Sheer love for sleuths
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.