Tag Archives: Martin Freeman

Fan Is Short For Fanatic

8 Sep

Once again we are reminded that the word “fan” is an abbreviation of the word “fanatic”.

I refer to the blogger who posted images of baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire online and made death threats against Amanda Abbington and Martin Freeman.

The fan blogger in question is, allegedly, a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch’s.  I say allegedly.  Because, frankly, in my opinion, such behaviour shows that the person has no real love or respect for him, because if she did, then she would not threaten his friends and co-workers!

One of the things that really pisses me off about incidents like this is that all of Benedict’s fans get painted with the same brush of lunacy.  This is one of the reasons I refuse to be drawn too deeply into Sherlock fandom, and why I refuse to accept the label of “fangirl”.  I barely survived the NCIS fandom, and frankly, the TIVA fanatics have nothing on the lunatic fringe of the Sherlock fandom.

Thankfully, the majority of Sherlock fans are intelligent, sensible, lovely people, a number of whom I have met and like enormously.  There is, however, the very small minority, to which this person obviously belongs, that has me shrieking and looking for a very tall tree to climb!

Actors and other public figures have to put up with a lot of shit.  They tend to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune more than the average person in the street.  What they should NOT have to suffer is the baseball bats and barbed wire of outrageous fruitbats!

Sherlock: Chronicles

14 Dec

“Sherlock: Chronicles” by Steve Tribe is an in depth guide to seasons 1 to 3 of the BBC production “Sherlock” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

However, the book isn’t simply for fans of the show.  Yes, it is aimed at the show’s fan base, but it is also a book for Sherlock Holmes aficionados.

This book has photographs of earlier portrayals of Holmes and Watson, such as Brett & Hardwicke, and Rathbone & Bruce.  There are also reproductions of a couple of Sidney Paget’s original illustrations.  For this Sherlock Holmes fan, the inclusion of photos from the 1970s movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely was the icing on the cake.

There are many excellent photos, a lot of them behind the scenes, which delighted the heart of this backroom geek girl.

There are deleted scenes from the episodes, and also, for the Sherlock Holmes fans, wonderful comparisons of scenes from the script juxtaposed with the original pieces from the stories on which the quoted scene was based.

The book is also threaded through with quotes and interviews with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat, Sue Vertue, Loo Brealey, Arwel Wyn Jones, et al.

The section on costuming was very interesting.  I was unaware just how much input both Benedict and Martin had had into Sherlock and John’s respective wardrobes.

Steve Tribe has created a book that will delight the fan girls, hold the interest of Sherlock Holmes fans, and absorb the geeks who love to know how things are done on television.  And trust me, there is a lot of “How We Did This Stuff”.  I found how they did the tube train scenes in “The Empty Hearse” particularly fascinating.

Highly recommended.

Happy Little Sherlockian

25 Nov

I am a happy little Sherlockian this morning.

Yesterday I arrived home from work to discover that I had a copy of the “Sherlock Chronicles” by Steve Tribe that the lovely Rebecca in England had purchased and sent to me.

I haven’t started to read it (yet), but did sit down to have a little flick through it.  And was immediately captivated by the photographs.  So many behind the scenes photos that I hadn’t seen before, as well as many gorgeous photos of Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and the others.  And not just Sherlock photos.  I spotted some from other things they had been in such as a photo of Benedict from “Frankenstein”.

The other thing I noticed is that the book also has photos of William Gillette, Jeremy Brett, and Robert Stephens, and copies of Sidney Paget’s original illustrations.  So the book promises to be a feast for Sherlockians, not just Sherlock fans.

As I keep having to point out to people, I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan first; a Sherlock fan second.  I adore Benedict and Martin’s portrayals, for me they are the closest to my ideal of, to me, literature’s greatest friendship.  But I will always love Robert Stephens’ Holmes (my first screen Holmes) and I adored Edward Hardwicke’s Watson.

Then this morning I came online to discover Twitter all abuzz with the news of the read through for the Sherlock special.

Words cannot express my delight at the photo of Benedict and Martin dressed as traditional Holmes and Watson that I also found all over Twitter.

Sue Vertue said the photo shows them as they will appear in the special, which raises some VERY interesting questions.  Is the special going to be divorced from the series and be set in the Victorian period with Benedict and Martin playing their character’s great-great-great grandfathers or uncles?

