Ariane DeVere (arianedevere) wrote,
Ariane DeVere

“Sherlock” Special DVD extra: ‘Mark Gatiss – A Study in Sherlock’

The Abominable Bride DVD extra: ‘Mark Gatiss – A Study in Sherlock’

[Not to be mistaken with the fanfic of the same title ;-) {Obviously without the ‘Mark Gatiss’ bit!}]

This is a transcript of new material which appears only on the ‘Mark Gatiss – A Study in Sherlock’ Special Feature of the DVD. It does not include a transcript of the clips from the episode which are shown throughout the feature, 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 – A Study in Sherlock’

MARK GATISS: On July the 10th 2010, the door to two hundred and twenty-one B Baker Street was re-opened and our contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective Sherlock Holmes was unveiled on the BBC. In our stories, the traditionally Victorian character is transformed into a modern-day detective who – along with his flatmate Doctor John Watson – investigates crimes set in contemporary London. But in this Special, a dramatic plot twist sees our Sherlock return to a Victorian setting, investigating a case that will help him finally understand the final moments of his arch-enemy Jim Moriarty. Now I have the chance to step back on set, meet with the show’s characters, and look back through our archives to see just why the stories about this private detective and his companion continue to draw viewers in their millions around the world. Welcome to my Study in Sherlock.

MARK (voiceover): Following the success of the first three series of Sherlock, we decided to do a one-off 90-minute Sherlock Special. As co-creators and writers, Steven Moffat and myself now had the opportunity to do something we hadn’t done with our Sherlock before. As avid fans of the original stories, we set this Sherlock Special in the Victorian period, allowing us to re-engage with Arthur Conan Doyle’s works more than ever before.

MARK (talking with Benedict): When Steven and I pitched the idea ...
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: I really did think you’d finally lost it! Completely!
MARK: Tell me what your first reaction was, ’cause I can remember.
BENEDICT: I thought – I thought, ‘Oh God, we’re in real trouble.’ The very first time you pitched it to me, before talking about what might happen afterwards, I thought, ‘They’re mad.’

MARTIN FREEMAN (talking with Mark): I like the Victorian ... it’s like a breath of fresh air, innit? Because obviously we’re quite familiar with the show now and how it works, and the set-up and the world, and to make it still familiar but just with a slight left turn is great, you know. I think what we have done quite well is manage to keep it just ... slightly spreading it, slightly breaking those boundaries while keeping them ‘in the world.’

MARK (voiceover): The first week’s filming marked an important re-introduction of our show’s main characters in a scene which heavily references Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes story.

MARK: So here we are on the set of Bart’s Hospital. This is the morgue, as featured in the original first story, A Study in Scarlet, where young Stamford introduces his friend Doctor Watson to a mysterious stranger called Sherlock Holmes. We’ve done this scene before – twice before – because we did it for the pilot and then for A Study in Pink and now we’re sort of restoring it to its factory settings by doing it in its original Victorian setting. Steven and I were very keen on – from the beginning of the whole project – was to dramatise certain things which had not been done; and really actually I think our version in Sherlock may be the first time that scene’s ever been dramatized. (He mimes thrashing a corpse.) The other big thing here is the first meeting, and that’s very rarely done. The default setting is to have Sherlock and John in their fifties, having known each other for a long time, sitting round a fireplace having adventures, which is of course perfectly right and legitimate, but our decision to start from the beginning again unfolds lots of aspects which are from Conan Doyle but very much less familiar.

MARK (voiceover): When we wrote the first series of Sherlock, none of us imagined how well-received it would be. Growing up, I was a huge fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters and I still remember being captivated by the brilliance of Sherlock’s mind.

