Co-Creator Live Chats: Steven Moffat
Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat chats with fans about season 2 of the hit series, the dramatic conclusion of episode three, The Reichenbach Fall, and more.
For full transcript read more below, or you can visit the PBS site HERE
[Please Note: Contains Spoilers]
Hello, and welcome to our MASTERPIECE Live Chat today with Steven Moffat, co-creator of Sherlock with Mark Gatiss. We’ll begin in just a few minutes. Feel free to start sending us your questions now!
So let’s get this show on the road!
You have developed quite a reputation due to your highly intense and emotional style of writing in “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who.” Where do you get the inspiration for all these crazy ideas?
Well mainly, in the case of Sherlock, from Doyle. Obviously our version has become known as the emotional version, but the fact is, people wore black arm bands when the Victorian Holmes died. So this is nothing new! All down to Doyle!
How many series of Sherlock would you like to do?
167. Oh, who knows. Mark and I are probably up for doing it forever, but we’re not the main deal. But it’s occasional, short-run status will probably extend its life. For myself and Mark, we could never be tired of Sherlock Holmes.
Elizabeth R. Elizabeth R.:
Obviously the three-episode-a-season nature of the series means you have a lot of flexibility with which cases you choose from Conan Doyle’s stories, but would you ever consider doing an entirely original case—or one based off the Rathbone films?
Certainly, we’d consider anything.
Will Irene Adler ever return?
And we consider everything canon, and we LOVE Rathbone.
Irene - oh it’s hard to know. What’s left of their story? They’ve admitted how they feel - in their bonkers ways - what’s left to tell, I could be lying of course, I could have the next chapter all sorted out in my head, in tragic, romantic, twisty-turny detail….
Where was your favourite location to film in the past two series?
Ha! Better question for Mark and Sue, who frankly turn up more often! I can tell you their least favourite location was the morgue. For myself, I LOVE it when we’re in 221B.
Would you consider allowing a spin-off from Sherlock?
If there was a good one, and it wouldn’t damage the mother ship. Always good to have more. But not good to have the same amount spread over a wider area, which CAN happen with the spin-off.
Steven, what is it that you admire about Mark and Steven Thompson’s writing? And how easy was it to work all three into the script?
I think Mark has an incredible grasp of the gothic and the scary, but such glee in them that he never forgets to make it FUN. His love of the grotesque makes the grotesque weirdly attractive. Steve has a HUGE MATHEMATICAL BRAIN, which can scare Mark and me, but I like his humourous character stuff most of all - effortless jokes that makes you laugh before you’ve noticed them. But they’re both BRILLIANT writers is the main thing - best of the best.
Did you ever write yourselves into a hole in season 2 and go, “How can we get ourselves out of this one?”
No. Because we dug the hole, based on hole plans, and a number of hole meetings, and with approval from the Hole Committee. MInd you, Baskerville is a sod to make sense of. Thanks, Sir Arthur!!
Where did you get some of your original ideas? For example, (to my recollection), Sherlock didn’t have a mind palace in canon, so where’d you get the inspiration to put that in?
That scene was a bugger to get right. Because if you look at it, all it really consists of is Sherlock going “Hang on, I’ve just remembered something important which I failed to mention earlier in the plot … ” We had to DISGUISE that. And during one of our many anguished meetings about making sense of Baskerville, we remembered Derren Brown and his mind palace, So we nicked that, Mark wrote a very funny scene, and no one noticed that it’s a tiny bit of a cheat, Shhhh!!!
Do you think Sherlock will get more emotional in the upcoming series? We saw a considerable progress from series one to series two.
Well I don’t think he’ll ever go soft. In the originals, he DOES become a wiser, funnier, marginally more heroic figure as time goes on - but he retains that terrifying core that makes him special. Somehow it chills all the more, when it’s more disguised. I don’t anyone will ever think he’s TOO emotional.
Describe in one word the story of how Sherlock faked his death.
Were Sherlock’s tears in Reichenbach real?
He’s Sherlock Holmes, he knew exactly what he was doing. Sentimentalise him at your peril.
What are the chances of Moriarty coming back from the dead? Andrew Scott has been amazing in the role.
MASTERPIECE Feature - Actor Andrew Scott and co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat take us into the mind of a madman in “The Making of Moriarty.”
