Benedict Cumberbatch 'stays clear' of Sherlock fan theories ahead of new series

By Steve Holden
Newsbeat reporter


Benedict Cumberbatch says he tries to stay clear of fan theories and online conspiracies about Sherlock.

Ahead of the fourth series, the actor admits he loves how involved fans get in the BBC show but says he likes to keep his independence.

"I think I would be pretty affected by what I read or saw, so I stay clear of that," he says.

He and Martin Freeman return for three new episodes, starting on New Year's Day.

There are countless websites devoted to analysing the show's twists, reviewing episodes and predicting outcomes - but the actor says he doesn't delve too deep.

"I can't have too many voices and influences. I have to trust my directors and writers and actors to make what we're making.

"Reaction veers passionately in every direction with this subject and character. Some of that does get back to me - but hopefully that's the nicer stuff."

Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have written the opening episode of series four, named The Six Thatchers.

Benedict says the season is "darker than the previous three" and "goes to extremes".

"It tests the bounds of the relationships you've come to know and it redefines who those characters are.

"It starts off with a smile and gets dark as oil," he says with a smile.

He says he's also fully aware of #Setlock - the hashtag which fans use to let each other know where the series is filming.

"We're just ghosted wherever we go," he says.

"I think there are just very loud mouths in local councils and they feed back to kids and it grows like wildfire. It's very impressive the amount of people who go there."

image captionToby Jones plays Culverton Smith, the villain in series four

He says he fully embraces the level of fandom which is associated with the show, especially those who dress up.

"There's a lot of great cosplay that goes on. There's also a huge amount of admiration and excitement when we film on Upper Gower Street (the road in London which is used to replicate Baker Street).

image copyrightGoogle Maps
image captionUpper Gower Street doubles up as Baker Street

Whenever Benedict Cumberbatch is interviewed at the moment, there's the realisation that he can tell you a lot - without actually saying anything.

Being involved in the Sherlock and Marvel franchises (Doctor Strange) means his lips are permanently sealed when it comes to saying anything about his projects.

"It's been this way since the series began. I'm used to giving hollow answers which mean nothing apart from the sound of my voice. It feels like banging an empty drum."

image captionMycroft and Sherlock Holmes are looking worried again

As for the future of Sherlock, he says he was recently misquoted when some media said he implied that series four would be the finale.

"You have to see these three stories (in series four) to understand what I originally said, which was that it feels like something comes to a head in this series. That's not just false advertising.

"As we have always said, we never say never. Enjoy what's coming now, rather than what may or may not be coming in the future."

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