MARK (to Ben): As a reader, as a child, I remember the thrill ...
MARK: ... that you would get when a client would say ... would be doing their story and Sherlock would say something like, “Has he been in America?”
BENEDICT: It’s so left-field.
MARK: ... and you go, (in a whisper) “What does that mean?!”
BENEDICT (smiling): Yes.
MARK: Actually, that’s very true; it’s actually a very clever way of suggesting a great intelligence and also an exciting secret to come, because it’s out of nowhere.
BENEDICT: Absolutely, and I think, you know, at the beginning, very much Sherlock needed to grandstand his intelligence, because he was trying to woo Watson into being his companion. As far as that relationship goes, I think it was very important in the beginning for Sherlock to really entertain and just ... and sort of encapture ... captivate Watson and really impress him.

MARK (to Martin): The John Watson who is initially astonished by Sherlock’s powers can’t keep doing that.
MARTIN: No, that’s true, that’s true. That’s a definite development, and that’s less a kind of clever-clever way, I guess, that we and you have changed him rather than a totally kosher piece of how a friendship develops, because ‘what surprised me first about you ten years ago doesn’t surprise me any more,’ and like you said, John stops at some point going, “Amazing, Holmes!”

MARK (voiceover): For all of us on the show, it’s important to say that it’s not only the characters that have played a huge role in the success of the series, but also the casting.

STEVEN MOFFAT (talking with Mark): There is genuine magic in Benedict and Martin together.
MARK: Yeah.
STEVEN: Brilliant as they are individually, the two of them on form together, it’s like Morecambe and Wise. You sort of know that will always be better if they’re on that screen together.

MARK (voiceover): As devoted followers of his work, we’re fully aware that, in creating the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson, Arthur Conan Doyle invented a literary blueprint that still proves successful today.

MARK: He invents the detective double-act to such an extent that every iteration since ... You know, Agatha Christie famously said, “Well, my Holmes has to have a Watson; my Poirot has to have a Hastings; these things happen.” And then he creates the ultimate supervillain.
STEVEN: So every hero now needs a Watson, and every hero needs a Moriarty. He’s just invented all of that.

MARK (voiceover): Other than Doyle’s world-beating crime-solving partnership and iconic villains, what else helps our version of Sherlock connect with a global audience?

STEVEN: Sherlock, in his very first episode, seemed simultaneously like something entirely brand sparkly new and something as old as the hills in the same moment. It was both traditional and completely new. And maybe when you can get both those things in the same frame, in the same heartbeat, you have something that is ... is that ridiculous expression ‘instant classic.’

MARK (voiceover): Although we worked hard to establish a contemporary Sherlock, we’ve always talked about returning our hero to his original world when the time was right ... if only for a while.

STEVEN: There are things to say about our series that can only be said by putting them back in the Victorian world. Although we are very faithful to the world of Doyle and the style of Doyle, there are changes we’ve made because it’s been updated, and only by saying, “Now, take our version, put it back in the Victorian 221B,” and you suddenly see that it all shifts around.

MARK (voiceover): One clear example of this is what happens to our normally-strong female characters when placed back in the Victorian period.

MARK: We’re on Baker Street today, filming the scene right at the beginning of the film where it’s basically Lestrade comes and essentially delivers the case, which is that a woman called Emelia Ricoletti has blown her brains out, and it’s also the seeds of the plot, that we see Doctor Watson’s very Victorian attitude towards his wife, and her straining at the corsets – as it were – of Victorian attitudes.

MARK (to Amanda Abbington): What did you know about Mrs Watson before?
AMANDA: I didn’t know anything. I was more of an Enid Blyton girl when I was little, so I didn’t really know much about Conan Doyle. I didn’t want to read much about her because I wanted to come fresh to it, but I got the essence of her. But, as you said, you didn’t write her as Conan Doyle did, which is brilliant because I would have been in and out in a flash.
MARK: D’you find it interesting to explore – retrospectively – Victorian attitudes towards women which obviously are very different to those in the modern show?
AMANDA: Yes. There’s elements where she has to be slightly more subservient, but it doesn’t really feel particularly like she’s being repressed, sort of thing, because you haven’t written it like that. There are elements of it but ...
MARK: It’s more about ... it’s trying to present society’s attitude.
AMANDA: Yeah. And it’s really interesting because then, when you take those corsets off ...
MARK and AMANDA (simultaneously): ... literally ...
AMANDA: ... and figuratively, it’s like you realise how far we’ve come ...
MARK: ... and how much you had for lunch!
AMANDA: Yeah – which is an awful lot!
MARK: Our big thing with Series 3 was to essentially introduce the new element. It sort of becomes a three-hander. I know you didn’t know she was going to turn out to be what she was.
AMANDA: Oh, God, no, not at all, not at all. That was a real surprise. I mean, you’d said to me there was elements, you know; she had a side to her, this dark side, but you didn’t tell me what it was until we got the third episode. Martin and I got the third episode [scripts] at the same time and we sat on our sofa and we read them together and when it got to that bit where it says, ‘And she shoots Sherlock,’ we both ... (she mimes them gasping and flailing) ... ‘This is just so exciting!’

