This is not a word-for-word transcript (though lord knows I’ve transcribed much more than from previous commentaries), nor have I written up every single comment made (just most of them!). There are a few bits I’ve left out, mostly because I couldn’t hear what people were saying as they spoke over each other.
Further extracts may be added in due course.
Please remember that some of the comments made by people may look serious in plain print but were frequently meant sarcastically or humorously.
I have an inexplicable inability to distinguish between the voices of Mark and Steven, so forgive me if I get them the wrong way round on occasions!
If you quote extracts from this, especially if it includes bits which I wrote myself rather than transcribed, a link back to this page would be appreciated.
STEVEN: Hello, I’m Steven Moffat, co-creator and Exec[utive Producer] on Sherlock and also writer of this episode.
MARK: Hello, I’m Mark Gatiss. I’m the same apart from being the writer of this episode, and the Steve Moffat bit.
UNA: Hello, I’m Una Stubbs and I play Mrs Hudson.
SUE: And I’m Sue Vertue, the Producer, and still married to Steven. We haven’t fallen out in the middle episode.
STEVEN: Oh, we’ve missed something! What is it? Our silent commentary [for The Sign of Three]!
MARK: Yes! I really enjoyed that one.
STEVEN: Yeah, it was excellent, wasn’t it? If you enjoyed the silent commentary, write in and we’ll do some more.
MARK: We already have!
STEVEN: Curiously enough, this [opening scene] is very near the end of the shoot, isn’t it? Was it the last day they did this?
SUE: It was the last day, yeah.
STEVEN: ’Cause you and I, Mark, we dashed off to shoot another thing and got it all wrong or something, didn’t we?
MARK: It was the close-up of the door, yeah.
SUE: One thing you were meant to do. One thing!
STEVEN: We didn’t understand what was written in the script!
SUE: Two creators, one shot!
MARK: Obviously this story – anyone who knows their Sherlock Holmes will know – this story is mostly based on The Adventure of Charles August Milverton, once known as the worst man in London, which has always long been a favourite of ours and is about a blackmailer, and we always thought that, of all the stories that could be easily translatable into the twenty-first century, a figure like Magnussen was a very contemporary figure.
STEVEN: Although of course we made him a newspaper proprietor.
UNA: Where is this building [Appledore]?
SUE: This was the most amazing building. Steven, when you first said the kind of building you wanted, you said, ‘I want something like the ...’ Was it the Bob Hope ...?
STEVEN: Yeah, Bob Hope had an extraordinary mansion.
MARK: In the script it says, ‘the Citizen Kane mansion for the iPod generation.’ [And] it’s exactly what it is.
SUE: We thought, ‘Oh, we’ll find that near Cardiff(!)’ and lo and behold we did.
MARK: But there was so much glass that every member of the crew had Elastoplast on the bridge of their noses ’cause they were just constantly walking into glass walls. It was hysterical. And sometimes repeatedly.
STEVEN: Yeah, somebody injured their nose rushing off to get an Elastoplast for somebody else who’d just injured their nose. It’s true. It’s beautiful, but that element of it wasn’t useful.
SUE: And a swimming pool that just looked gorgeous.
MARK: And you could choose which was the deep end by pressing a button.
MARK: Now, Milverton in the stories is described as being like a reptile, and he’s one of the only people that Sherlock Holmes has a physical aversion to.
STEVEN: It was the only time you could really find him actually hating somebody. I mean, he’s quite emotional a lot of time, isn’t he, in the original stories – contrary to popular conception – but he doesn’t express hatred, I think. Never hates Moriarty. He hates Milverton so much. And that was the thing we zeroed in on, was to have a character that Sherlock Holmes loathes.
MARK: He’s repulsive, and it’s everything he stands for.
STEVEN: Well, it’s picking on the outsider, because clearly Sherlock Holmes sort of views himself as that, which is quite interesting. I remember, in the original story, Sherlock Holmes says, ‘You get a shrinking sensation when you look’ ...
MARK: ... like in a reptile house.
STEVEN: Yeah, snakes. And I changed it to ‘a shark in a tank,’ and then we thought, ‘No, the snakes are better,’ but then we cast the wonderful Lars and thought, ‘No, no, he’s definitely a shark.’
