(There are a couple of mild spoiler photographs towards the end of this post. You cannot deduce any plot development from them however, hence their inclusion)
When you think about it, going to watch filming is a pretty strange way to spend your day. In effect, its just watching other people at work. Now I don’t know about you, but I’d be a little confused to find someone standing behind me watching me working for their own pleasure? Or any one of us on the Sherlockology team come to that, but you have to wonder, if the cast and crew of Sherlock feel the same?
Especially when those who are watching have been there all day! Yes they’ve been asked to move over there as standing here was in shot, or over that way as they need this area now for this or that. It starts to rain, they huddle under their umbrellas and those without just got wet. The cast, meanwhile, have umbrellas held over them if it was a brief shower, or sit in the waiting cars/trailers/hotel rooms (delete where applicable). Of course the majority of the crew weren’t that lucky and got wet like everyone else – although the luckiest of all were the camera crew, who had the most enormous umbrella we’d ever seen – but the point is, they were employed to be there in the rain, not enduring it voluntarily.
Whether it be rain, or as it later turned out, riots close by, still people will watch, rehearsal after rehearsal, take after take of the same scene even when it’s without any dialogue and simply cast getting into a car and shutting a door for example. The fact is though, no matter which way you look at it, people in general seem to be fascinated by the process…. and we wont deny, we are too.
Truth be told, not everyone who watches filming is there for the ‘process’, as let’s face it, Sherlock didn’t do too badly on their casting choices in terms of actors likely to attract a female fan base. Benedict, Martin and Rupert certainly have an army of very passionate fans each, and not just restricted to those who watch the filming of Sherlock, but we’ll get on to that later.
There is a drawback to watching something filmed that you love however, and take comfort in this those who are unable to go yourselves due to distance and so are reading this report for the next best thing (and the reason we write them incidentally)… you do sacrifice something in watching the process.
Sherlock, John, Mrs. Hudson, 221B… it’s all there the moment action is called, but ultimately the bubble of your suspension of disbelief will be well and truly burst when the series finally airs. Especially when you know how long they took to get that shot, or what was just over there at the time, or they had trouble with people walking through the scene then. Not to mention spoilers!
Our enquiring brains have been doing overtime piecing together what we’ve seen, what we’ve heard and what we’ve read, and although we’re hardly Sherlock when it comes to deduction, this second series does seem just that little bit on the darker side, and as Paul McGuigan - the director of this, the first episode, and The Hounds of Baskerville which will be the second episode aired - said to us on Monday before filming started, “the second series has to be better than the first”, and we are expecting this to be an Aliens, Empire Strikes Back, or Terminator 2 let us tell you!!!
As you already know we won’t post spoilers, and this time around it is quite difficult to tell you a lot of what was going on without giving something away. There have been a lot of photos posted on the internet already from the two days of filming, and they are easily found should you wish to see them. We don’t feel it’s fair on those who want to avoid them, and especially the cast and crew, to disclose anything that will give away the plot – after all imagine if it was the first series and we posted Moriarty shots, come the “he’s gay” scene everyone would have figured it out instantly– and we cant work it out before even Sherlock does, what’s the fun in that?!
So where does that leave us? Same as last time really, we can tell you what it was actually like to be there…
Just like last month, bar security, we were the first there. We’re regulars at Speedy’s, so took advantage of the day’s location by having breakfast there and sitting outside at our favourite table next to the 221B door. There we staying watching as the crew began to appear and it was our first time seeing Sue Vertue and Paul McGuigan on set. Gradually fans accumulated across the road, having no doubt been alerted to the day’s filming by the street notifications plastered everywhere and the unique news online highway that is Twitter. Finally the silver Audi appeared and waited, parked for a while until its passenger was ready to attend the days filming.
The days in general were much as before. Actors came and went depending on their scenes, Mark Gatiss would appear and disappear as quickly even when Mycroft didn’t have a scene, and with the exception of what was happening on the news, the day’s events seemed pretty standard.