MARTIN: Yeah, I didn’t see it coming.
(Mark laughs.)
MARTIN: I really liked ... I like being surprised, and that’s happened relatively rarely that you’re surprised by a show, and I think that’s what this show manages to do pretty well. It does manage genuinely to surprise us, I think. And that was a huge ... I didn’t see that coming at all.

BENEDICT: Mary is this unexpected sparring partner, not a wedge between the male friendship and relationship but very much the glue of it, and something that bridges the differences. And there’s a huge amount of alliance, not just in skill sets and appreciation of an intellect, and maybe an outsider – a female assassin’s not an everyday species; neither is Sherlock Holmes.

MARK (voiceover): In Series 2, it was Irene Adler who proved herself more than Sherlock’s equal.

BENEDICT: There are women that are as capable, if not more, because they have emotional intelligence in the can. They’re just instinctively brilliant at that, as well as everything else that they can match him on.

MARK (voiceover): Whilst Mary and Irene have proved a match for Sherlock, one lady has become his staunch ally and proved increasingly popular with fans.

MARK (with Una): TV’s Una Stubbs, national treasure.
UNA (laughing): No!
MARK: How are you?
UNA: I’m very well, thank you.
MARK: You’ve just finished your last shot on the Special.
UNA: It’s nice to be in the warm!
MARK: Yes! (To the camera) She’s always complaining. (Looking away) She’s not.
UNA: I’m so not!
MARK: She’s not. So tell us about what you knew of Mrs Hudson as a character when you were first asked to play the part.
UNA: I sort of knew of Mrs Hudson as being somebody rather grumpy and austere and superior, and for some reason I didn’t feel it that way. And because I’m a mother of three sons, it seemed apt to be motherly with the boys.
MARK: We could have easily sort of made her into a much more forbidding or judgemental figure, but I think she’s sort of like the mum we all want, really. How do you think Sherlock actually regards her?
UNA: He wouldn’t admit it, but I think he loves her as a granny or a mummy, and I think that showed it.

MARK (voiceover): And when the game is nearly up for Sherlock in the Special, following a drug overdose, it’s his older and smarter brother Mycroft who is again first to understand his dilemma.

MARK: Today we are filming in the studio set of the private plane from the end of His Last Vow, and this is where we finally break the Victorian mould and show that the entire thing’s taken place in the five minutes since Mycroft rang Sherlock up and the plane landing. This is a real window into their past, and we have a little flashback scene of them both, late teenagers or early twenties, when Sherlock was off on one of his benders and Mycroft sort of saw him through cold turkey, really. There’s a little glimpse here of a window into Sherlock’s druggy past.

BENEDICT: That warm-blooded filial relationship is very interesting, and it just takes the repetitiveness of competition and aggravation. There’s something a little deeper and richer there to explore.
MARK: We’ve always suggested that really Mycroft’s ... It all comes from a position of love.
MARK: He wants Sherlock inside the tent because he cares about him.
BENEDICT: Yeah. Obviously he knows Sherlock’s vulnerability, he knows what he’s gone through as an addict in the years before.
MARK: I would say more than anything, he knows Sherlock is vulnerable to these things.
BENEDICT: Mycroft has to maintain a kind of paradigm, a structure of order which Sherlock Holmes rides roughshod over in his desperation to be as good as Mycroft. Perversely, Mycroft – even though he doesn’t have the attributes which he teases Sherlock of having, as Moriarty does, a companion ... ‘Oh, what’s it like to have one of these humans with you?’ – not only is it small brother, little brother, syndrome with the bigger brother being better, more brilliant, faster, more capable as an intellect, but also ... and that’s spurring this kind of almost obsessive drive to be – as brilliant as Sherlock is – to try and keep up and match Mycroft.