Did you SEE all that blood???
I find Moriarty so incredible… I would never have imagined him like that by reading the books. You’ve done a wonderful job.
Thankyou! A lot down to Andrew.
Have you thought about making a cameo appearance in the next season?
No, Never will. Can’t act. I leave that to my much cleverer collaborator.
So Irene then. Did Sherlock truly love her? Or was she merely the catalyst for him discovering his heart and/or emotions?
We also saw ALL THAT BLOOD coming out of Sherlock’s head too. LOL!
Oh does it MEAN when a boy hacks up terrorists for you with a great big sword? She’s one of the few people on Earth he cares about, whatever that means in his case. Fascinated by here. Thrilled by her. And for a moment, when he saw her, he thought maybe, just maybe, there’s somebody else like me. What else is going on, the great man has not confided in his biographers.
Even though it was just a coincidence, because this was filmed & aired inUKa while back prior to last night, using Bee Gees for Moriarty’s ring tone was a nice send up to Robin Gibbs, RIP
Very, very sad. Nice too, but mostly sad.
Mycroft is a very complex character. Will we see much more of him?
Yes, there’s an upcoming shower scene. Mark’s going to the gym already. Other than that, yes, we love Mycroft. Became a much bigger, more important than we expected, especially in Scandal. Somehow - for me, anyway - he’s the key to Sherlock. Imagining that past, those boys, that home….
WHY did Mycroft free Moriarty to begin with?
Who can understand the mind of Mycroft? They’d got all they could from him - nothing.
Will we see the other members of the Holmes family (aside from Sherlock and Mycroft)?
Wait and see. There are no other in the originals.
Mr Moffat, will there be Col. Sebastian Moran in the 3rd season of ‘Sherlock’? So many fans want to see this character and the relationships between Moran and Moriarty (as flashback maybe). What actor could play him? What do you think about the fan version - Michael Fassbender as Sebastian Moran?
Not telling you.
Could you ever see Sherlock and John traveling outside theUKfor an episode, like Doctor Who?
Such a tease.
It would have to be story-driven, and I’m not telling you about upcoming stories. You have to have a good reason to take him out ofLondon, though. It’s a veryLondonshow (made inCardiff!!)
Do you secretly enjoy winding up all the fans?
How much time do you personally spend on set during filming? With so many projects, do you simply leave the magic in the hands of Paul McGuigan & Co., or do you like to be right there in the midst of it all as it unfolds?
Sue always on set, Mark very often on set, me the least. But one of the three of us will be around. It’s a very tightly run show - by the time we get to the shoot, the decisions are pretty much taken. I always think if I’ve got something vital to do on a shooting day, clearly I’ve made a big mistake somewhere. Which DOES happen. Was on set for quite a lot of Scandal, cos Sue made me - and because I’d just finished the Who Xmas special.
Your show made me start reading Sherlock Holmes, and I now have a passion for it. How does it feel to introduce a new generation to Sherlock Holmes?
Great. Nothing Mark and I would like better. We’ve never wanted there to be spinoff books of our version of Sherlock, cos if you want to READ it you should read Doyle. Nobody does it better.
Now that Sherlock is huge on an international level, are you planning on bringing in more household-name-actors? And congrats on the BAFTA award, good luck next sunday!!
Wishing Benedict, Martin & Andrew the best of luck in BAFTA!
We cast the RIGHT people, not the most famous. Anyway, right now it’s tough to be bigger than Benedict and Martin!
When “Reichenbach” aired in theUK, you said that fans had missed an important clue. Have they found it yet?
You’d better ask them.
What are Benedict and Martin like to work with? Any good behind the scenes stories for us?
Well, they’re both very lovely and very brilliant. But it’s a fast-paced show to make, not a lot of anecdote space. Trying to think of something funny. Benedict fell over once, it was hilarious. But you had to be there. And you weren’t. Sorry.
Will Molly show up more? Her character growth has been wonderful.
Oh we love Molly. Molly will be back
What do you think is the best way to heal Post-Reichenbach-Depression?
Many fans are very interested in one question. Is there any some sort of love between Sherlock and John?
Of course they love each other! How could they go through all their adventures and not love each other? There’s all kinds of love.
Enter for your chance to win the Grand Prize of one of ten Sherlock 1 & 2 DVD Combo sets in the MASTERPIECE Sherlock Sweepstakes (US Only)!