Is it a dream sequence?  Sherlock strung out on drugs dreaming of a time past?

A friend of mine, Angela, suggested the possibility of a Dickensian “Christmas Carol” type thing with Victorian Sherlock and John as the Ghosts of Christmas Past.

Or is it something as prosaic as the two men attending a masquerade party?

Whatever the outcome, my Sherlockian cup is overflowing… mostly with drool.

It’s A Small World

15 May

I was looking at my blog statistics this morning and my attention was drawn to the fact that someone from Tunisia has been reading my blog today.  Hello to my Tunisian reader.  I hope you enjoyed what you read and will return again. 🙂

I was inspired to go and look at the statistical breakdown of where my readers come from.  I was blown away by what I read.

Seeing as WordPress is an American site, it is no surprise that my largest readership of 2,223 views is from the United States.  My next four: United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand also make sense, as they are also countries where English is the principle language.  Yes, I realise Canada is officially bilingual.  Don’t be picky.

It was after this that I got truly mind blown.  It is humbling to think that people in countries like Kazakhstan, Nepal, Honduras, Moldova, and Iceland are reading my blog and enjoying it.  Mind you, maybe not enjoying it so much, as many of them have only visited once.  However, thank you all for coming, even the once.  It is a pleasure and an honour to get to talk to you from Australia.

I do wonder why people read my blog sometimes.  I know I have a lot of readership from Sherlock fans, and Sherlock fans are damn near a universal constant these days.  Not to mention Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman fans.  Oh, and Graham Norton fans, because not a day goes past when someone doesn’t arrive at my blog whilst searching for the elusive Graham.

But a lot of my blogs are on books I’ve read, typically Aussie things, and thoughts I’ve had.  It really does amaze me that people seem to find the meanderings of my mind both interesting and entertaining.

What I am trying to say is, thank you for reading, and for letting me reach out to you from my small part of the world to yours.

My Cup of Shakepearean Goodness Over-runneth.

6 Apr

Right now, as a Shakepearean fan girl of long standing, my cup not only over-runneth, it is in distinct danger of flooding every damn thing within reach.

A couple of weeks ago the news came out that Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing Hamlet at the Barbican in London next year.  When I saw the start date I damn near hyperventilated.  I WILL BE IN LONDON WHEN THE PLAY STARTS.  I will be busting my butt to get a ticket.  Hamlet is one of my favourite tragedies.  I try to see most productions I can access, be it live or on dvd.  I am jealously guarding a dvd of David Tennant’s performance that I managed to obtain a few months ago.  The idea of Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the doomed Danish prince makes me drool.  I am sure he will be fantastic.  He has the brooding looks I associate with Hamlet, and frankly, the thought of that dulcet baritone delivering Shakespeare’s most famous monologue is almost enough to make me declare Benedict my most favourite Hamlet without even seeing the show.  However, I am not a critic from a dodgy newspaper, so I will wait until I have seen the production to make such a pronouncement.  Besides, Benedict has big fish to chase down and beat.  Sir Derek Jacobi for example.  The aforementioned David Tennant.  I even have a soft spot for Mel Gibson’s Hamlet.  The Oedipal angst of his performance, with Glen Close as Gertude, was mesmerizing.

Then came the news last Friday that Martin Freeman will be playing Richard III this summer in the West End.  No chance of seeing that, but a small, faint hope that maybe, just maybe, they might film that production for dvd release, as was done with David Tennant’s Hamlet.  I can see Martin making an awesome Richard III.  Though the Daily Mail could have been a little more respectful in it’s headline announcing the news – “From Hobbit to Hunchback” struck me as a little demeaning to a wonderful actor.

And what do I find when I come online this morning?  I find that Benedict Cumberbatch is also playing Richard III.  This time it’s for BBC2’s “Shakespeare’s Histories” series.  Pretty sure they heard me screaming three suburbs away.

To have my favourite actors playing major roles in plays by my favourite playwright, is a pleasure I am not sure I can properly describe.  Shakepeare is magic.  The plays have delighted and captivated me since I was first introduced to them by my English teacher when I was 13.  He encouraged me to read them for pleasure, not just because I had to study them.  Mr Clarihew taught me to appreciate the language, the rhythm, and unfolded the treasures of the Bard before my delighted eyes.  George Clarihew gave me a jewel beyond price. 

Sherlock: The Empty Hearse

2 Feb

I received my Sherlock series 3 dvds last week, and settled down yesterday to watch the first episode “The Empty Hearse”.