MARK (voiceover): Sherlock and John have faced their fair share of villains, but none have proved as memorable as Jim Moriarty. Originally introduced by Arthur Conan Doyle to kill off Sherlock Holmes, undoubtedly the success of the consulting criminal Moriarty has helped our Sherlock to thrive.

MARK: Today we’ve finally arrived at Baker Street for the big confrontation scene between Sherlock and Moriarty. It’s not the first time we’ve done this. It’s a sort of version of the big scene, the famous scene from The Final Problem which we sort of did at the swimming pool, and then we sort of did in The Reichenbach Fall, and we’re finally doing it in its Victorian version, but this time it’s very different because this is essentially the spectre of Moriarty haunting Sherlock’s subconscious mind. It’s fantastic to have Andrew Scott back with us. He keeps thinking that he’s finished with Sherlock ... (Mark laughs) ... and we keep reeling him back in! It’s a wonderful scene; very exciting to see them sparring again. I always like these things: they’re like, a tyrannosaurus and a triceratops clashing in an old dinosaur movie, battle of the titans like this.
ANDREW SCOTT (to Mark): The great thing about Moriarty, the way that you’ve handled the character is that we never see him doing stuff that sort of disappoints the audience or lets that feeling of tension go. He’s never over-used, and so it’s always ... it’s really beautiful to do, and I think the challenge with it is to keep it surprising, because it’s very easy to go into what people ... once something becomes successful ... to go into what people expect you to do, and then it’s not scary.
MARK: We were faced straightaway with a bit of a dilemma, which is that Conan Doyle essentially created the supervillain in Moriarty, and every single one since ... not just Moriarty; this is basically a version of it – the scene we’re doing now, there’s a confrontation scene you will always see.
ANDREW: Yeah. I think that’s why it worked in casting. Number one: somebody that wasn’t immediately recognisable for the British public; and two: somebody that you wouldn’t associate necessarily with looking scary. But there’s that great expression that you don’t cast actors based on the way they look; it’s something about their spirit. And I’ve always thought before I started on Sherlock that I’d like to play a sort of dark person. I think I’m the only person who’s allowed to say I don’t necessarily have to look at him as dark. It’s about sadness and loneliness, really, for me.

MARK (voiceover): In true Moriarty fashion, this wouldn’t be the last that Sherlock would see of his arch-enemy. This master criminal has proved that he will always be part of Sherlock’s make-up.
MARK: This is Waterfall Day. This has been anticipated for a very long time. I had this idea a long time ago to try and actually do the Reichenbach fall, because in our version we obviously had Sherlock going off the top of Bart’s Hospital but we never really got to do the version from Conan Doyle. It seemed irresistible to me to actually have the final confrontation at the Falls. Really this is now the ultimate confrontation here at the Reichenbach Falls. You can have all kind of different shades of villainy, but I suppose in the end Moriarty is always the ultimate. The word is a byword for villainy. Sherlock Holmes will be forever linked with Moriarty.

MARK: Watching it on the screen, when we get to “Elementary, my dear Watson,” it makes me fill up.
MARK: It’s like it’s a summation of everything we’ve done, but we’ve waited ... We’ve never done the line, and then it actually happens in absolutely the perfect place.
STEVEN: That’s – I hope this works for the audience, I hope – is just when you think you’ve had all the treats you can have really, here’s one more.

A full list of episode transcripts, DVD commentary summaries/transcripts, and transcripts of the DVD special features can be found here.

Tags: dvd extra, sherlock, transcript

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