Sherlock season 3 returns to SA screens

2014-01-23 16:25
Cape Town - The much anticipated season 3 of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman returns to South African screens this Friday.

BBC Entertainment will be bringing Sherlock Season 3 to South African audiences hot off the heels of the United Kingdom transmission.

The question on everyone’s lips is finally answered as Sherlock returns in three brand new action-packed adventures. The game is on for Sherlock and John in The Empty Hearse, The Sign of Three and finally, His Last Vow.

In an exclusive interview with BBC Entertainment, co-creator Steven Moffat dishes on the new series.

Q: How did you manage to keep the manner in which Sherlock faked his own death at the end of the last series secret?
A: You just don’t tell anyone! You also rely on a lot of goodwill. I think it’s really important to keep it secret. It’s terribly unexciting if you read the secret in the papers. What’s exciting is to see how we do tell you at the
beginning of the third series. It’s not a state secret. We’re not being grumpy about it. We are simply trying to make the show more fun to watch. People have been speculating wildly for the last 18 months. But I can assure you that the reunion is worth the wait.

Q: What are the ramifications when Sherlock returns "from the dead"?
A: He thinks things will be exactly as he left them. But inevitably there is a certain amount of fallout from him reappearing out of the blue. There have to be major repercussions. It’s not as easy as Sherlock would like it to be. People have been hurt. What viewers love are the scenes between Sherlock and John. The show is entirely about their relationship with a bit of detection thrown in. It’s a story about a detective, rather than a detective story. Detection is low down on the list.

Q: Is Sherlock different in this third series?
A: Yes. That’s what we did to him last year - we have forced him to grow up. He was very much a child in the first series. In the second series, he encountered love and loss and fear and that shaped him. Now we simply move him closer to the Sherlock you’re more used to seeing. So in this series, he has a more suave
veneer. As the stories progress, he becomes more charming, funnier, more  apparently human, but still with spiky moments of terrifying psycho-ness. The frustrating thing with a character like this is that if he never learns  anything, he doesn’t seem very clever. So he has to get better at dealing with people.

Q: Why did you go for a modern setting?
A: I would argue that our interpretation is very, very close to the original. It’s only updating it. It’s quite surprising to go back to the original and  imagine how modern those stories must have seemed in The Strand magazine compared to the rest of Victorian literature. Sherlock was 800 times faster than anything else in Victorian times. It must have been a shock to readers back  then. He was an imperiously, militantly modern man who talked about science and microscopes and all sorts of new-fangled things like that. But as the years have passed, a layer of dust has fallen on it. He was living in what to him was the modern world, but to us is a sepia-tinted photograph. By moving him back to  where he really belongs, which is the same city as you and me, we’ve made a  version of Sherlock Holmes which seems as modern to our audience as it was
to the original readers of The Strand magazine.

Q: What difference does Watson’s marriage to Mary (played by Martin Freeman’s real-life partner Amanda Abbington) make to his relationship with Sherlock?
A: The first thing to say is that Amanda is a fantastic presence on set. She changes the dynamic in a very interesting way. In the past, Mary has been  treated as an interloper and is always portrayed as cross about things. But in this version, Holmes likes her and she likes him. The other difference is that Watson has moved out. These two men are well off and clearly wouldn’t choose to live together forever. So now Watson is always coming round to see Holmes – and thinking, "God knows what I’ll find!” Mary is very tolerant. She says to her husband, "Now go off and have fun."  It’s almost as if she is quite glad to get him out from under her feet. He asks, "May I?", and she replies, "Oh, go on then!"

Q: Finally, why do you think these stories have endured so well?
A: Conan Doyle’s genius was to bring together two of the most unlikely friends who together form a whole. We join them at the beginning, which is just the  right moment. John has lost his mojo, and Sherlock is on the verge of becoming a psycho. The story is about the slow humanisation of Sherlock. He often says to John, "You’re my only friend." He means it very sincerely because John has  changed his life. By starting very early in their friendship, we can explore that. Their friendship is not already set in stone. They are not two
middle-aged men sitting around in the drawing room smoking their pipes!

Check out the trailer of the new series here:

Sherlock airs on BBC Entertainment (channel 120 on DStv) on Friday 24th January at 20:00.

(Photo: BBC)

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