MARK: Let’s just briefly talk about the wonderful Lindsay [Duncan], who should have been in Sherlock from the beginning! She’s so classy and it’s not a big part at all but she just brings so much to it.
STEVEN: It’s one of those things where it can’t be a minor actress playing it.
MARK: Brings a sort of substance to her.
STEVEN: It’s like, even though you know ‘M’ has to be important in a Bond film, you have to have someone of stature doing it. But she’s so good in this scene [between Lady Smallwood and Magnussen at the club] and it’s so repulsive.
UNA: But like all the old English films, the Ealing comedies, they were made up of wonderful actors in tiny parts.
MARK: And it just gives it a sort of richness.
MARK: So let’s talk about casting Lars Mikkelsen.
UNA: It was lovely when he turned up. Mr Gorgeous.
STEVEN: Okay, well we know Mrs Hudson’s vote! That’s Rupert and Lars.
SUE: Yeah, we went through quite a few ideas of names and then we heard that he was in town, and so I went to meet him for a cup of tea, because also we’d never heard him speak and didn’t know how good his accent was. And he’s basically ... it’s Cockney!
STEVEN: South London, yeah.
SUE: So there was me saying to Lars, ‘Well, it might be an American but if we didn’t go American, is Sherlock something you might be ...?’ It was a very sort of cloak and dagger thing; but then we actually asked him to do a read.
STEVEN: I remember you sent me the DVD [of Lars’ read-through] and I got halfway through the first take and I just phoned Sue up and said, ‘Oh, for God’s sake, just book him!’ Obviously! Obviously! But the one thing was, we had to tell him to do an accent, ’cause his natural way of speaking is Cockney!
MARK: He sort of learned his English through Monty Python!
UNA: But he was so proud of his Cockney accent, and he sometimes made it thicker!
SUE: You think of Lars and Mads both watching Monty Python, and playing real baddies now!
UNA: I remember when Benedict had done a small scene with Lars and he came back: ‘Oh, Lars is fantastic, isn’t he?! He’s brilliant!’
MARK: It’s also that brilliant thing of – he’s so chilling as Magnussen and then in real life he’s such a dude. He’s such a lovely man!
SUE: So cool.
MARK: And yet he puts that suit on and the glasses and he looks like Max von Sydow; he’s got those blank eyes.
STEVEN: He could not be less like that; such an enthusiastic, sort of, almost geeky.
STEVEN: I think Martin’s very funny in this [scene when Kate arrives at the door]. His complete indifference to her plight!
MARK: But this is from another story, from The Man with the Twisted Lip and the rescue of Isa Whitney from an opium den ...
STEVEN: ... where unexpectedly Doctor Watson finds Sherlock Holmes. It has nothing to do with the story of the man with the twisted lip; it’s just again Doyle’s instinct for giving Sherlock Holmes a great entrance, so – as ever – we lifted [it] from the original.
MARK: From the master.
STEVEN: This is us doing the fact that John of course, about a month into domesticity, he’s not bored of his wife or anything like that, he just wants to go on an adventure.
MARK: And this is Martin pre-driving, which was a great source of something in Hounds because Sherlock had to drive them to Dartmoor. It was like, ‘He shouldn’t, but Martin can’t drive.’ And then a few months ago we were having a lunch and we got the message that ‘Martin’ll drive himself in,’ and we thought ...
SUE: ... ‘They’ve got that wrong’!
MARK: Yeah; and he turns up, and he’s learned to drive to do Fargo! It was amazing, wasn’t it?! Put me to shame. I’m the last one, now.
SUE (mock-testily): Oh, he learned for Fargo!
STEVEN: I remember the conversation when we were doing Baskerville – we decided we couldn’t have Sherlock driving, it was wrong; and of course, we did in the end just because there was no other way!
UNA: I didn’t know that. Two of my sons don’t drive.
STEVEN: I sort of drive, but I haven’t for many years.
SUE: We got rid of our car, which we’d had for eight years, months ago and Steven realised he’d never driven it.
STEVEN: I’m just not very good at it. Some people shouldn’t be behind a wheel and I’m one of them.
UNA: You don’t need one in London, do you?
