Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Scottish writer best known for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle fictionalised the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire) The Sherlock Holmes stories were published in The Strand magazine in the 1890s.
Henry Gordon Jago believed that his escapades with Professor George Litefoot were their inspiration, (AUDIO: Jago in Love) while Walter Simeon believed that Vastra and Jenny Flint were the true inspiration for the stories. (TV: The Snowmen)
Doyle trained and received a degree from the same medical school as his friend James (John Watson). During this time, James realised that literature was where Doyle would truly be distinguished. (PROSE: Prelude All-Consuming Fire)
In 1880, Doyle aided the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith, though the Doctor suspected that they might have met before. (PROSE: Evolution) Indeed, the Second Doctor had had an earlier adventure with Doyle and referred to him as an "old friend." (PROSE: The Murder Game) The Doctor later claimed that he gave Doyle the idea for Holmes when he showed him his tricks of observation and deduction. (PROSE: Island of Death)
In 1893, his father died and, shortly afterwards, his wife was diagnosed with terminal consumption.
Feeling the need to focus on what was important in life, Conan Doyle wrote The Final Problem in which he killed off the character of Sherlock Holmes. It first appeared in the Christmas issue of The Strand on 25 December 1893. (AUDIO: The Monstrous Menagerie; PROSE: The Bodysnatchers)
Shortly afterwards, in 1894, he was told by the Doctor to meet with Jago and Litefoot. Together, they encountered time travellers named Laura Lyons and Roger Baskerville from the 63rd century. During this encounter, he was convinced to write more Sherlock Holmes stories, including The Hound of the Baskervilles.
His non-Sherlock Holmes work included the historical novels Micah Clarke and The Stark Munro Letters. In 1894, he was considerably more proud of these works but gained a new appreciation for his Holmes stories after learning that they would be remembered in the 63rd century. In contrast, Micah Clarke and The Stark Munro Letters were long forgotten. (AUDIO: The Monstrous Menagerie)
As a doctor, he accompanied Redvers Fenn-Cooper on an expedition to observe giant reptiles which resembled dinosaurs, though at first he had trouble believing they existed. The implication is that this would be an inspiration for The Lost World. (TV: Ghost Light)
Behind the scenes Edit
- Both All-Consuming Fire and Evolution correctly identify Doyle as his surname. Ghost Light and Small Worlds refer to him as Conan Doyle. Ripper's Curse uses the hyphenated Conan-Doyle.
- Jack Harkness implies in TV: Small World that such a hard-minded sceptic would have trouble accepting the Cottingley fairy photos. In reality, by the time of the Cottingley fairy hoax, Doyle fully embraced a belief in the existence of the supernatural and literally believed in fairies.
- PROSE: All-Consuming Fire begins with a famous quote from a cable from William Gillette, Sherlock Holmes actor and playwright during Doyle's time, to Doyle regarding the Sherlock Holmes play he was writing, followed by Doyle's response.
- Gillette: "May I marry Holmes?"
- Doyle: "You may marry or murder or do what you like with him."