Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes – first on-set image

Mr Holmes will see the retired detective troubled by an unsolved case and his own memory problems

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It may not star Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr, but thanks to Ian McKellen’s Mr Holmes we are definitely getting at least one Sherlock drama this year – and here’s a first glimpse of what it might look like.

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A newly-released image from the film shows McKellen’s retired Holmes at his countryside home talking to the amateur-sleuth son of his housekeeper – and it’s safe to say that the once quick and dapper detective is not quite the man he once was. 

Set in 1947, Mr Holmes has McKellen play a 93-year-old version of the sleuth, who now lives a quiet life keeping bees. But the allure of a 50-year-old unsolved case pulls Holmes back into the world of deduction – even as his mind is deteriorating with age.

Also starring Laura Linney and Hattie Morahan, the film will feature flashbacks to Holmes’s heyday in the early 1900s and his time journeying in Japan, and is based on Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind.

McKellen had previously offered a look at himself in character as Holmes in July 2014 – though sadly there’s no sign of a deerstalker (or cool Belstaff coat) in either image.

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The film is directed by Bill Condon, who has described it as “a really great mystery about who Sherlock Holmes is, but it’s also a lovely, delicate movie about what happens as you get older.” Mr Holmes will have its first screening at the Berlin film festival in February.