Sherlock Redbeard mystery has shades of Citizen Kane about it

The revelation that Redbeard is a dog contains more than a hint of Orson Welles's classic movie, says Paul Jones


Spoiler alert – I’m about to reveal the ending of a 70-year-old film.


Why? Because Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane has something in common with tonight’s Sherlock finale.

The central enigma of the 1941 movie is the meaning of the final word whispered by newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane right before he dies. It turns out that “Rosebud” is the name of the beloved wooden sledge he owned as a child, and represents the only time when he was truly happy.

In last week’s episode The Sign of Three, Sherlock fans heard an enigmatic reference to “Redbeard” from the detective’s brother Mycroft. Sherlock’s response: “I’m not a child any more.”

And then, in tonight’s finale, we discover that Redbeard was in fact Sherlock’s beloved pet dog and is the happy place he chooses to return to in order to prevent himself from going into shock after having been shot.

So. A childhood memory of a happier time. A revelation of a mysterious name. And last, but perhaps not least, a very similar word.

“Rosebud.” “Redbeard.”

I’m guessing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is not the only one who’s influenced Sherlock writer Steven Moffat…

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