“Sherlock” Season 1, Episode 3 – ‘The Great Game’ DVD commentaryCommentary by Mark Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
This is not a direct transcript, nor have I written up every single comment made. This is just a selection from the commentary which I personally found interesting or fun.
Please remember that some of the comments made by people may look serious in plain print but were frequently meant sarcastically or humorously.
Benedict explains that prior to filming the prison scene, they had been filming outdoors all day, and then they went indoors “to a fridge – a walk-in human fridge!” He points out that the freezing breath isn’t faked. Mark comments that, having chosen Belarus because it’s one of the few countries left in the world where people are still hanged, the episode goes from there to London ... where it looks just as cold! Martin points out that this was the coldest winter in recorded history. “People will discover the tissues I used in icecaps for years to come,” says Benedict.
The three episodes were filmed in reverse order, so this one was filmed first.
Sherlock shooting a smiley face into the wall is taken from one of the stories when a bored Holmes shoots “V.R.” (Victoria Regina) into the wall. Benedict points out that the smiley face ties into the second episode, The Blind Banker, because it’s sprayed onto the wall with the same yellow paint. The dressing gown is also taken from the books, as Holmes had an array of different dressing gowns.
Mark: “Eventually we went for this one – this blue silk one – but there will be more!”
Benedict: “Blue silk dressing gown that cost a bit that I managed to shoot a hole through!”
Martin: “It’s easily done!”
Benedict and Martin say how much they love working in the 221B set. Benedict confesses that he pinched a couple of the books off the shelf afterwards. He says that he’d be very happy living there with Martin.
As Mrs Hudson comes into the flat with her usual greeting, Mark comments, “I love Una’s ‘Ooh-ooh!’ I think more than anything!” “I love Una’s ‘ooh-ooh’ as well,” adds Martin, prompting Benedict to say, “I’ll have a bit of Una’s ‘ooh-ooh’ as well!” “Keep it clean!” says Martin, adding that Una is a joy.
Mark says to Benedict, “You get to shoot guns and get blown up. This is like a boy’s dream come true!” “Genuinely thrilling and funny to be thrown onto the floor by the force of that explosion,” says Benedict.
“Speaking of the force of an explosion ...” says Martin, as Sarah appears on screen. “... hello Zoe Telford!” croons Benedict, cracking Martin up.
Sarah’s flat was filmed in a four-storey house in Cardiff which was used for several locations, including Westie’s flat.
Because they filmed the episodes in reverse, Martin’s hair was longer for this episode and was then cut shorter for each of the other two episodes. Mark asks Martin if he would prefer John to be more military and shorn. Martin says he prefers the shorter hair. Mark says, “I remember when you [had your hair cut short], everyone went ‘Oooh!’” Benedict mimics people asking, “Who’s that twelve year old? Where’s his parents?”
Martin points out that he and Benedict haven’t seen the finished episode before, which is why occasionally they stop talking to admire themselves or bits of the footage, like the exploded building opposite 221B.
At the first sight of Mycroft, Martin comments, “Gatiss himself. Here comes the ballast!”
“I like to think more as the albatross,” says Mark.
“Weighing it down!” laughs Martin.
Mark acknowledges that in the stories Mycroft is enormously overweight and says that, as he himself is “whippet thin,” they thought it would be fun to have Mycroft having a yo-yo’ing weight problem.
Benedict: “It’s the only way Mark could get the part.”
Martin (innocently): “How many other actors did you see for Mycroft?”
Benedict (doing his best Brian Blessed impression): “Brian Blessed!”
Mark: “Well, we started with Benedict’s face and drew lines around it, and in the end it was a draw between ...”
Martin: “... you and Clooney.”
Mark (nonchalantly): “Me and Su Pollard.”
Benedict: “Su Pollard! Oh, my mother will never forgive you for that! Neither will Su!”
The scene was cut down slightly. There was originally a reference to the Holmes boys’ mutual strange childhood and the fact that Sherlock had rather spoiled the family atmosphere, but it was removed in the edit because there wasn’t time to include it.
