Tag Archives: Sherlock Special

Sherlock Special…an apology?

17 Mar

I was very interested yesterday to see that Steve Moffat has said that the Sherlock special is set entirely in Victorian London and is not a part of a three episode arc.  It is a stand alone story.

To me this is very interesting.  As I have said before, I am a Sherlock Holmes fan first, and a Sherlock fan second.  With that in mind, I have to tell you that I was deeply disappointed with series 3 of “Sherlock”.  I loved “The Empty Hearse”, but I disliked “The Sign of Three” and “His Last Vow” intensely.  Both episodes went too far off canon for my liking. Mary Morstan was NOT an assassin.  In season 2, Irene Adler as a dominatrix rather than an opera singer was clever.  Both professions are/were a little dodgy in their respective time periods.  But Mary Morstan as a ruthless killer for hire?  No, nay, NEVER!  Holmes disapproved of Watson’s marriage and did not attend the wedding.  He sure as shit didn’t arrange it or was best man.  Too far away from the originals for my comfort.  Way too far.  I am not the only Sherlockian to feel like this.

The only thing that saved “The Sign of Three” and “His Last Vow” was the friendship between Sherlock and John.  That was as strong as ever, and as it is the core of the canon, it went some way to redeeming both episodes in my eyes.  Not enough that I will willing subject myself to watching them again, however.

In my opinion “Sherlock” is starting to head into “Elementary” territory, ie, using the character names, but the characters don’t have the spirit of the originals.  Nothing more than a drama using well known characters, but not respecting the spirit of those characters.

I think Steve Moffat and Mark Gatiss are aware that they are now treading in dangerous waters.  Waters that could rise up and swallow them.

Hence the special.  A purely Victorian special. Something to make the hearts of all Sherlockians beat faster with excitement.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman bringing their special on screen chemistry as Sherlock and John to the more traditional Holmes and Watson.  From what we have seen from the setlock photographs, it is obvious that the special is something of a tip of the hat to past incarnations of the immortal duo.  Several shots I have seen recreate scenes from Granada Televisions wonderful adaptations staring Jeremy Brett and David Burke/Edward Hardwicke.  Other photos I have seen made me think of “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”, the Billy WIlder film staring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely that was one of the inspirations for “Sherlock”.  Indeed, the Mycroft of “Sherlock” is lifted lock, stock, and a cellar full of barrels, from the movie.

The special is a return to the roots of “Sherlock”.  To the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that captured the imagination of generations.

In light of this, I am wondering if the special is a form of apology.  An apology to the Sherlockians who came to “Sherlock” looking for a modern take on the icons, and were horrified by the direction season 3 took.

I can honestly say that I am looking forward more to the special than I am to season 4.

Sherlock in Gloucester – On a Bicycle?

22 Jan

I am absolutely fascinated by the photos coming out of Gloucester today.

Be warned.  I am about to speculate on one particular costume.  If you consider costume discussions spoilers then step away from this blog now.  Nothing for you to see here, move along, there’s a good chap…

Have they gone?  They have? Right…

Amanda Abbington’s costume both fascinated and delighted me.  The photos of her walking out of the cathedral with Benedict showed her wearing a very interesting costume.  She was dressed in a Victorian ladies’ bicycling costume.  The advent of the bicycle during the Victorian period created quite a vogue for ladies to take the air in a variety of only slightly scandalous attire.

It’s not the whiff of naughtiness around the costume that fascinated me, but rather the fact that I can think of only two Sherlock Holmes bicycle related things.  One is canon, involving the character Violet Hunter being followed when she cycles, but we are dealing with Mary Morstan here, NOT Miss Hunter.  The other is far more intriguing.

The movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely had a cycling scene.  Holmes, Watson, and Madame Valladon aka Ilsa von Hoffmanstal (Genevieve Page) cycling around the Scottish Highlands.

Given both Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat’s love of that movie, I am wondering if they are adapting that scene for Sherlock.

Amanda Abbington’s Mary Morstan has much more in common with Ilsa von Hoffmanstal than with Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.  His Mary was a brave, but put upon, young woman.  Gatiss and Moffat’s creation is an assassin.  Ilsa von Hoffmanstal was a spy.

Mark Gatiss has form for sneaking bits of “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” into Sherlock.  He had me damn near falling off my chair laughing when I watched “The Empty Hearse” after he gave Una Stubbs’ Mrs Hudson one of Irene Handl’s Mrs Hudson’s lines from the movie.

A sudden thought… they were shooting in a cemetery the other day… there is an excellent graveyard scene in “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” as well!!!

Time will tell what they are doing.  I do know one thing.  This synthesis of traditional Holmes/Watson and modern Sherlock is delighting me no end, before it even gets to the screen.

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.

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