Sherlock series 4

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 13:00:00 on 31/08/2016 - Programme Name: Sherlock - TX: n/a - Episode: Sherlock - early release Sept (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH), Dr John Watson (MARTIN FREEMAN) - (C) Hartswood Films - Photographer: Todd Antony

Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr John Watson (Martin Freeman)

Here’s the first official picture from forthcoming series 4, featuring Sherlock and John. The plot will feature John and wife Mary (Amanda Abbington) preparing for parenthood. Oh, and there’s the little matter of villains Moriarty (Andrew Scott) and new face Culverton Smith (Toby Jones), described by writer Steven Moffat as ‘the darkest villain we’ve had’. Here, by the way, is the official BBC Sherlock page.

Sherlock 4 trailer

Looks like Jim Moriarty will be back on the scene when BBC1’s Sherlock returns in 2017. Here’s the new trailer featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and, briefly, Andrew Scott. Toby Jones is also on view as another foe for Sherlock. Few laughs here, it all looks very serious…

Sherlock Christmas special trailer

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH and Martin Freeman seem to have slipped into a different time zone for this Christmas’s special instalment of the BBC’s much admired drama. Its USP, of course, has been that showrunner Steven Moffat had placed Holmes and Watson in a contemporary setting. But for the special, perhaps he and co-writer Mark Gatiss had snowy Victorian Christmas scenes stuck in their heads and decided to go retro. Moffatt told the Comic-Con crowd, where this trailer was unveiled, that “It’s still the same sense of humour, it’s still very much the show you know… But it’s in the ‘correct’ era, which was unbelievably thrilling.” So, what doyou think? Comments above, please…

Crime series rule at 2015’s Baftas

Happy Valley series 1 BBC1

Siobhan Finneran and Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

CRIME certainly pays on TV. Mysteries and thrillers dominate this year’s Bafta nominations, with Happy Valley, Line of Duty, The Missing, Peaky Blinders, Sherlock and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies all featuring.

These were all engrossing, first-class dramas, with some of the actors involved giving the performances of their lives. Keeley Hawes and Sarah Lancashire were simply superb in Line of Duty – which was better in its second series – and Happy Valley, and both are nominated. Georgina Campbell also put in a stand-out performance in BBC3’s Murdered by My Boyfriend.

Benedict Cumberbatch will hope it is fifth-time lucky at Bafta as he steps onto the red carpet again for his performance as Sherlock. The BBC1 modern reboot of the consulting detective is a dazzlingly good drama, though not nominated this time. Cumberbatch is in the running, however, but he faces formidable competition from nominees James Nesbitt – another lifetime-best performance for The Missing – Toby Jones (Marvellous) and Jason Watkins (The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies).

The Missing series 1 BBC1

James Nesbitt in The Missing

Choosing the ‘best’ is a thankless task, but my personal faves this year are Sarah Lancashire (by a whisker over Keeley Hawes), James Nesbitt – an actor I don’t usually warm to, but this was a brave performance. Then there’s Ken Stott for the same reason in The Missing, and perhaps Charlotte Spencer for Glue.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Peaky Blinders, and in the International category I would probably go for True Detective, though I am slightly addicted to The Good Wife.

Who do you think should win? Post your comments above…

DRAMA SERIES

HAPPY VALLEY Sally Wainwright, Karen Lewis, Euros Lyn, Nicola Shindler, Red Production Company/BBC One; LINE OF DUTY Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath, Peter Norris, Douglas Mackinnon, World Productions/BBC Two; THE MISSING Charlie Pattinson, Willow Grylls, Jack Williams, Harry Williams, New Pictures/BBC One; PEAKY BLINDERS Production Team – Caryn Mandabach Productions/Tiger Aspect Productions/BBC Two

LEADING ACTOR

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH Sherlock, BBC One; TOBY JONES Marvellous, BBC Two; JAMES NESBITT The Missing, BBC One JASON WATKINS The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies ITV

LEADING ACTRESS

Keeley Hawes in Line of Duty 2

Keeley Hawes in Line of Duty 2

GEORGINA CAMPBELL Murdered by My Boyfriend, BBC Three; KEELEY HAWES Line of Duty, BBC Two; SARAH LANCASHIRE Happy Valley, BBC One; SHERIDAN SMITH Cilla, ITV

SUPPORTING ACTOR

ADEEL AKHTAR Utopia – Channel 4 JAMES NORTON Happy Valley, BBC One; STEPHEN REA The Honourable Woman, BBC Two; KEN STOTT The Missing – BBC One

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

GEMMA JONES Marvellous, BBC Two; VICKY MCCLURE Line of Duty, BBC Two; AMANDA REDMAN Tommy Cooper: Not like That, Like This, ITV; CHARLOTTE SPENCER Glue, E4

