Sherlock series 3 didn’t just set the ratings alight in the UK. As it continues its roll-out around the world, it’s having a similar effect. In the US, it’s now started to high ratings. And we hear that the response in China too has been huge. Sherlock isn’t just a UK television ratings hit: it’s a major worldwide one.
Entertainment Weekly has given the cover of its latest issue over to the show, and it chatted to Steven Moffat as part of its feature. As part and parcel of that, the question of a possible Sherlock movie raised its proverbial head.
Moffat declared that “we don’t rule anything out” when asked about a film, but went on to say that “there’s something quite special about the fact that it’s on television starring those two”. Those two being Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman of course, both of whom have subsequently been landing major roles in movie movies. “Mark [Gatiss] and I sometimes imagine what would happen if we had written it now and were saying ‘we’d like Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for the parts”‘.
This has been taken, with some justification, as Moffat holding the door open to a movie take on Sherlock. But then don’t go holding your breath, as at a Q&A following the original screening of His Last Vow, he seemed less enamoured with the idea.
“Yes you could take it to movies and in that case you’d get one every three years as opposed to three every two years – why is that better?”, he asked. “There would have to be a pressing narrative reason to do a movie. We’re doing movies, we’re doing them on television. As I’m fond of saying with the Doctor Who special we did, The Day Of The Doctor, which we put in the cinemas, on that weekend it became number two at the American box office. That’s a TV programme, number two at the American box office with limited distribution. So that’s television handing cinema its own arse. I think they should come to us and beg!”
He did add that “it’s lovely seeing it on the big screen, it’s lovely having a huge, big television. It would just be the question ‘How does it make it better to go to the cinema?’ and everyone knows that cinema and television shows in terms of production quality are getting closer together, so how would we make it better if we put in on the big screen?”.
You can read the full Q&A here.
Furthermore, given that Sherlock’s 90 minute format allows plenty of exploration room on the smaller screen, we can’t imagine that a Sherlock movie is an immediate priority even if the creative team were particular enthused by the idea. Instead, rumours – unconfirmed and unsubstantiated thus far – do persist that the BBC is looking to shorten the two year gap between Sherlock series. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more…