I’ll state here and now that I was absolutely blown away by the episode for a hell of a lot of reasons.

Mark Gatiss’ brilliant script for a start.  It was a gorgeous balance of humour, drama, and whimsey.  Mark is a known fan of the Billy Wilder movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” and absolutely delighted me by popping one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite scenes in that movie seamlessly into “The Empty Hearse”.  I have to stay, Una Stubbs delivered the line with as much wealth of meaning as Irene Handl did. 

There is just so much to love about this episode, that I warn you now, this is probably going to be more a Sherlockian fan girl gush than a measured review.

The reunion scene with Sherlock and John was superb.  Martin Freeman deserves another BAFTA on the strength of that scene alone.  The mingling anger and pain gave the scene an intensity rarely seen in television performances.  It’s the sort of thing many lesser actors would save for a chance to win an Oscar.  Martin gives his best regardless.  And Benedict played to him perfectly.  Giving that scene to Martin.  An extraordinary gift from an extraordinary actor.

Amanda Abbingdon’s Mary Morstan is fantastic.  I loved her from her first appearance.

One of the best scenes in the episode, in my opinion, is the juxtaposition between John’s day and Sherlock’s day.  It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages.  Beautifully balanced and hysterically funny to watch. 

The bonfire scene is probably one of the scariest things I have seen in ages, even though I KNEW John would be okay, I was perched on the edge of my seat absolutely bloody terrified!  Though I can’t help but wonder if Mark Gatiss was having a little dig.  Anyone who knows the fandom knows that Martin Freeman is often likened to a hedgehog.  During the run up to Bonfire Night in the UK councils and animal welfare associations constantly remind people to check their bonfires for hedgehogs before lightening them!

Another thing about the bonfire scene.  I found myself remembering Moriarty’s words in “The Great Game”:  “I will burn you.  I will burn the heart out of you.”  John H. Watson has always been Sherlock Holmes’ heart.

The best thing about “The Empty Hearse” had to be the echos of other episodes.  The one that made me smile gently was the “It wasn’t working for me” line, first said by Molly in “A Study in Pink” about lipstick, and echoed by John about his moustache in “The Empty Hearse”.  Sherlock echos Mycroft’s line from “A Scandal in Belgravia” back at Mycroft.  It served to emphasize that “The Empty Hearse” is a new beginning for both Sherlock and his friends and family.

I loved the little bit of back story we got on Sherlock and Mycroft’s childhood and getting to meet their parents.  Played wonderfully by Benedict’s real parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton. 

There is also a sense of reversal of position with Sherlock and Mycroft.  In series 1 and 2, Sherlock was the lonely insecure one with no friends.  Now, he has the strength of friends around him to support him.  Mycroft is denying he is lonely, yet Sherlock sees through that for the bulldust that it is.  Sherlock has realised that Mycroft’s cant from “A Scandal in Belgravia” of “All lives end.  All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage”, is just plain wrong, and John’s insistence that friends protect, is indeed the truth.  This makes “The Empty Hearse” a lot deeper than it immediately appears.

Oh and how Sherlock survived the jump?  I loved the fact that 13 possibilities were mentioned.  The one Sherlock told Anderson was the most feasible.  For the purposes of my sanity I will ignore Anderson’s overly romantic version.  And I am definitely going to scrub the Sheriarty version from the walls of my Mind Palace!

But here’s the thing… did Sherlock actually tell Anderson what happened?  Was Sherlock even there?  Was it all in Anderson’s mind?  Because it become clear in that scene that Anderson has had some form of mental breakdown, possibly guilt induced, and is clearly certifiably insane.  Kudos to Jonathan Aris for that scene.  It was brilliantly done.

I can hardly wait to watch “The Sign of Three”.

A Fan Fiction Writer’s Opinion

16 Dec

I am about to shove in my two cents worth on the debacle at the BFI screening of Sherlock “The Empty Hearse”.

It is my considered opinion that springing explicit Johnlock fan fiction on Benedict and Martin, and expecting them to read it was pretty disgusting behaviour on the part of Caitlin Moran.  This is not the professional behaviour you expect from a journalist of Moran’s calibre.  It’s also a low, nasty trick to play on someone who is a friend.  Not funny.  In fact to pinch the Sherlock fandom’s favourite phrase, it’s a bit not good!

