Mark Gatiss on Sherlock series 4

News Louisa Mellor 20 May 2014 - 06:45

Sherlock's fourth series will come before the rumoured one-off film, says co-creator Mark Gatiss...

The days following an awards ceremony often provide rich pickings for news rumours. Lubricated by the free bar, high on the adrenalin of winning, actors and writers will sometimes let slip more than their NDAs allow. It's how, for instance, we learnt that Benedict Cumberbatch was joining his pal Martin Freeman on the set of The Hobbit sequel back in 2011.

Unfortunately for us, Mark Gatiss wasn't the slightest bit indiscreet at this week's Bafta TV ceremony, so Sherlock's secrets remain just that. He did, however, confirm that Martin Freeman's rumour about a potential one-off Sherlock film being on its way before series four is bunkum. "There was talk amongst people who have nothing to do with Sherlock I'm afraid", Gatiss joked.

The plan is still for a three-episode fourth series, and the complicated scheduling is in the process of being worked out, Gatiss says. The team is "moving closer to agreeing dates". "Benedict and Martin's schedule, Steven's schedule, my schedule, everybody's schedule - it's like a jigsaw puzzle" he told reporters. Start with the corners, Mark, that should see you right.

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Now the dust has settled I think it's pretty clear that the last series of Sherlock was a real disappointment. For me the peak was the swimming pool scene. The first series. The last episode I really enjoyed was the Hound one. It's fallen into the trap of winking at it's audience and descended into fan fiction of the most childish thought.

While I do agree that that the third series is probably the weakest, the peak in my opinion remains Reichenbach Fall. While 'winking at the fanbase' may hurt the show in the long run, at the moment it really helped disguise the fact that series three barely had a plot. For instance, we never actually found out exactly how Sherlock survived. But who cares, cause we got a whole lot of 'might have been' scenarios to enjoy.
Finale wasn't terrible, that scene where [SPOILER] Sherlock is shot remains one of the greatest highlights of the show.

I'm still amazed that Elementary has, despite all it's many setbacks (Lucy 'block o wood' Lu, American Crime TV cliche's) has still managed to become deeper darker and far more serious than the cringe worthy series 3 of Sherlock.

I seem to remember Moffat or Gatiss confirming that the third "explanation" of the fall (involving the inflatable/Sherlock double/squash ball) was the real one, though admitting that Sherlock was not afraid to lie about such things. Radio Times interview if memory serves.

I'm a bit surprised at some of the criticisms in the DoG comments section. I know many would argue that season 3 is the weakest (I would probably concur), but that in itself doesn't make it terrible. We've just been fortunate with the standard so far that many expectations were very, VERY high. Personally, I thought that there were some fantastic moments in the third season:

[SPOILERS AHEAD]
The whole sequence when Sherlock is shot is up there with the very best moments in the show, Lestrade simply saying "bollocks" to interrupt the ludicrous first explanation (and the viewers' terror that Derren Brown was involved) in "The Empty Hearse" is hilarious, Magnussen taking a piss in 221B's fireplace, the courtroom sequence in The Sign of Three, the identity of Redbeard, the first time John sees Sherlock alive again (eventually head-butting him), Mary's true identity being revealed (the name taken from a stillborn child), the awesome stag do (props for the music particularly), John's reaction after realising Sherlock had tricked him on the tube carriage ("You... you utter... you cock!")...

Sherlock has become a self-oriented series that no longer serves to entertain the public but to pat itself on the back and wink at itself and congratulate itself on being clever. The last episode blatantly snubbed the viewers by simply not answering a major question everyone wanted answered.

I think it winks at itself, not at the fanbase. It has become very self congratulatory.

I don't really understand the hatred for Sherlock's explanation of the fall - there were lots of slight disappointments and problems with Series 3 (though I still thought it was very good overall), but to be annoyed at the explanation seems weird as I thought it was one of the great triumphs of the series. It engaged with the inherent problem that over a two year gap the question had become far more fascinating than any possible answer. To me, it seems obvious that Sherlock's explanation to Anderson is the "real" one, being as plausible and thorough as we could possibly ask for, but also had a brilliant awareness of how partial any explanation to such an anticipated reveal was going to be, with the "It's not how I would have done it" and "Everyone's a critic" lines. There were things to complain about in Series 3 for sure, but the way it resolved the Series 2 cliffhanger is, I think, one of the cleverest and most inventive things the show's done.