They love each other very much. The whole story is that, always has been - these two unshakeable friends who complete each other, and redeem each other. It’s a story over a century old, and we show no sign of getting tired of it, and why should we? Some people want that love to be, well, more romantic, and good luck to them. Everyone should enjoy the show the way they want to and all interpretations are equally valid - I’m only a writer. Personally, I thought Charlie’s Angels all lived in the same jacuzzi - I was happy
Did you think about making a few hints in Sherlock about Doctor Who, or other way round?
Oh, there’s quite a few if you know where to look.
Would you ever consider filming at Undershaw, Doyle’s former home in Hindhead?
Again, it would have to be story-driven.
If you could take one object from the real 221B, what would you take?
A chair by the fire, and I’d refuse to move, until I was allowed to go out on a case!!
Did Irene Adler live at the former “Upstairs Downstairs” house —#44 Eaton Place?
Erm. I don’t know, sorry. Tell you what, though. Some of the interior scenes were shot in the same house as Blink!! Ooh, new nerd fact!! Internet, brace yourself!
Are you going to incorporate more original characters such as Molly Hooper or is that a one time thing?
I love Molly! She is my favorite!
Molly happened as a one-off deal, to help introduce Sherlock, and we’d already decided not to invent our own regulars. But Mark and I, sitting at the monitors, fell in love with Loo, and Mark came up with gay boyfriend gag. And we all know how THAT ended up!!
Is there any significance of the ring on Mycroft’s right hand?
It has a concealed laser. Probably.
Benedict is an otter, Martin is a hedgehog. What animal do you think Mark Gatiss is? What animal are you?
Mark is a creature previously unknown to science. I’m a Grump. The only one in the world - or maybe all the others just fell out with me.
Do you have any more location nerd facts?
No. That was it. Sorry.
Have you worked out how senseless John is going to throttle Sherlock when he discovers he’s not dead?
Wait and see.
In a previous interview, you said that you kept up with all of the online theories about how Sherlock successfully tricked everyone. Has anyone gotten close?
Yeah, that was AGES ago. I stopped looking so I don’t know.
DO YOU ENJOY WATCHING US SUFFER?
I can’t actually SEE you, that’s an unpleasant rumour. Probably.
What was the trickiest part of planning/writing season 3?
I’ll let you know in a year!!
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to become a writer?
Write. Write lots. Don’t ask for advice, just write. And read the kind of stuff you want to write, because that’s the only advice that matters. If it’s screenplays, read William Goldman’s - he know EVERYTHING.
Could you give us any clues about the canon stories you were inspired by for the third series?
Yes. They were written by Doyle.
I know many fans won’t agree with me, but I love the waiting between the different series. I mean, I’ve watched the episode 10 times, and I never get bored. My imagination is running wild, and I love how you get the fan to /think/ about everything. Besides, series three will be extra-amazing when released.
No pressure then!!
What’s your favourite case from the past two series?
I honestly love them all. I could never choose!
Is there anything you can tell us about series 3 that you haven’t already?
Re: the ending of Reichenbach Fall, did you consider NOT showing Sherlock at the end?
You’re such a tease! And we love you for that.
No, that was our first plan. Everyone knows he survives. We wanted a definite dead scene in Watson’s arms. a graveside and ta-da!!
Steven, Mark and you have given to me the best nightmares ever, thank you so much. you two are the best. never change.
Thankyou, very kind. More and worse to come. Oh yes.
How many times did you actually read the original books?? It’s quite amazing you’ve included such specific details -Vaticancameos for instance.
No idea. A lot, but I couldn’t even guess.
And, last but not least, our final question —
Aside from Moriarty, who is your personal favorite canon criminal?
Can I vote for Helen Mirren to play a hypothetical Mummy Holmes?
This villain I’m pointing at now, in my series 3 story document. That one right there. LOVE that one. Oooh!!
Thanks for participating in today’s Live Chat with Steven Moffat! Special thanks to Steven for taking the time to be with us!
Such a fan!!! You are an amazing storyteller and look forward to more of your work in both sherlock and doctor who!
‘Sherlock’ is absolutely brilliant! Thank you for creating such superb series. You have brought lots of happiness (and some tears) to me and many other people.
No worries. Bye.
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