The Bruce-Partington Programme comes from The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, a short story from Conan Doyle which is about a man (Arthur West in that story rather than Andrew West here [or Alan West, if you believe the end credits instead ...!]) who was found dead on the Tube line.
Mark: “My hair is dyed to match Benedict’s hair.”
Benedict: “My hair is dyed to match ... whose?”
Mark: “To match Sherlock Holmes’! We thought that might be a good idea!”
Benedict: “It’s not a bad start!”
Mark: “Do you think there is a family likeness?”
Benedict: “I do.”
Mark (giggling): “How?! Mysteriously, I’ve got the Holmes nose.”
Benedict: “Yeah, mine’s a bit more flat and snubby and retroussé than it should be for Holmes. They’ve lit me very angularly so I throw a profile every now and again.”
Martin: “They’ve lit me very roundly. That’s why I look round. Otherwise I look very chiselled in real life.”
Mark: “You do look chiselled.”
Martin: “Chiselled out of what? Plasticine?!”
Mark: “Umm, blancmange!”
Benedict: “Polystyrene. ... Marshmallow!”
Mark asks Martin about his choice of clothes for John. “I was trying to have a nod towards his twin careers or twin professions of medicine and army and thought that there was a ‘pukka’-ness to them both traditionally.” He felt that there might be other army doctors in the family and “it’s just a certain understated English style” with functional utilitarian-style gear.
“It’s relaxed/informal but never less than smart,” agrees Mark.
Martin continues, “Being an army officer and a doctor are both fairly – for want of a much better word – quite posh professions. I don’t think John is ultra-posh, but he’s just proper and quietly stylish.”
The Five Orange Pips is a famous Sherlock Holmes story but it’s never been done on TV before because the Ku Klux Klan are behind it, so producers have tended to avoid it.
“Tell us about Rupert Graves, Benedict,” coaxes Mark in a strange American accent. Adopting the same accent, Benedict recites, “Rupert Graves is good at football and has five children ...” then he loses the accent and adds, “Well, the fifth on the way. He’s fantastic.” He continues on but keeps drifting into describing Lestrade instead of Rupert.
[Can I just interject here and say that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate on typing this, because every time I stop to listen to what the three of them are saying, Benedict’s deep voice is literally vibrating through the desk and is making me go all unnecessary!]
Mark says it was interesting casting Rupert as Lestrade because “traditionally he’s a ratty-faced and rather resentful character” but he’s a very good detective, and Mark and Steven said that if Sherlock Holmes wasn’t around, it would be Lestrade’s series. Benedict agrees that there’s always a need to justify why you’re re-making Sherlock Holmes into yet another series and that, in bringing it into the twenty-first century, “if you have a persona and a physical presence as gorgeous and adept as Rupert and his Lestrade, then it means that there is another level to detective work which Holmes does bring, that it does supersede the normal police procedure.” He points out Lestrade’s clothing, adding, “There’s a lot going on; there’s a personal history. I bet he’s got a drinking problem and a failed relationship or two.” “Are we still on Rupert, or Lestrade?!” asks Martin.
Mark says that years ago he wrote down a list of things he would love to include if he ever did a Sherlock Holmes story and one of the things was “221C.”
Benedict gives a mention to the script supervisor who read the lines of the woman in the car off-camera while they were filming in 221C. She got so much into the role that she was actually crying, and she did it several times, leaving the actors humbled by her performance. The location of the room was a drive of an hour and a half away; it was a really unpleasant damp place and Mark found a Bay City Rollers scarf there.
Many of the shots of Sherlock in the lab testing the shoes were filmed on the day that Martin was injured. It was the third day of filming: on the second day they had almost been snowed in at a morgue in Merthyr Tydfil; and on the third day Martin was leaving his 3-Way trailer, slipped on some icy steps “and came down like a sack of spuds” and had to have that day off. They filmed all the close-up work on Sherlock that they could and then they returned to finish filming that scene on the last day before Martin had his hair cut to film episode 2.
“There’s a song in that, the way you were describing it,” says Benedict, then starts singing, “Freeman fell out of his 3-Way on his way to ...”
“Are you on drugs?!” Martin demands incredulously.
