The Abominable Bride DVD extras: ‘Mark Gatiss Production Diary’ and ‘Writers’ Interview’
This is a transcript of new material which appears only on the ‘Mark Gatiss Production Diary’ and ‘Writers’ Interview’ Special Features of the DVD. It does not include a transcript of the clips from the episode which are shown throughout the features, nor does it include descriptions of every visual moment. I haven’t transcribed every ‘er,’ ‘um,’ ‘you know’ and stutter as the interviewees speak but I hope that it may be useful in particular to viewers whose first language is not English and who are unable to access the subtitles.
Warning: Obviously this contains major spoilers for “The Abominable Bride.” Enter with care if you haven’t seen the episode yet.
As always, please remember that some of the comments made by people may look serious in plain print but are actually meant sarcastically or humorously.
If you quote extracts from this elsewhere, a link back to this page would be much appreciated!
“The Abominable Bride” DVD extra: ‘Mark Gatiss Production Diary’ and ‘Writers’ Interview’
Mark Gatiss Production Diary
[This feature is filmed on Mark’s phone and is rather poor quality. There are subtitles on the DVD but I don’t trust them any further than I can spit, so I’ve only transcribed what I can properly hear.]
4th February 2015 ...
Mark, lying in bed, opens his eyes and groans.
MARK: This is, er ...
... very early
MARK: ... Waterfall Day. (He smiles blearily into the camera.) Morning.
MARK (now in a car with Jean-Claude Deguara) (VFX Supervisor): J-C, what are you doing today?
JEAN-CLAUDE: We are gonna be doing all the digital extra parts of the waterfall, making it wider as you can see down off the edge of it, just making the shots pretty epic.
MARK: You mean it’s not a real waterfall?!
JEAN-CLAUDE: Well, a little bit.
MARK: Some of it ... a lot of it is!
(Beryl Vertue and other members of the production team are being picked up in the car.)
MARK: Morning, ladies.
MARK (to Steven Moffat): So, tell us what we’re doing today.
STEVEN: Well, today we’re having the most exciting moment of our joint lives. We are throwing Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes off the Reichenbach Falls. It involves a deerstalker; it involves the line, “Elementary, my dear Watson;” and it involves a waterfall actually in the studio.
MARK: We’ve sort of been here before, but not quite like this.
STEVEN: This is ... this is the ... Given that it’s us, this is the most over-dweeby we’ve ever been!
STEVEN (sounding like an over-excited schoolboy): There are many events in our lives that compete for that title, but what I’m looking at right now – right now – is ... it’s insane. It’s wonderful. D’you remember, also, first pitching this and saying, “It’ll be modern Sherlock Holmes; it’s not that old version. We’re staying away from all the Victorian trappings, the nonsense of it that you do over the years.” We just put it all back! I’m very excited about the way that waterfall looks because, for the first time, I think, ever, the Reichenbach Falls scene looks like it does in the stories – you know, the narrow pathway, the unclimbable backdrop, all of it, it’s all there. Though it looks a bit studio ...
MARK: The Reichenbach of the mind.
STEVEN: Yeah, yes, it’s extremely exciting. The whole day, Mark? You’re doing the whole day?
MARK: Yeah, the whole day.
MARK: Even lunch.
Benedict, in costume shirt, waistcoat and trousers, walks over to Mark while unbuttoning his waistcoat.
BENEDICT: I’m taking my trousers off.
MARK: You wanna take your trousers off?
BENEDICT: Yeah. For you.
MARK: You want to?
BENEDICT (taking off his waistcoat): I really need to. And want to. And you will see underneath ...
MARK: I’m auctioning this clip on eBay!
BENEDICT: Really? Yeah? Really? Here it is.
(Mark laughs as Benedict puts his thumbs under his braces and pulls them off his shoulders, then turns his back and wiggles provocatively while he undoes his trousers. Mark sings “The Stripper” and Ben pulls down one side of his trousers and then the other, then wriggles his backside towards Mark’s camera before dropping his trousers to reveal his shiny black drysuit underneath. Mark cackles.)
MARK: It’s twenty to five; we finish at eight. We’ve got tons to do. We’re in big trouble. The lens keeps fogging up; everything’s taking too long; we’ve gotta get Andrew off the cliff; we’ve gotta do a reverse on Martin at the end. We are against it.
MARK (in the car): It’s done! Fantastic.
MARK (lying on his hotel bed, blowing out a relieved breath): Well, very relieved to get that over. That was a hell of a day. Got everything we wanted in terms of telling the story. Inevitable compromises on a few of the shots, but considering probably we’ve had a fortnight for that on a big film, that was pretty incredible for a single day. The waterfall was amazing, really stunning, and I think it just looks brilliant. Also, the kind of febrile energy of doing it in that way really adds to it. I think the fight was fantastic, and Andrew and Ben really scary in that bit. So I’m pleased, but also ... shattered. (He smiles tiredly into the camera.) Night-night.
MARK (voiceover): When Steven Moffat and I get the rare chance to sit down and chat to each other, there’s one case we always want to solve. What exactly has made Sherlock such a success?
MARK: Fundamentally it’s the writing, yeah?
STEVEN: Yeah, I think it’s the writing.
STEVEN: The rest of it, it’s really ... I don’t know why they make such a fuss about it, frankly!
MARK: The fact that we love Sherlock Holmes so much is in every scintilla of this show and I think that communicates itself, even unconsciously, to an audience, and that love punches through. What do you think is the essence of Doyle’s genius? What is it about those stories that spoke to us both as children and speaks to everybody still?
STEVEN: They move so fast, is one thing. Normally when you read, when you’re ... Older people tell you, “Read this,” and “It’s a great classic,” and you think, “Oh, I bet the first seven pages are the description of a house,” or something. And you’re straight in to Sherlock Holmes. I mean, Doyle just gives you hero moment after hero moment, then a fantastic incident and great pace, and fun. And that’s what I think we do in the series is: you get treat after treat after treat.
MARK: Doyle’s stories are charming, and eccentric, and lurid, and sometimes rather touching. But I think it’s ... To me they’re always ... they’re much more about the characters. They’re about Holmes and Watson, and really that’s what we want to do with this. It’s a series about a detective rather than a detective series because, although you get a great deal of joy from solving things, it’s genuinely much, much rarer to have a puzzle that’s solved than to have a series of great deductions, some fantastic set piece, and the sheer enjoyment of being in the company of these two men.
STEVEN: The idea that people read and adore the original stories as a consequence of watching our show is joyous to us, ’cause we are the ultimate fanboys.
MARK (voiceover): And for me it doesn’t get better than briefly holding the keys to Baker Street and playing the part of Sherlock’s older, wiser, and much better-looking brother, Mycroft.
STEVEN: A new question for you about M...
STEVEN: I know. A genuine ... I want to know what you think. Which of them is the nicer brother?
MARK: Oh. Oh. Uh, Sherlock, definitely. We’ve sort of filled in a lot of little touches of background detail that, in a way, Mycroft has schooled him to say, you know, “Don’t get involved. Caring is not an advantage.” And he has absolutely taken that in as a child, but it doesn’t take, I think. I think the pull between Sherlock wanting to make it work, and his actual humanity is where the heart of the series lies, really.
STEVEN: Okay, Mark, the big question. Between Sherlock and Mycroft, who is the cleverest?
(He looks smugly at Steven, who laughs.)
A full list of episode transcripts, DVD commentary summaries/transcripts, and transcripts of the DVD special features can be found here.