Sheer love for sleuths

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

ONLY a hand­ful of episodes have been made and fans wait years be­tween sea­sons, but this Bri­tish crime drama is one of the most pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion shows in the world.

Sher­lock tells the tale of the famed Bri­tish char­ac­ters in a mod­ern set­ting, with Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch play­ing quirky de­tec­tive Sher­lock Holmes and Martin Free­man as his loyal as­sis­tant and flat­mate Doc­tor John Wat­son.

Here are some things you may not known about the Bri­tish crime drama.

1 IT MADE A CAFE FA­MOUS

Just a short walk from Eus­ton sta­tion in Lon­don’s in­ner north, you’ll find Speedy’s Sand­wich Bar – a fairly unas­sum­ing cafe with a dis­tinct red awning. Since Sher­lock, the eatery is now a must-visit desti­na­tion for fans from around the world. It is, of course, a favourite haunt of Holmes and Wat­son. It’s just down­stairs from the de­tec­tive’s flat – the fic­tional 221B Baker Street. Since its tele­vi­sion no­to­ri­ety, Speedy’s has a range of show-in­spired items on its menu, in­clud­ing the Sher­lock Wrap – chicken, cheese and ba­con with red onions, cu­cum­ber and chilli sauce.

2 FAM­ILY CAMEOS ARE COM­MON

In the first episode of the third sea­son, Holmes’ par­ents pay a visit – and the strik­ing re­sem­blance is no co­in­ci­dence. Ac­tors Wanda Ven­tham and Ti­mothy Clay­ton played the de­tec­tive’s mum and dad in the episode. They’re the real-life par­ents of Cum­ber­batch. It’s not the only cameo con­nected to a star of the se­ries. Amanda Ab­bing­ton (above, with Free­man) por­trays Wat­son’s love in­ter­est Mary, and she’s the real-life part­ner of Free­man. The show’s co-cre­ator, Steven Mof­fat, also en­listed his son to play a young Holmes in an early episode.

3 IS SHER­LOCK AUTIS­TIC?

Bri­tish char­ity the Na­tional Autis­tic So­ci­ety re­cently con­cluded that ev­i­dence cer­tainly sug­gests the char­ac­ter of Holmes could be autis­tic. His sin­gle-mind­ed­ness, re­mark­able mem­ory and dif­fi­culty recog­nis­ing so­cial cues and norms, like sar­casm, are all signs, the group says. “He also has this abil­ity to con­cen­trate and he mem­o­rises and links things in quite a unique way, all th­ese things could be linked to be­ing on the autis­tic spec­trum,” NAS con­sul­tant Robyn Stew­ard told The Tele­graph.

4 THE SHOW IS HUGE IN ASIA

Even though Sher­lock isn’t shown on any state­sanc­tioned chan­nels in China, tens of mil­lions of loyal fans watch episodes via stream­ing video ser­vices. They’re ab­so­lutely ob­sessed with the char­ac­ters, sto­ry­lines and stars. When Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron made a state visit to the coun­try at the end of 2013, he par­tic­i­pated in a pub­lic on­line Q&A. Among the ques­tions was a des­per­ate plea: “Please urge Sher­lock crew to be quick! They have had us wait­ing for two years for ev­ery sea­son!” In Ja­pan, Sher­lock has been turned into a best-sell­ing comic book – the char­ac­ter of which bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to Cum­ber­batch. And in South Korea, pop­u­lar boy band SHINee re­leased a hit song in­spired by the se­ries.

5 THE ROLE WAS AL­WAYS BENE­DICT’S

Even though he was a lit­tle-known ac­tor at the time, yet to en­joy his big break, Cum­ber­batch was al­ways the only ac­tor in mind to play Holmes. Mof­fat had seen his per­for­mance in the 2007 film Atone­ment – a fairly small role. From there, it was just a mat­ter of for­mal­i­ties. Cum­ber­batch au­di­tioned and was signed im­me­di­ately af­ter. The part of Wat­son was less cer­tain and a num­ber of ac­tors au­di­tioned,

in­clud­ing Matt Smith (right). He was re­port­edly des­per­ate to land the gig. But it wasn’t meant to be and Free­man in­stead was cast. It all worked out for Smith though, who just a week later was cast in Dr Who.

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