Show of the week: Sherlock

As befits a drama series about the world’s best-known sleuth, season two of Sherlock ended on a cliff-hanger that saw viewers led to believe Sherlock Holmes had fallen to his death. That evidently was not the case as UK broadcaster the BBC is getting ready to show another three part instalment of the reworked Arthur Conan Doyle stories.

The same three-man writing team of Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen), Steve Thompson (Doctor Who) and Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) are behind the series and Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness) returns as the titular detective Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) as his sidekick, John Holmes. With the main stars now in demand for feature work the shooting schedule is a challenge for the series, says producer Sue Vertue.

The stories in the series are amalgamations and reworkings of Conan Doyle’s classic tales with The Adventures of the Empty House (titled The Empty Hearse in the series), in which the author tells how Holmes has faked is own death,opening season three. Other instalments will be based on The Sign of Four (The Sign of Three in the series) and His Last Bow (His Last Vow).

The relationship between Holmes and Watson is one element of the story very much brought up to date in Sherlock. Season three sees the detective’s companion getting married to Mary Morstan and, Vertue tells TBI, Holmes is on best man duty at the wedding, a detail omitted from the books.

About 25% of the show is shot in London and the remainder in Wales. Another London address, Gower Street, double as Holmes’ iconic 221b Baker Street address and was besieged by up to 1,000 fans during shooting for the third season, which started in March. The rest of the show is shot in Wales

Guest stars in season three include Lars Mikkelsen (Thunderbirds) as villain Charles Augustus Magnussen and Amanda Abington (Mr Selfridge) will also join the cast. Vertue says Hartswood,the writing team and cast are committed to making more of the show as long as the demand is there. Season two averaged 10.2 million viewers and a 32.5% share, almost a third up on the slot average and beating all competition from other channels.

The BBC is keeping season three scheduling details under wraps but it will debut in the UK in early 2014. BBC Worldwide distributes the Hartswood Films-produced show and will be selling the new season to buyers at MIPCOM. Worldwide has sold the previous instalments to 180 territories.


The show: Sherlock

Producer: Hartswood Films

Distributor: BBC Worldwide

Concept: Contemporary take on the classic detective stories

Airing: BBC One (UK)