It is continually fascinating to us however to be at the filming and see how seamlessly Benedict morphs into Sherlock, Martin into John, Mark into Mycroft etc. It’s not simply a case of them putting on their costumes and looking like their characters, as to watch them in between shots they are still very clearly themselves no matter how they look. But the moment they are performing a scene, Sherlock, John or Mycroft is there and there is not trace of Benedict, Martin or Mark at all. That is what, and probably always will be, the most thrilling part of watching Sherlock being filmed. Not the possibility of gaining spoilers or meeting the cast, it’s the experience of seeing fictitious characters in ‘real life’ right there and then in front of you.
We watched a scene from literally a few feet away where Sherlock leaves 221 to get into a waiting car, after we unintentionally ended up trapped sitting at our table after breakfast. We were expecting to be asked to move at any moment but were told it was fine to remain where we were. We hadn’t noticed Benedict appear (who seems to have adopted Martin’s ability to materialize out of thin air) and as we sat chatting amongst ourselves directly next to the 221B door, there he was next to us discussing the scene he was about to do. He disappeared afterwards but then a second later he was back, in not much more than a sheet no less, and there the scene began to play out. We moved across to the table next to us, not wishing to be in the way, and the scene was rehearsed and then shot right there and then.
We considered posting the photos taken of this scene after broadcast as we were worried they may be deemed as spoilers due to their nature. However they were widely posted all over the net by others, and quite frankly we don’t think anyone could deduce any plot development from them. Therefore we feel pretty comfortable that this will not ruin anything for anyone, in addition to the fact we captured one photo that was simply too good not to show you all. (See the last image with this article.)
Benedict had already done this particular scene several times over, but during one take something happened which meant that half way from the door to the car it was called to start again. We think maybe it was a rare occasion where Sherlock and Benedict must have met in the middle as Benedict certainly didn’t try and hide his displeasure at this by demonstrating an enormous show of raising his eyes to the sky in frustration… which you can clearly see from our photo! It was all we could do not to laugh, especially as we were so very close, but I’m sure had the situation been reversed he would have indeed seen the funny side too.
Speaking of Twitter and Tumblr, they seemed to be rife with rumours over the two days of filming at North Gower Street, mostly surrounding Benedict. The concern for his wellbeing was overwhelming and no doubt he would be very touched to learn of it. For those worried who weren’t there however, let us try and put your minds at rest.
We were outside watching filming during the afternoon, when we were asked by some fans, if Speedy’s was open to the public. We stated we thought not, being we knew the cast and crew used it while they were filming and currently so was Benedict, however a runner told them it was indeed open for business as usual so they could go in which they duly did. We think they bought something and a few minutes later we saw them come out again. After that a few other fans who had been watching the filming also went in, again after making their purchases came out, followed by Benedict with his arm around Sue heading off in the direction of their base with a fresh cigarette in hand.
We were not inside the cafe and so cannot shed any light on the matter, however a nice lady emailed us an eye witness account which hopefully will put people’s minds at ease who contacted us with their concerns;
“I watched as [he] was unexpectedly holding court and signing stuff for a handful of girls. He seemed in good spirits and joked that he would sign autographs for anyone who actually ordered food or drinks – good business for Speedy’s that day. He even checked to make sure that everybody had done so! He chatted with them for a moment, and even remembered individual names.
“Martin Freeman was in the cafe at the time as well, but nobody bothered him. The fans were all well-behaved, bought their drinks and snacks, thanked Mr. Cumberbatch for their autographs and left. He followed us outside shortly afterwards and disappeared somewhere before filming his scene.”
Considering the riots which were taking place not too far from where we were which were far more of a concern to cast, crew and onlookers, it didn’t seem anything more than we’re sure an actor of his standing is used to. With regards to the riots and the most bizarre rumour of all on tumblr regarding bottles being thrown at cast members, well that was all totally false.
