Stephen Fry sadly cannot be with us at Undershaw tomorrow as he is in America but he has issued the following statement for the press:
"To Whom it May Concern,
There has never been a time when Conan Doyle has gone out of fashion or interest in him, his ideas and his creations has dropped far off the public radar. But there has certainly never been a time when he has been more keenly appreciated and valued than now.
I have contributed to three documentaries on Doyle and Holmes, two of them in the last year. One of the most successful films of this year was a Sherlock Holmes adaption: a global blockbuster of enormous proportions that is spawning a whole major Hollywood Holmes franchise.
Julian Barne's Arthur And George was one of the most successful books of the decade. The BBC are planning a huge new series based on an updated Sherlock Holmes. And at this time now ...Undershaw is to be retitled Underthreat. Surely we can all see that this is a disastrous mistake?
As Patron of the Conan Doyle library, as a former youngest member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, as an admirer of Doyle and his achievements I urge Waverley Borough Council to reconsider what future ages will adjudge a foolish short-sighted and wanton act of vandalism. There is real value in Undershaw. If it is thought about, it can attract new generations of tourists to the area, it can be an enormous source of local pride. Please, please, have another think."