“You know my mantra, Martin,” says Mark. “All actors who play Sherlock Holmes go mad. Benedict Cumberbatch has stolen a march by coming in fully formed!”
“Charmant!” says Benedict indignantly, adding, “So speaks the writer and Mycroft!”
The lab is in Cardiff University. They give praise to the Director of Photography, Steve Lawes, who made the room more interesting with jars of coloured water which had no scientific function but made the place look less sterile. “It’s good to look good when one’s looking in a microscope,” muses Benedict.
“Loo Brealey and Andrew Scott here,” says Martin at the arrival of Molly and Jim.
“... together at last,” adds Mark.
Putting on a dramatic movie trailer voice, Martin continues, “Scott! Brealey! Together At Last!”
Mark says the idea of Jim came about when they were filming Molly in the pilot. Mark was watching the monitors and said, “She should have a boyfriend and Sherlock works out he’s gay and just destroys her.”
Benedict asks if he can mention “tacky stuff if you’re interested in that kind of thing.” The ‘flashback’ moments during Sherlock’s deduction about Jim were filmed on “an SLR – a normal hand-held camera.” He thinks it’s a great mixture of techniques used to see through Sherlock’s eyes. He adds that Paul McGuigan and Steve Lawes, the Director and Cinematographer, are very clever people.
Martin bursts out with “McGuigan! Lawes! Together At Last!”
“They should write the song about Freeman falling out of his 3-Way,” says Benedict.
“And then film the video!” suggests Martin.
Mark points out that even Arthur Conan Doyle found it difficult to keep going with the complicated deduction scenes in his books, and Mark also found it hard writing the deduction scene with the shoes. He sat with a pair of his own shoes and tried to work out what he might be able to deduce by looking at them. He also wrote the name tag bit because there was a boy at school who they used to take the mickey out of because he had his name on things like his towels when he was too old for such things.
“Can I make a confession very quickly?” asks Benedict. “I still have some socks and towels from school that have my name on them! It’s embarrassing. I actually once did an interview with somebody and they said, ‘Your name tag’s sticking out of your shirt,’ and this was when I was twenty-six! It was a white school shirt that I still owned! Oh, a pathetic life.”
“Why do you still have pants and socks from school?” asks Mark.
“I didn’t say pants!” protests Benedict.
“I’m imagining it, though!” says Mark.
Benedict continues that he still had socks from school for the same reason that men get socks for Christmas: because blokes don’t think of buying socks very often.
“I do!” says Martin, and Mark agrees.
“We can’t say where we get them from, though,” says Mark.
“But can you not say it and then say, ‘There are other outlets’?” asks Benedict.
“There are other detectives,” says Mark.
“Mark, I’d like to ask a question,” says Martin seriously.
“OK,” replies Mark, as if bracing himself.
“What’s the fastest land mammal?” asks Martin, cracking Benedict up.
Martin then asks the real question about how Mark and Steven decided on the tone of the show. It’s dark – though not as dark as Cracker or Messiah but it’s not ‘jaunty’ either – and Martin wonders what Mark’s and Steven’s plan was. Mark thinks that it’s come out darker than they originally intended, and that if they do any more it’s something to bear in mind. He wonders if it’s anything to do with the episodes being 90 minutes long and therefore there being more of an epicness to them. He thinks that there’s room for more comedy, in particular relationship comedy, in future episodes but everyone agrees that that wouldn’t have been appropriate here.
“We could do one where we go on a weekend break together,” suggests Benedict.
Mark says, “I remember someone saying when Doctor Who came back, incredibly posing the question, ‘How come they always turn up where something strange and interesting is happening?’ Well, why d’you think?! Because the episode where they go to Margate isn’t very interesting!”
Lestrade’s office at Scotland Yard was filmed in a part-empty office building. The show’s production offices were based there as well.
Mark (as Sally Donovan walks into Lestrade’s office): “Here’s the lovely Vinette Robinson.”
Benedict: “The brilliant Vinette Robinson. She’s good in it, isn’t she? Wonderful.”
Martin: “Eh, marry her, then.”
Benedict: “I don’t think Olivia will let me!”
Watching the young man wearing the bomb in the middle of a busy London street, Mark says he remembers the film An American Werewolf in London where the werewolf was in Piccadilly Circus and the film crew actually filmed it on an ordinary night. Mark thought, “You couldn’t do that now,” but they managed it.
Seeing the scene where they go to look at Ian Monkford’s abandoned car, Benedict says, “That’s real water, folks, and our feet were really wet. Hurrah!” He and Martin agree that it was the coldest day of filming, and the costume supervisor got so ill with the cold that she turned blue and collapsed in Benedict’s arms. They were filming in a ruin in Deptford and there was nowhere to escape the weather.
Benedict: “Let’s do ‘Sherlock goes to the Bahamas’ please!”
Martin: “As Rupert said, ‘Murder at the Palace’.”
Benedict: “‘Murder in a Carpeted Interior’.”
Mark: “Now here’s a thing, viewers: Anne Kirkbride, who plays Deirdre Barlow in Corrie, famously can’t do tears; she can’t cry on cue. However, Benedict Cumberbatch can. It was either just the cold ...” He breaks off as we see the tears rolling down Sherlock’s face, and he and Martin simultaneously say an awestruck, “Look at that.” Mark continues that he loves the coldness of Sherlock in this scene and the way he puts on such a performance to get what he wants and then just drops it instantly.
Benedict: “I think this was one of the most satisfying things to get my teeth into as Holmes because we’re not doing putty noses and silly wigs and sunglasses as disguises, so the idea that he can mercurially change characteristics in order to seduce people into confessing, or just getting what he wants or controlling the situation even, is really very good fun to play.”
Benedict comments how much he loves the shot of “our heroes’ silhouettes” as they walk away from the crime scene.
Mark: “People often ask, don’t they, for funny anecdotes ...”
Benedict: “Shall we talk about the sign?”
(Benedict starts to giggle.)
Mark: “Janus Cars is obviously a crucial clue. When we turned up on this excellently dressed real car forecourt ...”
(By now, Benedict is apparently burying his giggles behind his hands clapped over his mouth.)
Mark: “... the beautiful design [of the Janus Cars sign] ... the ‘J’ and the ‘C’ are facing away from each other like double faces, it’s all right. But it was very thin. All you could see was ‘ANUS ARS’ and it was an emergency thing to thicken the lettering!”
Mark says that Paul Albertson, who played Mr Ewart, reminded him very much of Oliver Tobias, and reckons that he could play him in the biopic ... or “the Tobiaspic.” “Write it!” suggests Martin.
Mark: “Did you want to smoke a pipe, or even cigarettes, as Sherlock Holmes?”
Benedict (pompously): “No. Smoking’s bad for you.”
Martin (giggling): “Ain’t that the truth?!”
Mark: “Interesting you say that.”
Benedict: “Why, because he’s on the cigarettes again in the next one?”
Mark: “You mean you, or Sherlock?!”
Benedict continues that it would have looked weird if he had been smoking a pipe.
The scene with Sherlock, John and Lestrade standing around Monkford’s car in the police compound was filmed in a car park underneath Cardiff Arms Park.
Mark: “I like these sheets of polythene and the police lights.”
Benedict: “I like the car. It’s the hairdresser in me coming out.”
Mark: “Have you done Top Gear?”
Mark: “It’s only a matter of time!”
Martin: “It’s minutes away!”
Mark: “It is now!”
Benedict: “The track’s waiting for me.”
Mark: “Sherlock on his bike; Sherlock in his funny car ...”
Martin: “Sherlock on his penny-farthing.”
Benedict: “Sherlock in his horse-drawn cart.”
Mark: “Sherlock on Total Wipeout. It’s only a matter of time!”
Benedict: “No! Oh, God! Imagine!”
Mark asks Benedict what he felt, when contemplating playing Sherlock Holmes, that he wanted to keep or reject from other interpretations or to bring in new.
Benedict: “That’s a very long conversation, but what I will say in relation to that is the ones that I have experienced – Brett, Rathbone and, more recently, Downey Jr (although we’d already established ... well, I’d already established what I was gonna do with it with our pilot and we’d just about started filming these three when we all went to see that, so he wasn’t so much of an influence), but basically Brett and Rathbone: there’s a certain theatricality and ethereal spirituality to him which Brett physically manifests beautifully; it’s very animal, it’s very cat-like and predatory and sharp and angular and slightly cold at times as well, and there are moments where I did want to use that. There are great descriptions of his physicality in the books as well, whether he’s curled up on the chair with his feet tucked up so he’s got his knees up and his hands on his knees and then the hands actually resting underneath his chin sort of in a prayer position. And I sort of wanted to play with motifs of that that people could recognise as being Holmesian because, without the pipe, without the deerstalker, without the old magnifying glass, it was important to establish certain codas and behavioural physical patterns that were recognisably Holmesian. ... So I’m physically conscious of making certain choices which are probably not naturalistic, probably more eccentric and based on purely what he’s like, and then obviously – with the company that I have in Martin Freeman’s Watson, and being in the twenty-first century – I can’t sort of be dashing around twirling my coat all the time and ... I did do quite a bit of that, didn’t I?” (He laughs.)
Mark: “I wish I’d never asked!”
Martin: “He said it was a long conversation!”
Benedict: “I did warn you! If you really wanna know the inner workings of my insane actor brain, then open at your own risk!”
The scene in the morgue with Connie Prince’s body was shot on the second day of filming in a real morgue in Merthyr Tydfil. Mark says that the morgue was brand new and was one of the nicer places to hang out. Benedict’s not so sure, adding, “When you’ve been playing him for a while and you come back in the third month to do the same scene because of snow and illness and all sorts of other things kicking off, your Holmesian eye does start to focus in a little on some of the detail on the floor. You can – you can see.”
Benedict: “Well, you can see evidence of what the business is of the day of the morgue.”
Mark: “You mustn’t look too closely.”
Benedict: “Well, I mean, if you’ve got a strong constitution, it’s fine.”
Mark: “If you have a weak one like us ...”
Benedict: “... you run screaming!”
The cast and crew watched the first Prime Ministerial debate in the morticians’ green room.
The photos of a young Carl Powers on the wall of 221B are actually childhood pictures of the show’s Second Assistant.
The scene at Kenny Prince’s house was shot on the first day of filming.
Martin: “Hairless cats plus John [Sessions’] very very thin poufy shirt equals Sessions covered in blood and scratches by the end of the afternoon!”
Mark: “At the end of this bloody day – in every sense of the word – I said to [the First Assistant Toby Ford], ‘Why did you put the cat on the first day?!’”
Benedict says that it’s difficult enough going onto the set for the first time and that it is “a bit of a weird thing to do suddenly, and with this animal as well – this uncontrollable element in an otherwise ...”
Martin: “But Sessions is not that bad. You can control him.”
Benedict: “If you give him the right mixture of food ... and pain.”
Martin: “If you rein him in, and wean him ...”
Benedict “... he can behave.”
Mark felt very guilty later because he hadn’t realised beforehand that John Sessions is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and won Celebrity Mastermind with that subject, and Mark was amazed that he agreed to play such a small part in a Sherlock Holmes story. “Maybe he could have been a major baddy. Maybe he still can.”
Mark: “There were two cats, allegedly trained. What we discovered is there is no such thing as a trained cat.”
Martin: “Hell, no. They were trained in hurting John Sessions, that was their special training.”
Mark: “They were very good at that.”
John’s belief that Connie was killed by the cat having its claws soaked in tetanus is based on a true case that happened in France in the 1920s. On reading about it, Mark thought to himself, “Well, I’m ‘avin’ that!”
Benedict: “I interrupted you a while back and I don’t know if it’s worth going back to it but the ... well, it’s always worth going back to it when it comes to asking a question to you ... but I mean ... or from you, rather ... umm ... shush, just stop talking, Benedict ... how you came up with the trainer deduction.”
Mark says that he had pretty much finished, but there is a model from Conan Doyle about those sort of deductions. He says that, as a kid, when he first read the Conan Doyle stories, “I remember sitting on the school bus trying to work out what people did. Turned out they all went to school! I really should have guessed that – they were all dressed in school uniform.”
Benedict is in awe of the beautiful shot after the old lady is shot and how he, John and Lestrade are framed as the camera pulls away from them.
“Good knitwear there, from Freeman,” says Martin, looking at John’s jumper at 221B, adding that he chose it himself from one of his favourite shops in central London. Benedict encourages him to name the shop, which Martin then does.
“There are other shops!” adds Benedict. “There are other shops nearby that also sell clothes.” He continues, “I’m wearing Spencer Hall, which is fantastic.”
“Stop it!” says Mark crossly.
“Nigel Hall, Spencer Hart,” Martin corrects him.
“Oh, God, I keep doing that!” moans Benedict. He then gets distracted by the shot of the dead security guard on the riverside and says, “Let’s just talk about the shot rather than my imagined clothing!”
The boys comment how bitterly cold it was on the foreshore of the Thames.
Mark: “We must spare a thought for the guy playing the corpse!”
Martin: “Oh, hell, yeah!”
Benedict: “Here we are moaning about our cold. We’re clothed and not wet.”
Mark: “He actually did die!”
Martin: “That’s why we’ve got to spare the thought for him. He was really selfless: he thought, ‘No, to make this real, I’m gonna kill meself’!”
The case of the fake painting and the Golem was originally going to be the whole of episode 2 of what was going to be a six part series before they decided to do three 90 minute episodes instead. The original killer was going to be called The Limper and would have been a man with a built-up shoe but when Mark was re-working the idea for this episode he decided that it needed to be something more exotic and he thought, “The Golem is a fantastic Prague legend and if there’s gonna be a killer he should be called something like that ... and I know just the 7’2” man to do the job!”
Benedict heaps praise on the fact that Mark redrafted the script within two weeks. Martin adds that he was quite annoyed when he heard that Mark was rewriting it, because they had done a table reading and he thought, “Why the hell are you rewriting it?” but when the new script came back, it was even better. Benedict says that often scripts come back with adjustments made for practicalities, for example Sue [Vertue] thinking, “The budget! The budget! We can’t afford twenty people!” but this one had genuinely been better.
When John goes to visit the woman who shared a house with the security guard, Martin comments, “This is Alison Lintott, who was in my year at Central many moons ago.”
Benedict: “There are other drama schools available.”
Martin (pompously): “But none quite as prestigious.”
Mark: “There are other Alisons.”
Benedict: “And other Martins as well ... but none as good as these two.”
Martin: “There are other Freemans ... Morgie.”
Mark worried about the clue of the telescope and says that you start to wonder if you’re making it too obvious, and then it turns out that even when you revealed it, people go, “I didn’t get that one.”
Martin is blown away when he sees how Mycroft’s text seems to be projected onto the wall of the room and John is actually blocking part of the message until he moves out of the way. Mark says that the whole business of the text appearing onscreen has got people quite excited. “It’s so simple and so effective,” says Martin, adding, “Speaking of simple, look at this!” as Sherlock turns around in his security officer’s disguise. As Sherlock walks towards Miss Wenceslas, Martin adopts his best Blakey voice from On The Buses and says, “I’ll get you, Butler!” Mark says that he insisted that Benedict put the collar of the jacket up, partly to mirror the way that Sherlock wears his usual coat and partly because “with it down, you genuinely looked like Blakey.”
Mark makes an “anorak-y” point that the fake Vermeer should have been painted onto board, and the design team accidently put it onto canvas.
Paul McGuigan was very unhappy shooting the scene outside Lucy’s house because he thought it looked like something from EastEnders but was more happy when he was able to do the shot with the house reflected in the roof of the car. This is the first time that Paul has worked on television.
Mark: “How did you find working with Paul?”
Martin: “Bloody awful! No, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked him from the first moment I met him. I liked his clothes, and I knew that he cared about clothes, so I thought, ‘We’re onto a winner here’.”
Mark: “You’re so shallow!”
The scenes in Baker Street are actually filmed in North Gower Street. There was a possibility of filming in Baker Street, but Mark realises now that “it would have been madness, apart from the fact that you would have had to disguise a hundred thousand things with ‘Sherlock Holmes’ on them,” and the road was just too busy.
The planetarium scene was filmed in Cardiff Museum and they were right next door to where Doctor Who was filming, so the museum was closed because there was no room for visitors.
Mark: “I remember looking through one of these doors with the glass porthole, and you two had gone back to base, and I looked through and there you were playing cards, and I thought it was quite weird. And it was actually your stunt doubles.”
Benedict: “Our what, sorry? We don’t have stunt doubles!”
Mark: “Hello! Your ... your eating doubles.”
Benedict: “I can’t believe you’re allowed to mention it. If I can’t talk about Versace, Yves St Laurent boots, and Marks and Spencers, why you can give away the fact that we have stunt doubles, I don’t know.”
Martin: “Many’s the time I almost would start speaking to Benedict about a scene or running lines and realising that it wasn’t him. Actually, the line runs went better when it wasn’t him.”
Mark: “You did most of episode 1 with the other guy.”
Benedict: “Yeah, they knew my lines far better than I did.”
The camera box was stripped right back for the fight scene because the lens flare (which you normally wouldn’t want) made the scene more dramatic. Also the globes of light reflected the idea of the planets.
The commentary to the planets sequence was done by Peter Davison.
Benedict points out that it really was him who slid across the floor at the end of the fight, and he ruined his knee doing it.
The voice of the little boy is provided by Louis Moffat, son of Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue.
Benedict: “That’s a bit of trivia that will go down very well in the future.”
Martin: “... when he’s employing us!”
Initially the voice was that of the show’s editor, pitch-shifted to make it sound like a child, and it sounded really creepy.
Mark admits that you have to stretch the point sometimes to make a drama like this a slightly more fantastical world. He continues: “There are two things here, one of which I should have mentioned before which is that even though they haven’t got much money, they get a lot of cabs, and that’s really because Holmes and Watson got hansom cabs. We’ve gotta see them in black cabs. You can’t put them on the 38 bus. It’s not really the same thing. The other thing which is genuinely stretching the point – and I say this as a very embittered customer – what would happen if you couldn’t get a signal there, Sherlock, because my phone ... I can’t get a signal in my own house with the network I’m saddled with!”
Benedict: “Maybe you should weave poor signals in. I think that might have to happen if we ever go out into the open after a certain hound.”
Martin: “I’ve gotta go.”
Martin: “I’ve gotta go now.”
Mark: “You not bothered?”
Martin (mock-seriously): “I don’t ... to be honest, I’m not really enjoying it. This is my first time seeing it – I’m not that bothered. I can live without seeing it, yeah(!) ... I have genuinely gotta go – and it’s a shame, I’m hurting inside, but I’ve got to go. Because Hollyoaks is on.”
Mark: “Actually, what we could try and do – we could sort of fill in. You [Benedict] can do Martin, can’t you?”
Martin: “He can probably do me, or if not, do Rickman.”
Benedict tries to sound like Martin but gets accused by Martin of sounding more like Jonathan Ross. As Martin leaves, Ben goes on to do a really terrible impersonation of Alan Rickman!
Joe Harrison, the brother of Westie’s fiancée, gets his name from a Conan Doyle story called The Naval Treaty, which is very similar to The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans.
Benedict croons over the cleverness of the shot where Sherlock holds his mini magnifying glass over Joe’s window sill and his own face is reflected in it.
In order to film Joe putting Westie’s body onto the train roof, Mark says that they spent an amazing night in the goods yard at Battersea with a real train.
Mark likes the scene where Sherlock is yelling at the TV, because there’s no need to go into detailed explanation of how he knows that the man isn’t the boy’s real father.
“Like the bottom third of the door handle of the Chinese restaurant,” says Benedict, harking back to the first episode.
“Let’s see more of these in the future!” says Mark.
The pool is in Bedminster in Bristol. Mark used to live there and swim in the pool.
Mark: “And if anyone had ever told me that one day I’d be making Sherlock Holmes in that pool, I would have said, ‘... You have come from the future’.”
