The real sibling rivalry that inspired ‘Sherlock’

Sherlock Holmes and his older brother, Mycroft, don’t always see eye to eye.

The core of the BBC’s “Sherlock” is the bromance between Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman). But the new season, which begins airing Jan. 19 on PBS, places near-equal emphasis on the prickly relationship between Sherlock and his older brother, Mycroft Holmes, played by Mark Gatiss.

That’s no coincidence: Gatiss, who also co-created “Sherlock,” says he based the bullying but protective Mycroft on his own big brother.

The writer-actor grew up in Northern England with a brother, Phillip, who was three years older and frequently tormented him. The two would band together in fights at school, but at home, Phillip would pummel Mark. “We only stopped hating each other recently,” Gatiss told the Daily Mail. “We never had anything in common. He was painfully shy and found his expression in lashing out at people.”

So what finally brought Mark and Phillip, who’s now a mail carrier, back together? Gatiss has a role on the upcoming season of “Game of Thrones,” which happens to be his big brother’s favorite show. Let that be a lesson to all siblings who aren’t as close as they should be: Life is short. We need each other. Get cast on “Game of Thrones.”


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