SINGLE DRAMA

A POET IN NEW YORK Aisling Walsh, Ruth Caleb, Andrew Davies, Griff Rhys Jones, Modern Television/BBC Two; COMMON Jimmy McGovern, David Blair, Colin McKeown, Donna Molloy, LA Productions/BBC One; MARVELLOUS Peter Bowker, Julian Farino, Katie Swinden, Patrick Spence, Fifty Fathoms/BBC Two; MURDERED BY MY BOYFRIEND Pier Wilkie, Regina Moriarty, Paul Andrew Williams, Darren Kemp – BBC/BBC Three

MINI-SERIES

Jason Watkins in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies

Jason Watkins in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies

CILLA Jeff Pope, Paul Whittington, Kwadjo Dajan, Robert Willis, ITV Studios/GroupM Entertainment/ITV; THE LOST HONOUR OF CHRISTOPHER JEFFERIES Gareth Neame, Peter Morgan, Roger Michell, Kevin Loader, Carnival Film & Television/ITV; OUR WORLD WAR Production Team – BBC Factual/BBC Three PREY Chris Lunt, Nicola Shindler, Tom Sherry, Nick Murphy, Red Production Company/ITV

INTERNATIONAL

THE GOOD WIFE CBS Television Studios in assoc. with Scott Free/King Size Prods/More4; HOUSE OF CARDS Beau Willimon, David Fincher, Joshua Donen, Kevin Spacey – Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in assoc. with Media Rights Capital/Netflix; ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK Jenji Kohan, Lisa I.Vinnecour, Sara Hess, Sian Heder – Lionsgate Television/Netflix; TRUE DETECTIVE Nic Pizzolatto, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Scott Stephens, Steve Golin – HBO Entertainment in assoc. with Neon Black, Anonymous Content, Parliament of Owls and Passenger/ Sky Atlantic

Sherlock 4 – new picture

Dr John Watson (MARTIN FREEMAN), Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH)

THE BEEB has just released this shot of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as they will appear in the next Sherlock special. Are they in fancy dress? Have they stepped back in time? Here are some Twitter tags if you want join in the speculation – #221back #sherlock #notkidding
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Sherlock Holmes – Past, Present, Future

Guest writer Rebecca Gray looks at the personal file of Sherlock Holmes, the greatest detective the world has seen, and who, following the extraordinary success of the third series of the BBC’s Sherlock, is set to conquer the world in new guises…

Mystery buffs are captivated by charismatic crime fighters, and perhaps none has been embraced more enthusiastically than Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock, a modern-day Holmes vehicle starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the eccentric detective, and Martin Freeman as his partner, Dr John Watson, currently provides some of the most popular programming on television. Past, present and future, Sherlock Holmes rules the roost, so we’ll continue to see his legacy in pop culture, including various media interpretations of his idiosyncratic adventures. But what’s behind the rise of this popular character, and where can fans fill their need for more Sherlock Holmes?

1. History

Sherlock Holmes is a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish doctor and author.  The original character appeared in more than 50 short stories and four novels, beginning with the first novel, A Study in Scarlet, which was published in 1887. Readership grew leaps and bounds, as the public embraced the first series of short stories published in The Strand Magazine, in 1891.

2. Inspiration and Character Development

Holmes’ character is thought to be derived from a pair of doctors author Doyle worked with in Scotland, including one tied to Edinburgh police work. But Doyle himself has also been cited as an inspiration for some of the character’s signature traits, including his heightened capacity for deductive reasoning. According to Doyle’s tales, Holmes developed these powers at university, before deciding to take detective work as a career.

3. Holmes Societies

Two primary societies dedicated to Sherlock Holmes were formed in the 1930s, still operating today. The American, Baker Street Irregulars were organised in 1937, devoted to literary studies of Holmes and Doyle; while the Sherlock Holmes Society in London originally came together in 1934.

4. Copyright and Public Domain

Copyrights expired in UK in 1980, placing Sherlock Holmes material in the public domain. In the United States, however, some pieces published after 1923 remain protected by copyrights. In 2013, a court ruled the characters of Holmes and Watson are themselves included in public domain, perhaps opening the door for further interpretation of these Doyle characters.

5. Film and Other Portrayals

Basil Rathbone

Holmes is consistently identified as one of the most prolific characters portrayed on stage and in films. As many as 200 movies contain Holmes-derived characters, portrayed by dozens of actors, dating to the turn of the century. Basil Rathbone, for example, played Holmes in more than a dozen early-1940s films, as well as radio spots running concurrently. Jeremy Brett was another outstanding Holmes in ITV’s long-running series, while Billy Wilder made a terrific film version starring Robert Stephens, called The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Peter O’Toole, Michael Caine, Roy Hudd, Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston, Peter Cushing, John Cleese, Roger Moore, John Gielgud and many more have donned the deer stalker.

6. Robert Downey and Jude Law

In 2009, Robert Downey Jr reprised the Holmes character for a Hollywood blockbuster film, tapping Jude Law as his sidekick Watson. The sensational portrayal ignited a whole new following for the character, which was crafted in Holmes essence, but emphasised eccentric tendencies not always played-up in earlier portrayals. The well-received film was expanded with a 2011 sequel called Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Downey has been recognised with awards for his interpretation, including a Golden Globe for the first film.

