It’s been a long time between drinks, but Sherlock is finally returning to our screens in a one-off special on the big and small screen.
Set in London of the 1800s, the Abominable Bride will premiere January 2nd in cinemas across Australia and on streaming service, STAN.
It’s the first time that the show has not been set in the present day. Instead, creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gattis have turned to the world of Arthur Conan Doyle.
Moffat says it was an idea that they had been mulling over for a while.
“We’d wanted to go and do an authentic Victorian version, but thought well we can’t take up a while third of the series just doing that, that would be wrong. So, it had to be an additional thing”.
“I mean, if we’d made a three part series of Sherlock and one of them ‘didn’t really count’ then you’d feel cheated. So, as a result of having this special, you’re actually getting a little bit more of Sherlock”.
Taking the show back to the 19th century presented its own challenges and not just in physically recreating the time period. The show has made an art form of the storytelling, creating strong characters that don’t appear in Conan Doyle’s stories.
“The big thing, really, was the female characters because the women in our Sherlock talk a lot more than they do in Conan Doyle’s. For instance, Mrs Hudson doesn’t speak in the books– I think she’s got two lines of direct speech”
“Our Mrs Hudson has nothing to do with the original. I mean we have ‘national treasure’ Una Stubbs and we’ll whack her in front of the camera every single time we can, to the point that we actually forget that that’s an addition”.
“And we invented Molly Hooper entirely. There’s no equivalent – no one like her at all in the original. But again, you can’t not have her there. But how are you going to do that? How are you going to give them voices, when the story belongs to an era when they wouldn’t (talk).
We couldn’t do that. We couldn’t do ‘our’ show the way our show is in a Victorian setting, but we wanted to do an authentic Victorian Doyle. But when you see it, you’ll see what we did to handle that. But that was the challenge. That was biggest and most difficult thing”.
Following this one off special, Sherlock returns to the present day for a new series of three episodes. Filming is due to get underway in the new year.
As for the future, Moffatt is happy to keep writing Sherlock for as long as they can lock in Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, but recognises its becoming increasing difficult to find time in their work diaries.
“It will come down to the extraordinary and stratospheric careers of Benedict and Martin. Both of them are so busy. Finding time in their schedules. Especially when they’re both available”.
“As for material, well there are 60 stories and we’re making three episodes every 2 or 3 years. At the rate we’re going, there’s plenty of material”.
Sherlock - The Abominable Bride premieres on Stan Australia and in select cinemas on January 2nd