There was indeed a problem during the end of the days filming on Monday evening. As we’ve said before, we are often the first to arrive and last to leave, so at 10:30pm we were still there as were all the crew, security, and a few remaining fans. The last cast members left were Benedict and Rupert who thankfully had literally been picked up by their car, when we heard a report of thirty youths coming down the street. We understand from the others who were still there, that the crew were very conscious of the fans and made sure they were safe and we ourselves were whisked away in the extras mini bus and taken back to base until everything had die down. When we got back there was glass on the floor and we were told they had broken the fire engine’s window (which was used to wet down the street for filming). All the crew and everyone else there were unharmed and the equipment hadn’t been damaged. Understandably though it was time to pack up and go home in case more were to follow. Sue told us she was off home and we left too, everyone a little unsure if the next day would go ahead as planned or not.
Tuesday’s filming was not cancelled, but instead was scheduled until 5pm and not 11pm as originally intended. Two scenes were to be missed, one with Sherlock and the second with Irene, presumably to be shot another time or at a different location. Filming continued past five with Martin and Mark shooting a scene in ‘faux’ rain provided by the team from RealFX (as seen in our header image) which was highly entertaining, although probably not so much for Martin who got soaked to the skin, while Mark had Mycroft’s trusty umbrella. At around 6pm however the police suddenly arrived to notify security that rioters were now occupying all the surrounding streets and they should stop filming immediately. What usually seems to take some time happened in minutes as all the equipment was packed up and the cast and crew evacuated, which Mark later tweeted about.
As it turned out, that night North Gower Street was actually ‘quiet and peaceful’ as Sherlock would say, but better to be safe than sorry. Therefore despite news reports stating Benedict was onset and the rather strange tale of rioters throwing bottles at him, he was safely away from filming all that day, so really we have no idea where all that came from. It just goes to show you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the papers.
As far as ‘Shwatsonlock’ is concerned (yes we’ve learnt a new word!) and from the feedback we get from you all, our readers seem to be interested in this almost above everything else, there wasn’t a huge amount to report that we witnessed. The last time we were at the filming, after a scene taking them off together down a road, Benedict and John had walked back, arms around each other, to their starting positions. This had prompted a very loud chorus of “aaaaaaaahhhhhsss” from the onlookers. Again they prompted a similar response this time when Martin’s family visited him on set and Benedict was adorably playing with Martin’s children. Again, the friendship between them was highly obvious, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out during their scenes together in The Hobbit, even if Benedict is only there acting in screen capture.
On a final note, it was a privilege to meet Sue and Paul, who were both very kind to take the time to chat with us. Sue confirmed they didn’t know the UK broadcast scheduling as yet, as of course the series has to be finished and delivered first. We get a lot of fans of Sherlock contacting us thinking we are an official site, and as it turns out from speaking with others on set, they are not the only ones who thought we were perhaps something to do with the crew. We would just like to take this opportunity to reinforce we are not endorsed by anyone from the Sherlock team, nor have we any affiliation with them. Those we have met have been very kind to take the time out of their busy schedules to speak to us and we really appreciate that.
There is not much time left filming series two of Sherlock now. Soon Benedict will be off to film BBC/HBO’s ‘Parade’s End’ and Martin will don his hairy feet to return to being Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, in addition to the rest of the cast and crew moving on to their next projects. It’s been a wonderful experience following the filming on the internet and on location and we simply cannot wait until next year when we see the fruits of their labours on our screens.
Oh 2011 is so boring now, roll on 2012 and series two of Sherlock as we want to know just how do Sherlock and John escape from Moriarty at the pool?!
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- zombiebalboa said: Very cool post. The bit about being able to see “fictitious characters in ‘real life’ right there and then in front of you.” was something that I hadn’t thought about, but would be totally engrossing to watch. Thanks for all the hard work!
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