Of course Twitter and Tumblr reacted in their usual manner.  Firstly whining about the fan fic writer’s work being used without permission, then bashing Martin and Benedict for not wanting to read it!

Let’s look at the first one, shall we?  All fan fiction writers break copyright ever single damn time we post a story.  So don’t whine to me about stories being used without permission.  If Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat and the BBC really wanted to, they could make life extremely miserable for fan fiction writers.  Oh and those “disclaimers” so beloved of fan fiction writers actually mean diddly squat if BBC seriously decided to sue.

Many fan fiction writers seem to think that they are above the law and that the shows owe them!  Excuse me, has it occurred to you lot that you are actually stealing the character’s created by the hard work of others and then playing holy hell with them?  So many stories are so far removed from the characters that they are barely recognizable.  I try to keep the characters in character – which is why my stories can take a month to write.  Until I can hear every word being delivered in character by the actor in my mind, then to my way of thinking, it’s not proper fan fiction, it’s simply new characters dressed in old clothes.

And Johnlock is about as far removed from the true characters as is possible.  Neither Sherlock or John are gay.  Yes the show has homoerotic overtones, which are mostly used for comic leaven.  Not to be taken seriously.  Yes, I have written a little light Johnlock myself, though nothing explicit.  And this has only happened when the story I’ve been working on works best with that outcome.  I prefer the strong friendship that glows throughout all the episodes of the show.  The friendship that is the essence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works.

The second complaint about Martin and Benedict not being happy to read Johnlock fan fiction.  How the hell would you like it if you were an actor and you’d invested so much time and effort into bringing a character to life, to find people are happily bastardizing the character for their own amusement?  Think how Martin and Benedict must have felt.  Martin at least has read some Johnlock, I understand, Benedict I don’t think has.  Suddenly, you’re confronted with some pretty explicit writing that you’re expected to read out loud.  I’m actually surprised they didn’t just get up and walk off.  It says much for the grace and kindness of both men that they didn’t take their anger out on the audience.

Remember this when you write fan fiction or draw fan art.  We are privileged.  We are using the images of two REAL men who just happen to play characters, and they are mostly happy to allow us to do so.  Remember that the next time you feel the urge to whine about lack of respect to fans, be it writers or artists, or just the average fan.

Respect is earned not given as a right.  If you don’t respect the actors with your work and your attitude, why the hell do you expect anyone to respect you?

Martin Freeman on the Graham Norton Show

15 Dec

In the interests of fairness, I sat up and watched Martin’s appearance on the Graham Norton Show.  Well, I’ve sat up and watched Benedict Cumberbatch twice this year.

Martin is great value on the show.  He has a delightful presence and his dry comments added so much to the show, especially as Ben Stiller appeared not to know what the hell was going on.  However, as Graham Norton frequently has that effect on American guests, we can forgive him.  The other guest was Jamie Oliver, who was also great value.

One thing I cannot believe is that NO-ONE on the couch and NO-ONE in the audience knew the origin of Boxing Day.  For your information, Graham, Martin, Jamie and Ben – it is a particularly British institution arising from the habit of servants having to work Christmas Day making dinner, cleaning house etc.  On St Stephen’s Day, 26th December, the servants were mostly given the day off, and that was also the day they received their Christmas Box from their employer.  Hence, Boxing Day!  It’s a fairly old practice… wasn’t in practice when the British were exporting settlers to America, but well in place when the time came to settle Australia and New Zealand.  Both countries celebrate the Boxing Day public holiday.

Right, into the show.  Martin Freeman’s socks looked like he knocked them off a Christmas elf on Oxford Street.  I want them.  I adore loud socks.  I am a socks addict.

One gorgeous thing was Ben and Martin trying to one up each other over doing stunts.  Very funny to watch.

Ben Stiller’s comments on Martin not smiling in photographs prompted the comment: “He doesn’t even know me and he thinks I’m a miserable shit.” 

One of the funniest moments had to be Graham Norton talking about Martin’s internet fans saying he resembles a small woodland animal then trying to get Jamie Oliver to guess what one.  When Jamie came out with “Catweazle” I nearly had hysterics.  For those who have never see the show “Catweazle”, the title character was a grumpy, dirty, disgusting old wizard who accidentally magicked himself into the 20th Century and got stuck there.    Catweazle was a sort of anti-Gandalf.  The show was very popular during my childhood.

