Detective: Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock.

Detective: Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock.

Let's get one thing perfectly clear: there is no bad blood between Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. Indeed, Cumberbatch says, the two actors who play modern-day versions of Sherlock Holmes "adore each other".

They grew close when they starred together in Frankenstein on the London stage three years ago and, while Cumberbatch admits he got a shock when he heard Miller was going to play Holmes, they now enjoy watching each other's work (Cumberbatch in Channel Nine's Sherlock and Miller in Ten's Elementary).

"It's watching an actor I really like playing a part I really like and enjoy playing," Cumberbatch told The Hollywood Reporter.

Double act:  Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary.

Double act: Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary.

"No matter what bullshit the press has tried to whip up in the past, we're really good friends."

The same cannot be said for the writers and producers of the rival dramedies. In 2012, the producer of Sherlock, Sue Vertue, was furious when the CBS network announced it was doing Elementary. She told The Independent: "It's interesting, as they approached us a while back about remaking our show. At the time, they made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn't resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying."

The head writer for Elementary, Rob Doherty, didn't see a problem. "Most shows have a Sherlock in them. They just happen to be named someone else," he told an audience at Comic-Con. "Arthur Conan Doyle knew what he was doing."

Together: Cumberbatch as the Creature and Miller as Victor Frankenstein in the National Theatre of Britain?s staging of Frankenstein.

Together: Cumberbatch as the Creature and Miller as Victor Frankenstein in the National Theatre of Britain's staging of Frankenstein.

As it turned out, Elementary became a tight mainstream TV thriller with comic elements, while Sherlock has become a self-indulgent celebration of Cumberbatch's charisma, a gift for the fan club that calls itself "the Cumberbitches".

In the series now on Nine, we meet Holmes' parents (played by Cumberbatch's parents) and Dr Watson's sweetheart (played by Martin Freeman's real-life partner) and sit through slapstick scenes in which Holmes and Watson demonstrate their mutual affection, although not in a gay way, as Watson keeps assuring their landlady, Mrs Hudson.

What happened to the intriguing story twists that are part of Elementary? They are very much secondary to the boys' banter. Apparently, the co-creator of Sherlock, Steven Moffat, doesn't see plot as a priority. Moffatt told the audience at a BAFTA screening in London: "The fascinating thing about the Sherlock Holmes stories, if you go back to the original, [is] they're . . . weirdly paced, because the opening few pages of every single story – and it's the best bit – are just Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson chatting by the fireside. And eventually someone will turn up and they go off and have a case, but what upstages everything is those two characters all the time.

"It's not a detective show. It's a show about a detective. There's plenty of detection in it, but that's not what it's about – it's about the hero. It's the first example, really, of the main character being more interesting than the story."

That rather depends on how strongly you share the passion of the Cumberbitches.

Sherlock airs on Nine on Wednesdays at 8.30pm. Elementary resumes on Ten after the winter Olympics.

Closely watched

Michael Hutchence is not around to comment on the accuracy of the docudrama INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, but Chris Murphy, the mastermind of the band's success, is around as a co-producer of the mini-series, which proved a "scary experience" for Damon Herriman, the actor who played Murphy.

"It is very intimidating at first, meeting a character you are going to play," Herriman said from Los Angeles. "But I didn't want it to be an impersonation. I wanted to capture him enough, so people who knew him could say: 'I can see Chris in that'."

The trouble started when Murphy stood behind the camera watching the actors at work. "The first few days filming, when Chris was on set, that was a weird experience," Herriman says.

"I could see him in my peripheral vision and I was thinking: 'Oh man, I'm not sure this is a good idea, because I'm going to be self-conscious'."

Herriman says he asked Murphy if he would watch during rehearsals, not during filming, only to learn that he had hidden around a corner, and was still watching on the monitor.

But Herriman found Murphy's advice helpful in interpreting the dialogue, particularly in one scene, when Murphy learns that Rolling Stone magazine wants to do a cover photo that shows only Hutchence, without the rest of the band.

The script had Murphy saying: "Oh shit!", which Herriman delivered full tilt. Murphy said he was too loud, remembering: "I would have really internalised that, just thinking how I was going to tell the band. That was more of a contemplative 'Oh shit'." Herriman then reduced the volume.

By the end, he says, "I was really comfortable with it, and we became friends".

INXS: Never Tear Us Apart begins today at 8.30pm and concludes next Sunday at 8.30pm on Seven.

Slow progress

The United States version of Rake, showing on the Fox network immediately after American Idol, has been praised with faint damns by US critics. Apparently, the leading man is simply not as sexy as Richard Roxburgh.

According to Willa Paskin in Slate, Greg Kinnear is "a passable actor", but "does not project a strong sexual allure, and what he does project comes in the sexy accountant, sexy dad, sexy middle-manager range. He is not, in other words, in any way rakish."

The critic concludes: "One day, I fervently hope I will be able to write '. . . and the remake is vastly superior to the original', but today is not that day."

The Australian original, starting tonight, has a big advantage over the US version, in that it can make in-jokes about local politics. The last season opened with Cleaver Greene having sex in the back of a limousine with the blonde and beautiful Premier of NSW.

Producer Ian Collie says the new series opens with Greene starting a jail sentence and finding he is surrounded by old mates, including a former attorney-general of NSW.

Collie admits one character "might have been inspired" by Craig Thomson, and when Rake gets out of jail, "he finds Sydney awash with inquiries and royal commissions".

So there's no relevance to real life there.

Rake, season three, starts today at 8.30pm on ABC1.