MARK: This is the great Tom Brooke playing Wiggins, who is the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars in the original stories.
STEVEN: And sort of a conflation of two characters, really, ’cause there’s Billy the pageboy who occasionally turns up, or turns up once or something, and helps Sherlock Holmes; and Wiggins who’s the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars. And Tom Brooke is so funny.
UNA: I remember when Make-Up cut his hair.
SUE: Oh yes! It’s the worst haircut in the world, isn’t it?!
UNA: Poor darling!
MARK: I thought he did it himself deliberately.
UNA: And he was going out that evening. I think a hat was worn.
MARK: There’s a nice thing going on there, where [Wiggins] sort of attaches himself to them and then becomes a bit of a disciple.
STEVEN: Of course, being Sherlock, we go into a drug den but it has to be the most exotic-looking, beautiful drug den! It’s an art-house drug den!
MARK: It was an amazing building, wasn’t it? It’s an old maritime building. It had all that wonderful block flooring; just falling to pieces.
MARK: Now this was the source of some debate, because we had to decide whether [Sherlock] was genuinely taking drugs again, or whether he was faking; but in the end, he is, but he is totally in control of it, for a reason.
STEVEN: But it’s always keeping that ambiguity: is he or isn’t he?
(Mark and Steven cackle when Sherlock throws his hissy fit ‘Well I’m not now!’ line.)
(Once everyone’s in the car)
MARK: So here’s our new gang! We never thought we’d have a gang! There’s a gang!
MARK: Now, anyone who’s ever been to Bart’s Hospital will tell you that this interior – which is actually Cardiff University – and that exterior which Sherlock jumped off [in Reichenbach] are not alike! This is the most wonderfully high-tech place you could imagine.
SUE: Actually, it’s a good job we’re not going back to Bart’s again, I don’t think, on that outside bit, ’cause I saw an artist’s impression of what they’re gonna do to it. Have you seen it? It’s all housing and restaurants; there’s a pedestrian area ...
MARK: And a blue plaque, I hope.
SUE: I hope! And still the telephone box, probably.
UNA: Loo is so good in this scene, isn’t she?
SUE: She hit him quite hard.
MARK: She did! [Molly] is probably appalled, I think, which is really good that she knows ... she’s in love with him but she knows what his gifts are, what’s going on inside that brain, and the idea that he might just throw it away like that ...
STEVEN: ... is truly annoying to her.
MARK: ... it upsets her. ... And this is where Sherlock picks up on the fact that John is the addict, in a way.
(Mark laughs at Wiggins’ ‘Is it his shirt?’ comment.)
MARK: He’s so laid back! ... We had some problems ...
SUE: ... trying to get the creases in!
MARK: ... ironing the creases in! If you buy a shirt, you can’t get the things out but try and put them in, it’s absolutely impossible.
SUE: It’s probably a non-iron shirt!
MARK: We needed to get it fresh out of a box, really.
STEVEN: Hooray – it’s a deduction!
(Everyone cracks up when Wiggins says, ‘An’ I further deduce ...’)
SUE: Oh, bless him!
STEVEN: Cut quite a lot into this scene, didn’t I?
SUE: It was longer, wasn’t it?
MARK: It’s an interesting thing with Mary: considering where we’re gonna get to, it’s deliberately light-hearted; there’s no suggestions ... well, we did have a long debate, didn’t we, about the first two episodes being deliberately more light-hearted, and again people picked up on this because we thought, ‘We need to make it look like Sherlock is sort of softening,’ ’cause we knew we were going to build up to this horrific ending. And it sort of worked, I think, because people thought, ‘Oh, no, they’ve made him ...’
STEVEN: ... ‘It’s too fluffy; it’s too content; everyone’s happy now,’ and then suddenly it’s all overturned. I remember in the writing of it, having to work out what he’s doing. We see a fair amount of Mary – before she becomes the centre of the story – in her normal role of just being so sweet.
SUE: There was a tiny bit in the second episode when they’re reading the telegrams.
MARK: Oh yes, there’s a reference to ‘CAM’ ...
SUE: ... and she looks odd, but you feel that’s because it’s mentioning her parents.
