It's official: Sherlock Holmes is Britain's favourite television detective, according to a new poll that attracted thousands of votes.


As ITV prepares to launch a new programme dedicated to the best sleuths on our screens, we collated a list of TV's top ten detectives and asked our readers to pick their favourite.

In total, five thousand people cast a vote in the poll and the result is quite clear: Sherlock Holmes is Britain's favourite detective by a landslide, bagging more than 50 per cent of the votes.

Created by novelist Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, the character's enduring popularity is quite remarkable, most recently seeing reinvention under the pen of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss in BBC One's Sherlock.

Benedict Cumberbatch took on the title role, with Martin Freeman as trusted companion John Watson and Fleabag's Andrew Scott as bitter nemesis Moriarty.

Sherlock aired its fourth season in 2017, but it's unclear whether the series will be back for another outing, despite plenty of fans calling for a return.

Another icon of British literature took a distant second place, that being Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, played most famously on the small screen by actor David Suchet over a period of 14 years.

The character will step back into the limelight later this year for a feature film adaptation of Death on the Nile, which sees Kenneth Branagh portray Poirot for the second time.

Very close behind in third place, we have Line of Duty's AC-12, comprised of DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar).

Line of Duty, BBC Pictures

The gritty drama about corruption in the police force is one of the biggest shows on television, with roughly 13 million viewers tuning in to its most recent season.

Rounding out the top five, we have Midsomer Murders' Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) in fourth and Columbo took fifth place, which is particularly impressive as it hasn't aired a new episode in 17 years.

Trailing towards the bottom of the pack were Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Marcella (Anna Friel) from ITV's drama of the same name, who each shared just one per cent of the vote.

Here are the results in full:

  1. Sherlock - 57%
  2. Hercule Poirot - 9%
  3. Line of Duty's AC-12 - 9%
  4. DCI Tom Barnaby from Midsomer Murders - 7%
  5. Columbo - 5%
  6. Miss Marple - 5%
  7. Luther - 4%
  8. Broadchurch's Ellie Miller - 2%
  9. Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU - 1%
  10. Marcella - 1%

Fans of crime drama can catch another celebration of television detective work tonight, as ITV airs a special programme counting down the top 25 screen sleuths, narrated by Sheridan Smith.


Britain's Favourite Detective airs tonight at 8pm on ITV. If you're looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide.