Baron Gruner – The villain I want to see

It was recently revealed that BBC’s Sherlock was going to dust down Charles Augustus Milverton (albeit a slightly renamed version) to be Sherlock’s nemesis in series three. This was widely expected and hoped for and while I am not unhappy about this I would have preferred to see Baron Gruner make an appearance.

Anthony Valentine as Baron Gruner
I cannot explain my fondness (if that’s the right word) for Gruner although a lot of it rests with the excellent portrayal by Anthony Valentine (of Raffles fame) in the Granada series. Peter Wyngarde also gave a good performance as Gruner opposite Douglas Wilmer's Holmes in the 1960s but I found his portrayal to be more of the barely concealed psycho variety whereas Valentine’s Gruner was much more subtle and, in my opinion, sinister.

If he were to feature in the BBC series in the future it would be interesting to have him sink his, proverbial, fangs into Molly. Molly could become the Kitty Winter of the story which would give Sherlock a greater level of personal investment in the confrontation with Gruner.

Peter Wyngarde as Gruner

As for who would take the role of Violet de Merville…..we could speculate about that one.

Then, of course, we could look at who could play Gruner. I think Richard E. Grant would make an excellent Gruner if you bear in mind his performance as Stapleton in the 2002 BBC version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Then again his portrayal could possibly end up being closer to Wyngarde than Valentine.

My current idea, and I admit, it is a bit "out there", would be to have David Tennant play Gruner. His “ladies man” credentials are firmly established courtesy of Casanova and I think he would be an excellent Gruner.

The next Gruner?

Please, Messrs Gatiss and Moffat – make it happen. Pleeeeeeaaasssssse!

Written by Alistair Duncan
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  1. Perhaps they'll pick him up for the fourth series.

  2. By the time the forth series happens (2016 or 2017, given the trajectories of Cumberbatch and Freeman's careers--it's just head-spinning to contemplate) there maybe some other sexy-bad-boy-with-gravitas actor out there unthought of to bring his snake-oil charm as Gruner. I very much like your idea of having him setting his sights on Molly, making it personal for Sherlock and the audience.

    1. Well I'm pleased it's not just me that thinks it's an idea with some merit. Let's keep our fingers crossed.


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