STEVEN: I think we ladled quite a bit on, but it’s because they were charmed by Amanda, they didn’t want to listen, which is exactly what happens to Sherlock Holmes. He’s charmed by Mary; he stops listening to his own brain.
MARK: He misses the obvious.
MARK: When will we see Uncle Rudy? ... Maybe we already have!
STEVEN: Now we’ve got Neville Kidd lighting 221B slightly different[ly]. I rather like his rather warmer version of it; it's cosier somehow.
MARK: D’you remember, we had a long talk about [how] this had to be very very very early in the morning, because this day is very long. There’s a long bath, and then Magnussen arrives and it’s all the same day, so that lovely golden light – I remember having discussions about it. They’ve probably come there at the crack of dawn.
SUE: She’s not even gone to work yet!
MARK: And a little window open onto line dancing [for] Mr and Mrs Holmes! We should have just asked them to do that for a DVD extra!
STEVEN: A line dancing class! ‘Line Dancing with the Holmeses’!
SUE: Nick Hurran could have done one of his extra bits just in the background! Nick does love little bits which aren’t actually included in the script at all.
MARK: He’s amazing at doing these things. Nick Hurran, the Director, he would just ... extra value, like that little shot of the writing ...
[I assume they’re talking about the writing of the love letter in the scene between Magnussen and Lady Smallwood. Also, mattiasdesmet told me that when John goes to the boot of the car to get the tyre iron, there are three different adverts on a billboard behind him which – between them – possibly spell out a sentence which could be relevant to the storyline.]
MARK: It just adds texture.
SUE: And John folding [his shirt in his bedroom].
STEVEN: [Nick] does an awful lot of that. He basically wants everything available in his toolbox when he goes into the Cutting Room, but he plans so meticulously, he has time to do them all.
SUE: First few days, some of the crew look a bit confused. They keep thinking, ‘Where is this in the script?’!
MARK: Which is why the first cut of this episode was about five hours long!
STEVEN: With half of it missing, perversely!
STEVEN: Ah, some action among the Holmes brothers. ‘Don’t appal me when I’m high.’
MARK: That’s a great line.
STEVEN: How did that miss the T-shirt?! And of course the umbrella.
MARK: Who knows what secrets it contains?
STEVEN: You’re desperate to have secrets inside the umbrella, I know.
MARK: We did talk about ...
STEVEN: You tried to persuade me ...
MARK: ... instead of the laptop ...
STEVEN: ... that it was all in the umbrella. That would have been a different show.
UNA: People can’t believe that this room is a studio.
STEVEN: Okay, a genuinely shocking moment coming up. Now this whole thing really sort of comes from the original story because in order to infiltrate Milverton in the original story, [Holmes] ends up dating ...
MARK: ... becoming engaged ...
STEVEN: ... becoming engaged.
MARK (as Watson): My dear fellow, I must congratulate you.
STEVEN: Yes, Watson immediately accepts it!
MARK: Again, as with Ed [Birch, as Tom], Yasmine was so wonderful in Episode two, we said, ‘Well, she’s gotta come back.’
STEVEN: But it also made it crueller, didn’t it, that it was someone we’d already seen and we knew that Sherlock actually genuinely liked her, which makes it all the more sort of sinister, in a way, that he’s able to do what he does, because he actually likes her.
MARK: In a master plan kind of way, the fact that they got on so well in [Episode] two made it look like he was sort of softening, and then he does this incredibly cruel thing. But it is from Doyle.
(Everyone cracks up at John’s face when Janine squeals from the bathroom.)
MARK: He just can’t believe it! But he is actually pleased for him.
STEVEN: Remember the very first cut? It made him look as if he was jealous.
MARK: Which was not a good idea.
STEVEN: [We were] saying, ‘No, no, no, he’s thrilled, but a little bit “What?! Out of nowhere, you’ve got the really hot girl from the wedding!”’
MARK: Because Sherlock talks about it as if he’s just bought a new pair of shoes.
STEVEN: I love the way Martin plays this, ’cause we get through all the exposition with Martin just waiting: ‘When can I ask about the girl?’ But he’s one of the few actors in the world good enough, Martin Freeman, to be able to make it clear that he’s not listening to the person who’s speaking. He’s just blanking the whole thing.
MARK: Also a great way to hide exposition.
STEVEN: [And] Sherlock’s good-natured attempt at sounding normal!
MARK: [John] doesn’t know what to do with himself!
(The commentators can’t stop laughing at every shot of John’s facial expressions.)
UNA: [Yasmine] was so good.
STEVEN: And very lovely, I have to say. Sherlock’s done well for himself at his first go, really.
MARK: ‘His First Go’! That was the original title(!)
(Stephen and Mark cackle raucously.)
SUE: The prequel!
STEVEN: And [John’s] ‘Go on, my son,’ reaction to the kiss.
(Sherlock and Janine kiss, and initially John reacts in shock and turns away but then gives a small nod.)
STEVEN: The little nod, there. ‘Yeah, that’s it, yes. Good work, Sherlock.’
MARK: [Sherlock]’s definitely kissing her ... but then ...
(As Sherlock’s smile drops)
STEVEN: Ooh. The little romantic part of you wants it to be true. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice, wouldn’t he be a happier man if he just had a nice girlfriend?’ But of course he hasn’t, because he’s evil!
SUE: Looking at the Twitter feed, not everyone wanted it to be true!
STEVEN: Ah, Twitter is not the audience.
STEVEN: Again, a big part of the exposition while everyone is staring somewhere else. [John’s taking no notice while Sherlock is saying] ‘Look! A picture of a house!’
MARK: I was expecting at some stage while we were filming [at Appledore] that the lawn would come up and Thunderbird 2 [would appear].
(As John finally starts to listen to what Sherlock’s talking about)
STEVEN (as John): All right, okay.
MARK (as John): Let’s get back to the plot.
STEVEN: Let’s get on with the episode! And he says, ‘Napoleon of blackmail,’ which of course is ripped off from ‘Napoleon of crime,’ which is Moriarty [in the original stories].
MARK: It was an interesting thing, wasn’t it? Having done Moriarty so swiftly...ish, Milverton is one of the really Class A baddies – it’s a fascinating, totally different kind of character.
(As Magnussen ‘reads’ Mrs Hudson’s file)
STEVEN: ‘Exotic dancer.’ ‘Semi-reformed alcoholic’!
STEVEN: I liked ‘semi-reformed’!
MARK (to Una): You never knew, did you?
MARK: We had a hint.
UNA: I knew I’d been a bit fruity in my past!
MARK: Well, you know, we wrote it for you!
STEVEN: I also like that Mrs Hudson is perfectly happy to talk about all that. No-one can shut her up. They’re saying, ‘No, we want you to be this sweet old lady downstairs,’ but no – no she’s not.
MARK: And she has her herbal mixtures for her hip.
STEVEN: Oh, that’s right, back in Episode one [of Season 1].
STEVEN: And here he is: the tallest man in the universe.
(Sue hisses in a breath when Magnussen looks at John and ‘reads’ his file.)
STEVEN: He’s actually frightening me now.
MARK: It’s very interesting, isn’t it, talking about the equivalents again, what a person like Milverton in the original story and Magnussen this, what he represented. In the Victorian era he was a private gentleman and unimpeachable; here he is a newspaper magnate or, in fact, more than that. What would you call him? A ... [Mark pauses for a long time.] Only one word I can think of and I can’t say it, for libel reasons!
STEVEN: Yeah, I was just staying silent on that one. D’you know that Charles Augustus Milverton was based on a real person?
STEVEN: Yeah. I wish I’d remembered this, ’cause it would make the information I’m about to fail to impart so much more interesting. He was an art dealer or something, called Charles Augustus something-else, and he was found murdered in very mysterious circumstances. So we’re still dragging that man’s name through the mud!
UNA: When I first met Lars, he was telling me how he felt when he first saw the script for Sherlock. He said he was astounded and thrilled because, in Scandinavia, they don’t have scripts like that. The actors actually make up a lot of the dialogue themselves.
MARK: Never a good idea(!)
SUE: Also when I first met him, he’d clearly never seen Sherlock and didn’t seem to know much about it.
STEVEN: Incredible(!) Impossible!
MARK: Remember we went over to Copenhagen a couple of years ago for a TV festival, and the most amazing thing, they were all saying, ‘We want things like Sherlock,’ and we were all going, ‘But literally everybody’s beating a path to your door saying, ‘We want your things!’
(As Magnussen starts to pee in the fireplace)
MARK: This is filthy.
STEVEN: Now this is the moment at which he has to die. Nothing else he does is really that bad compared to weeing in Sherlock Holmes’ fireplace. There’s just no way you’re leaving this place alive.
MARK: And we know who had to clean it up, don’t we?!
STEVEN (as Mrs Hudson): Oh, Sherlock, you’ve done it again!
MARK: Fantastic speech and such a chilling notion that the UK is a petrie dish and if it works out, ‘I’ll try it in a real country.’ It’s exactly the disdain with which you feel our country is actually treated some of the time!
STEVEN: Yes ... by Scandinavia!
UNA: It was horrible when he throws the tissue on the floor.
STEVEN: The thing about Lars was, generally speaking, we would cut some of his dialogue from each scene because he would have done it all with the look. He would do so much just with his presence, with those fish eyes – which he doesn’t seem to have in real life. He’s such a lovely gentle man. His brother’s a cannibal, though.
MARK: He doesn’t talk about that!
STEVEN: I was watching [Hannibal] the other night – he’s terrifying. And he did horrible things to James Bond. How long before Lars is a Bond villain?
MARK: They’ve never done the double, have they? He could be Le Chiffre’s brother.
STEVEN: Le Chiffre Two.
(When Sherlock says, ‘Mary and I think seven [pounds]’)
MARK: So again we see Mary and Sherlock have become quite thick with each other. I remember very early on, the idea was that she would be taking violin lessons with him and he would be really looking forward to her coming round. And one day she comes round at the wrong time and says, ‘I’m here with a client,’ and everything changes.
(At CAM Global News)
SUE: This is an amalgamation of about three different locations. The outside was one.
MARK: And Tower 42 was the biggie.
MARK: It’s always amazing that there are so many places that do look as though they’re from the future now. You’d have to have built this once – now they’re everywhere.
STEVEN: All the stuff about the mobile phone erasing your card: when we were doing the TCAs for Sherlock in LA, that’s what I was warned – ‘Don’t put your card with your phone.’
UNA: Where is this building?
MARK: It’s in the City.
MARK: D’you know London?!
STEVEN: There was a car; we got out.
MARK: They’re all in the same bank-y bit.
STEVEN: I remember we were shooting there ...
SUE: ... shooting through the night ...
STEVEN: ... and there were fans standing outside ...
MARK: ... in the rain ...
STEVEN: ... staring at the walls of a building in which Benedict and Martin were standing, which is devotion.
SUE: ’Cause I went out and said, ‘There isn’t a scene out here and you’re about to miss the last train.’ They didn’t move; they stayed.
STEVEN: They died.
MARK: Next morning: all of them dead.
SUE: Now these [security men] here: these were street artists, which is why they’re so good at standing [still].
STEVEN: Well, we gave them a bit of help.
SUE: We gave them a bit of help, but they were stunningly good.
MARK: The moment they actually stop was really like a freeze-frame.
(Up in Janine’s office)
MARK: So this is Tower 42; and here is Sherlock’s terrible piece of ‘human error.’ So at this point, anybody who thought he’d got a bit soft ...
STEVEN: ... is about to learn that all he’s learned about human behaviour is how to manipulate it! ‘I can really simulate all those emotions you can do’!
(As Janine walks round the table to look at the computer screen)
STEVEN: Oh, Nick Hurran, behave!
MARK: Now you have to sort of backtrack and think: was she attached to Mary so that she became her friend so she could go to the wedding – is that all part of Magnussen’s ...
STEVEN: ... terrible web?
MARK: ‘Magnussen’s Terrible Web’ – the other [episode] title!
STEVEN: And again it’s the engagement which ... the only difference we made here [from the original Doyle story] is we made it a bit more dynamic, I suppose. It’s the moment of proposal which becomes [important].
MARK: Yes, rather than just reporting it.
(When Sherlock says, ‘She’s Magnussen’s PA – that’s the whole point’)
MARK: It’s horrible.
STEVEN: Yeah. Yeah!
STEVEN: He’s so good at that stuff, Benedict, isn’t he? He’s so perfect. You know, you somehow – because [Sherlock] just doesn’t get that he’s being vile – you sort of don’t hate him. There’s no smugness in it – he’s just, ‘I don’t understand why you’re objecting.’ And in fact he’s quite light-hearted: ‘There’s only so far I can go.’
MARK: They had to slow this lift down. Not when we were there – in the past, because it was so fast people were sick!
MARK: When you look at Benedict here, being completely cold and inhuman, and remember what he’s like in real life and how bumbly and charming he is.
STEVEN: And concerned.
MARK: It’s just a great performance, it really is.
STEVEN: He’s just so unlike this, yeah.
UNA: But they say if you want a nasty performance, get a nice person, often. ’Cause you’ve got to like the person to loathe them, haven’t you?
STEVEN: Well, he’s gonna be fascinatingly awful, Sherlock Holmes. You’ve got to sort of long for the next terrible thing he does.
MARK (as Sherlock goes into Magnussen’s office): This is one of those things when you realise that the availability of incredible office space in London, which is fantastic for filming but rather scary for the economy.
SUE: I know. The amount of floors that were empty.
MARK: Absolutely empty, yeah.
STEVEN: Quite spooky, wasn’t it?
MARK: I remember we went right up to look at the view, and it’s one of those things you just don’t see anywhere else, where suddenly London is so far below and it looks more like Tokyo or something – just all lights. Absolutely fantastic.
(In Magnussen’s apartment)
STEVEN: Now we’ve switched to Cardiff. We’re now in the set.
MARK: Magnussen genuinely afraid, I think – but always thinking.
STEVEN: It must be said here: let’s hear it for Mary Morstan. Mary figures out the only thing you can do with Magnussen at this point – just kill him, which Sherlock is gonna take another hour to get to! ‘Okay, I’ll just shoot him in the face.’
MARK: Even she’s cleverer than him now!
STEVEN: Everyone’s cleverer than Sherlock!
(As Sherlock’s various previous deductions about Mary resolve into the single word ‘Liar’)
SUE: This was where we found that we’d spelled it wrong.
MARK: D’you remember Nick’s original cut, the moment of revealing Mary. It just didn’t happen.
STEVEN: It was so long!
MARK: He was doing everything possible. ‘We must see her now, otherwise we’ll forget what’s happened’!
(As Mary shoots Sherlock)
MARK: Ohh, we’ve just brought him back(!)
SUE (a little tetchily, looking at the bullet hole): Really expensive shirts. Costume [Department] going, [plaintively] ‘Do we really need to do another one?’!
STEVEN: Now, to answer the question that everyone asks, which is why does that – in a moment ... Well, I’m pre-empting it.
(As Molly talks about the bullet)
STEVEN: I did my research for this. It’s still mostly wrong(!)
MARK: At least you tried.
STEVEN: [Loo] gets to wallop Benedict.
MARK: The Mind Palace – from a throwaway thing in Hounds – has become such a thing, and it’s incredibly useful, but also very exciting because it’s a bit like a dream sequence or the Matrix.
STEVEN: Oh, it’s fantastically good, but the absolute reality is it was because we got to the point in Baskerville where we realised Sherlock Holmes is basically gonna have to say, ‘Hang on, I’ve just remembered.’
MARK (as Sherlock): I know this bit!
(When Mycroft’s Diogenes office appears)
STEVEN: Ah, now, I think there’s a very handsome young man about to appear.
MARK (as the camera focuses on Mycroft): And here he is!
STEVEN: No, no, no; I said ‘young.’
(Sue and Una make ‘ahhh’ noises at first sight of young Sherlock.)
MARK: Who is that star of the future?
STEVEN: For those of you who don’t know, that’s Sue and I’s son.
(He joins in with the ‘ahhh’ noises. Then Mycroft is stern to his young brother.)
STEVEN: Are you being mean to my son, Mark?
MARK: He did audition, didn’t he? There was no nepotism involved.
SUE: And we said, ‘Oh, you probably won’t get the part. You’ve got the wrong coloured eyes,’ and this and this.
STEVEN: I remember telling him, ‘We are not giving you any support. We’re not even looking at your audition. Everyone else makes the choice. You have to get this part on merit alone,’ and he looked at me with what I thought was total understanding and said, ‘You are the worst dad in the world.’
SUE (as Louis): All other parents would be really supportive, but you just keep telling me I’m not going to get the job.
STEVEN: Then he triumphed.
MARK: And changed the colour of his eyes.
STEVEN: Yes, he wore contact lenses.
MARK: A little exciting moment, that is, in a young man’s life.
SUE: The funny thing was, the contact lens – ’cause it was quite dark on set, [it] meant that he really couldn’t see.
(The moment that Steven pre-empted earlier: the sliding pot plant)
STEVEN: Right – that plant is being ...
MARK: Off it goes on a fishing wire.
STEVEN: Just to screw with everyone’s heads.
MARK: Which it has done ever since.
STEVEN: The whole set was not tilted.
MARK: Ah, the mysterious Redbeard. Highest paid actor on the set!
[It’s not clear whether he’s referring to the dog or to Louis!]
MARK: Redbeard, of course, named after Sherlock’s pirate fixation as a child. Poor Redbeard.
(As Sherlock convulses on the floor)
STEVEN: Love that shot. That’s a great shot.
MARK: At this point people are thinking, ‘He’s only just come back from the dead. Goodness’ sake!’
STEVEN (as Sherlock runs into the padded cell): Speaking of which ...!
MARK: It tends to happen.
STEVEN: Andrew yet again turning up on the Sherlock set. [As himself] ‘We killed you at the end of the last season!’ [As Andrew] ‘Oh, I know, but ...’
MARK: I reminded Andrew about that day in the tube [the lift at Bart’s where Jim’s body was given the Sherlock disguise]: ‘It’s not over yet!’ It’s never over.
SUE: This was that mad day when we had units everywhere.
STEVEN: It’s a pretty disgusting set, that, isn’t it? Brilliant, but it’s disgusting. I remember when we were shooting this and we had Andrew on his knees; and then looking through the letterbox thing was Charles Augustus Magnussen ...
MARK: ... come to look into the Mind Palace!
STEVEN: And it was just frightening, those terrible eyes and I’m suddenly thinking, ‘Both of them are here!’ Villain overload!
UNA: So is this Arwel again, this set?
MARK: Obviously Andrew looks like that because he’s supposed to be sort-of corpse-like, but someone did ask me what was wrong with him. I thought, ‘Well, he’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with him’!
STEVEN: People don’t look their best when they’re dead. We checked; we researched!
STEVEN: Someone pointed out to me, and I didn’t even know, ’cause I am a fool, that I used the same rhyme in Jekyll. But I thought I’d made it up. I made it up twice!
MARK: Listen: steal from yourself – that’s the way to do it!
STEVEN: But I don’t even know I’m doing it!
STEVEN: I mean, this is all madness, but I do rather love it.
MARK: But [Sherlock’s] nearly going. It’s the actual idea that he might have to leave John without knowing what Mary’s really like that sort of brings him back. It’s very exciting.
STEVEN: Plus he hears the Hero Music and thinks, ‘Oh, right, yeah. I’m on now.’ And at some point during it, I think it’s on the staircase, Benedict actually manages to hurt his hand, doesn’t he? Oh, no, it was banging on the door.
SUE: It was in Episode two, banging on [Sholto’s bedroom] door.
STEVEN: Up the stairs he comes. Hooray. You can’t keep a truly atrocious amoral man down!
MARK: I hope not!
STEVEN: These are rubbish doctors(!) They were really embarrassed after that. ‘We thought he was dead!’
MARK: They were on the way home! They were packing up!
STEVEN (as the doctors): Look, it was just unplugged! Oh no!
MARK: [Sherlock’s] taking that long to get up the stairs because he’s wearing that Coat in the middle of summer. He’s never managed to work out how to take it off.
STEVEN: Well, this is true because we have tried to give him a summer coat. We always just end up saying, ‘No, he has to wear the Coat. He always wears the Coat.’
SUE: We do make a coat every year, don’t we, and reject it.
MARK: The thing is, at the end, he takes it off and he has the suit, and that’s fine, but he still has to put it on sometimes.
On to part 2