABBERER

GLORIOUS SUNSHINE floods a stately home, so huge and labyrinthlike it feels like a historic town surrounded by acres of manicured lawns – and hidden somewhere inside is a set for Netflix’s new Sherlock Holmes-inspired show, The Irregulars.

Today, SFX is visiting Wentworth Woodhouse, a country house near Rotherham. Given the streaming giant’s strict secrecy protocols, we’re surprised to find that the building is still open to the public, with little old ladies and kids milling around the cafe and gift shop. There’s a pang of disappointment. The operation must surely be small in scale for these day-trippers to be so blissfully unaware that TV’s next sensation might be being made around the corner?

So we’re ill-prepared for what happens next. We walk deep into the building, through meandering corridors and locked doors, and out into a muddy, nondescript alley. Jumping across puddles and turning a corner, and with the word “action” and a genuine fright, we’re greeted by a chaotic Victorian London street, engulfed in movement and noise. People, dogs, and horses run this way and that; an equine scent fills the nostrils. Horses, we later discover, identify each other by their smell – which doesn’t seem surprising.

An extra spots us and flashes a grotesque yellow smile, full of missing teeth. We spy whimsical posters for straitjackets and shaving powder. (“Shave your corpse without a razor!”) It really is the most irregular of experiences.

PARTY OF FIVE

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories, the Irregulars were a group of scrappy street boys employed by Holmes as agents. In show creator Tom Bidwell’s version – which adds a supernatural twist – they’re fully fleshed-out characters with backstories, and two of the five (“the main characters”) are girls.

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