For those who don’t know – Martin has been compared to a hedgehog.  He takes it pretty well, but you can see it’s got old really fast for him.

One thing I do want to comment on is Martin’s reaction when someone says or does something stupid.  He has THE best “what-is-the-weather-like-on-your-planet” expression I have ever seen.

The other hysterically funny moment came when Graham showed a fan video “Jamie Oliver Talks Dirty” with snippets of footage from Jamie’s shows packaged together to make one of the most innuendo laden things I have seen in years.  Poor Jamie was so embarrassed, and Martin was nearly hysterical with laughter.

All in all, it was an excellent show, and I am glad I sacrificed my sleep for it.

Second Trailer For The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

1 Oct

Came online this morning to find a friend had posted a link to the second trailer for the second Hobbit movie: The Desolation of Smaug.

Hello two minutes of meltdown.  And I mean meltdown.  It’s either extremely cute or extremely pathetic that a movie trailer can reduce a woman over forty to a squealing mess.

Martin Freeman is the perfect Bilbo Baggins.  He looks like how I mentally pictured Bilbo when I first read the Hobbit when I was 10 years old.  He looks fantastic in the trailer, and I am really looking forward to seeing this movie.  Mostly for the interactions between Bilbo and Smaug.  Having watched Martin and Benedict work together in Sherlock, I am keen to see how they interact as different characters.  Will the chemistry be as keen between them?  I think it will.  If you remember the book, the scene between Bilbo and Smaug is one of the most captivating in the entire book.  The trailer gave delicious hints of what this scene will be like.

The last few moments of the trailer, which gave us those delicious hints, reduced me to a quivering heap of jelly.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug.  His voice.  It’s like there was an earthquake in his vocal chords.  He sounds like nothing I have heard him do before.  It’s been tagged the CumberRumble on the internet and I have to agree. 

I thought Benedict’s voice couldn’t get any deeper, growlier, or sexier than the Angel Islington.  I was wrong.  By all the Gods of Love was I wrong!  Benedict’s Smaug voice, at close range, would cause complete underwear destruction.  Mostly likely by spontaneous combustion.

Excuse me, I need to go extinguish my knickers.

Murder and Mendelssohn

29 Sep

Picked up (ie snatched from the display stand and raced to the counter in a high state of excitement) the brand new Kerry Greenwood novel “Murder and Mendelssohn” on Saturday.  This book is the 20th novel starring the Hon. Phryne Fisher, fashion plate and private detective, set in 1920s Melbourne.

In “Murder and Mendelssohn” the conductor of a choir about to perform Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” is found murdered.  Detective Inspector Jack Robinson is uncomfortable with the world of music and songsters, and asks Phryne to investigate.

Meanwhile, Phryne’s old friend Dr John Wilson is in town with his dear friend, Rupert Sheffield, who is presenting a lantern lecture on “The Science of Deduction”.  Someone wants Rupert dead, and John turns to Phryne for help to keep the love of his life alive. 

If the topic of the lecture sounds familiar to “Sherlock” fans, you would be correct.  John Wilson and Rupert Sheffield are partly based on Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch’s John and Sherlock.  I say partly, as they are not merely John and Sherlock renamed and transported back to the 1920s.  They are distinctly different characters, with interesting and quite horrific back stories.  And Rupert is a bigger arse than Sherlock has ever been.

I really hope that John and Rupert return in future books.  I would love it too, if Kerry would write them a book of their own.  John and Rupert are too good to only have in one book.  They deserve a series of their own.

Kudos to anyone who spots the throw away “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” reference.  It had me giggling.

“Murder and Mendelssohn” also has THE weirdest bedroom scene I have ever read in any book EVER.

I only had one small niggle.  I wasn’t happy with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, he seemed to be out of character quite a bit in the story.  It jarred.  Especially when he appeared to be flirting with Phryne, which is something our pillar of rectitude detective just would not do.

Make sure you read the Author’s Notes at the end.  Kerry’s notes are often worth the price of the book alone.  Her comments on BBC “Sherlock” are enough to warm the heart of any fan of Benedict and Martin.

“Murder and Mendelssohn” is a wonderful addition to the Phryne Fisher canon.  It is a treat for the dedicated Phryne fan, but because it touches on a lot of the back story from other books, it is also a suitable introduction for anyone who wants to explore the world of Phryne Fisher.

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