Benedict (in a high pitched voice): “You’re flying, and I can’t understand what you’re saying!”
Mark: “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you. I’m swimming!”
Benedict: “What if Matt Smith had appeared and told you that? Then you might have believed him.”
Mark: “I would have gone, ‘Doctor Who’s still on?! Woo!’”
Benedict: “There’s so much to play in this scene [but] one of my main preoccupations was the fact that my Spencer Hart suit ...”
(Mark growls in irritation.)
Benedict: “... was bulging at the pockets because it had a gun in it! (He laughs.) It was really odd and difficult to walk!”
Mark: “Can you say that again and just say ‘my suit’?”
Benedict: “OK: that very well-fitted beautifully tailored suit has a rather large gun in it and it was rather distracting, to the point that I had to concentrate very hard on not falling into the water.”
Benedict: “And here is the sublime Andrew Scott.”
Mark: “So not just a cheap gay joke. In fact, a supervillain! Now, Andrew came in to read for this part and everybody just really fell for his interpretation. The thing about Moriarty – obviously as with the reinterpretation of Sherlock and John – he was never gonna be a sixty year old bald professor. He was going to be something else, and something hiding in plain sight, as it were. And we saw a lot of great people, but what Andrew brought to it immediately was a kind of playful super-intensity; and for all the sort of camp fun of some of these lines, which are demanded by a Holmes and Moriarty confrontation, there are moments in it which are so scary, I think, when his face becomes a lizard-like set mask and this real evil just comes through, I think is really remarkable.”
Benedict (sounding exasperated): “Oh, marry him!”
Mark: “Oh, I am. I’m married to Andrew! That’s a given!”
Benedict: “That was me being Martin, by the way.”
Mark: “There’s two little things here: ‘Moriarty’ is an Irish name and there’s never been an Irish Moriarty, so we actually asked Andrew to do it in his own accent.”
Benedict (cracking up at a line on the screen): I love that: ‘Daddy’s had enough now!’”
Mark: “One of the little details in the original story is that Moriarty’s head is forever oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion. And I told Andrew that on the costume fitting and he didn’t know, and absolutely grabbed it, and I saw him, literally as he was going, he was just practising it for the first time, and he just pops it in every now and then, particularly at the end.”
As Moriarty says, “That’s what people DO!” Mark says, “That’s one of those moments which makes my hair stand on end.”
Steven and Mark were originally not going to put a confrontation into these three episodes. But then they realised that “we just had to do a confrontation scene. We had to do a version of the scene in The Final Problem in which the two arch-enemies meet each other ... and say, ‘Westwood’!”
Benedict: “Hello! So he’s allowed to say that but I’m not allowed to say my tailor!”
Mark: “Well, that’s on the telly; it’s all right, it’s cleared and everything! Also, the Duchess, you know, she gave us permission. She’s a big Holmes fan.”
Benedict: “She will be now.”
[‘The Duchess’ is Dame Vivienne Westwood, who designed the suit Andrew was wearing.]
Mark: “This is really where Sherlock, having I think convinced himself that, were it not for the fact that he chose to, he could actually be Moriarty, they are one and the same, they’re both so, so much cleverer than the little people, that really he realises he does have a heart; he’s one of us, not one of them.”
Benedict cracks up as Moriarty demonstrates the look of surprise he’ll have on his face if Sherlock shoots him.
Benedict: “Because he’s such an arch-villain there’s a real attraction to him, but at the same time it doesn’t diminish Holmes as being his perfect foe. It’s a very good match between the two of them.”
Mark: “Now you have to marry him.”
Mark says that it was a totally accidental thing but when Andrew first comes around the corner, he’s in front of a sign that says “Deep End”.
“Get out of that,” says Mark as the screen goes to black. “Wazoos!” exclaims Benedict.
“Hope you enjoyed it,” say both Mark and Benedict. Benedict adds, “And hopefully we’ll see you in about a year’s time.”
A full list of episode transcripts, DVD commentary summaries/transcripts, and transcripts of the DVD special features can be found here.