Sherlock, The Abominable Bride
A special Victorian episode comes to BBC One for New Year's Day
Interview with co-creator and executive producer, Mark Gatiss
From the point that we fell in love with Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in their original incarnation, the whole idea of making it 21st-century was what became the exciting new part of it. But obviously, to do it with gas lamps and top hats and hansom cabs, as a full-on sort of Gothic treat is completely irresistible. Mark Gatiss
When did you first get the idea for a Victorian version of Sherlock?
The night that it first formed was when we were doing the publicity shots for series three. Me and Steven Moffat were out in the freezing cold night and we started to come up with it.
What happened when you told the rest of the team about the idea?
Well, when we pitched it to Benedict and Martin it was a very unusual situation because Rathbone and Bruce are the only people who have done both, until now. From the point that we fell in love with Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in their original incarnation, the whole idea of making it 21st-century was what became the exciting new part of it. But obviously, to do it with gas lamps and top hats and hansom cabs, as a full-on sort of Gothic treat is completely irresistible. This is our 10th one and it’s been an unbelievable international success. We thought we’d sort of earned the right really.
Did you have to persuade the actors?
No, hilariously, because Benedict’s been agitating for a haircut since the beginning of the show. So, we breathlessly pitched it as this ‘it’s 1895, we’ll just do it…’ We told him the story, the case and everything. He was sort of agog and then went “Can I have my hair cut?” That was it… that was easy. And Martin just loved the idea.
When you first started, you were asked how Sherlock would work in a world with emails and smartphones. How did you deal with technology going back in time?
We’re retro-engineering all the questions we got six years ago. How are we going to deal with it? The way that Doyle did! The point is, as we said when we were initially modernising it, Holmes was a modern man.
If you read the original stories, it’s all in there. For example there’s a telephone in Baker Street. He wasn’t living in an antique world - he wanted everything as quickly as possible
Sherlock has done very well around the world. Why do you think that is?
Sherlock Holmes is the most photographed character in all fiction, so, there’s a massive established tradition in Japan and Russia, all kinds of places already. So you’re sort of pushing an open door. I mean, if you knew why it did so well, you would bottle it and sell it, wouldn’t you, because whatever we have got right, the chemistry is just there on screen.
Search the site
Can't find what you need? Search here