In your opinion.

And in mine.

And yet, it's not clever. I honestly think that they didn't answer the question because they couldn't. The other "clever" highlights of series 3 - a bomb with an off switch and a blackmailer who didn't actually have anything to blackmail with.

the 3rd season was the best by far. The other two always had a weak 2nd episode but season 3 had 3 brilliant episodes!

that lame Sherlock rip-off...yeah right

I hope they wind up Sherlock after this 4th series. I can't see Cumberbatch and Freeman being available for too much longer. I really wish Mark Gatiss would go back to doing original stuff, such as Crooked House, rather than riding Steven Mofatt's (inferior) coat-tails and essentially producing fan fiction using other people's ideas. His League of Gentlemen co-stars, Steve Pemberton and Reese Shearsmith, have continued to produce original and great stuff such as Inside No 9, but Gatiss' output continues to disappoint. I think he's capable of so much more.

I think you make an interesting point. Elementary has to cope with being in the US series format which is restrictive. At it's peak Sherlock is better than Elementary but it's close. What I find odd is how muchmore real Elementary feels than Sherlock. Lucy Liu is far more believable that Martin Freeman, largely because of the script. John Watson's reaction to a) Sherlock returning from the dead and b) his wife being a (and this was a terrible stretch) his wife being somekind of hitwoman was ludicrous. Likewise, the clumsy humour of the British show is less effective than the the pathos of Elementary.
Interestingly both shows have mishandled Moriarty. Andrew Scott's gone from being the most ice cold scary man on TV to someone who could easily be playing the Master in Dr Who circa 1988. He deserves better. Likewise the ending of the last Sherlock epsiode where he murders someone whose utterly out thought him for purely self-indulgent emotional reasons felt utterly wrong.
However nothing prepared me for the Sarah Jane Adventures (turn the plane around Andrew Scott's hijacked the Piccadily Circus moment) ending of the last series. Happy Days continued for a while after Fonzie jumped the Shark, but if I were Ben and Martin I'd be saying let's take Sherlock back to something resembling real life (or Series 1). This may be hard now that Moriarty now resembles Dr Evil...

I was prepared to get flamed for this.
Two things that surprised me:
1) No one really going for my throat.
2) But more interestingly the sheer lack of posts on this topic.
Compare this to a say a Den of Geek article that in the new series of Dr Who, Peter Capaldi may be wearing a different coloured shirt in each episode of Series 8 and the frenzied comments that followed. People seem indifferent to Sherlock.
I've added another post on the Elementary v Sherlock debate below. I really should just join as a member and not be a Guest.

There is lots of winking going on. And back patting.

Seems like Sherlock is the victim of its own success, the usual build it up just to knock it down scenario.
I love it, much better than Elementary which I find very dull.

Wow alot of people taking Sherlock far to seriously. Its a fantastic british tv show based on a whole cannon of fantastic stories about a fantasy character. Maybe as a brit it comes across differently, it entertaining engrossing and yeah alot of it is completely far fetched, but who cares. The actors are amazing the writing is clever and the humor is spot on.

There's a very good reason Sherlock has become such a hit around the world - it's simply the best thing that's ever been on tv. I don't understand the anger some people have expressed, but maybe the waiting time for new episodes forces viewers to think up their own plots, and then get upset when the actual episodes air and aren't the way they had imagined. I loved the third season, and I loved the first two seasons, too. Each episode is different and unique, and I may have my favourite, but I wouldn't want every episode to be exactly like it. If I wanted to see the same thing, I would just re-watch them - which I do! I think the writers are brilliant, as are the actors, directors, set designers, musicians and everyone else who works to bring me this little bit of joy. And if you're disappointed with the explanation of the Fall, don't forget that it's not over yet! The game is never over, as Sherlock told us!

You've nailed it.

Exactly this.

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