7. Elementary

American television viewers continue to embrace a contemporary interpretation of Doyle’s Holmes character, which first aired in 2012, on the television series Elementary. The vehicle, set in the United States, stars Jonny Lee Miller as a modern-day Holmes, paired with a female version of the Watson character, played by Lucy Liu.

8. What’s in the Cards for Sherlock Holmes?

With copyright issues settled, and public interest clamouring for more Sherlock Holmes, there are no limits to what we might see from Doyle’s enduring character. While a comedy version starring Will Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes seems to be off the cards for now, a third instalment in the popular Robert Downey Jr Sherlock franchise is set for future release. Additional rumblings of a Chinese production and even a Punjabi Sherlock may bring even greater diversity to Sherlock Holmes’ ever-evolving legacy.

Author Byline: This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id: GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.

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Sherlock: His Last Vow, BBC1, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Amanda Abbington, Lars Mikkelsen PREVIEW

Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) BBC
Sherlock didn’t hate Moriarty, but he hates Magnussen in His Last Vow. Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★★

BBC1: Sunday, 12 January, 8.30pm 

Story: A case of stolen letters leads Sherlock Holmes into a long conflict with Charles Augustus Magnussen, the Napoleon of blackmail, and the one man he truly hates…

‘THAT’S THE THING with Sherlock,’ says Watson in tonight’s finale. ‘There’s always the unexpected.’

It’s an easy deduction that Watson’s claim is an early entry for the understatement of 2014.

Because tonight’s dazzling climax is chock-full of jaw-dropping surprises, twists and delights. Written by Steven Moffat – Doctor Who head honcho and prime moving force behind this Sherlock update along with Mark Gatiss – it’s one of the absolute top episodes in what is already a tremendous series.

Lady Smallwood (LINDSAY DUNCAN), Magnussen ( LARS MIKKELSEN) Sherlock BBC
Lady Smallwood (LINDSAY DUNCAN) and Magnussen ( LARS MIKKELSEN)

Lars Mikkelsen as the loathsome Magnussen

Like a magician, Moffat diverts and stuns us with a series of revelations and intrigues that make the 90-
minute film fly by.

Lars Mikkelsen, of The Killing and Borgen fame, joins in the fun as one of the nastiest and most disconcerting villains Sherlock has encountered. He is media mogul Charles Augustus Magnussen, a world-class hoarder of personal secrets that he can use to blackmail whomever he chooses.

And Sherlock, not a chap normally ruled by his emotions, loathes Magnussen (he calls him ‘the worst man in London’ in the original story). When the slimeball turns up at Baker Street, he makes himself at home in a particularly offensive way.

Dr John Watson (MARTIN FREEMAN) Sherlock BBC
Watson again finds Sherlock anything but elementary

Tension, laughs and tears

Anyway, it is not possible to reveal more of what’s in store. In the first place, it would be mean and sad to spoil things for anyone tuning in, and secondly, the security around the series is now so tight that you almost suspect Mycroft Holmes is organising it.

The Beeb sent me a email outlining what was verboten for this post. Here’s a redacted version:

  •          Anything related to the revelation of XXXXXXX.
  •          The lengths Sherlock goes to to XXXXXXXX
  •          The truth about Magnussen’s XXXXXXXXX
  •          Sherlock’s XXXXXX and the fact that XXXXXXX
  •          Sherlock’s XXXXXXX in the episode
  •          The fact that Sherlock XXXXXXX
  •          The appearance of XXXXXX
  •          The ending

Only someone with the evil impulses of a Moriarty would want to divulge all this anyway. But what can be revealed is that the production values are lavish, the soundtrack is again superb, there’s a wonderful ‘mind palace’ sequence, plus tension, laughs and tears.

Amanda Abbington as Mary

Moffat and co-writer/star Mark Gatiss have pushed the characters hard in this latest series. Where so

Mary Morstan (AMANDA ABBINGTON) Sherlock BBC
Mary has been a brilliant addition to the series

many TV dramas are about preserving characters in aspic, Moffat and Gatiss are so in the groove with the Sherlockian world that they’ve shown new angles and depths to Holmes and Watson throughout the series.

Any caveats? Sherlock acts in what seems an out-of-character fashion at the final confrontation, though that could have ramifications in the next series.

But bringing Amanda Abbington in as Mary has been a masterstroke. Her performance is hugely enjoyable and the character has helped to bring out Holmes in all his ridiculousness and brilliance.

Now the poor chaps have set the bar extremely high for series four. Apparently, a fourth and fifth series are planned, and will follow ‘quickly’.

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman John Watson, Mark Gatiss Mycroft, Rupert Graves Inspector Lestrade, Una Stubbs Mrs Hudson, Amanda Abbington Mary Morstan, Louise Brealey Molly Hooper, Lars Mikkelsen Charles Augustus Magnussen, Lindsay Duncan Lady Smallwood

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Sherlock 3 scheduled for New Year’s Day

The BBC announces the transmission date of the eagerly awaited next series of Sherlock on BBC One.
Promotional shot for the new series

Sherlock will return on New Year’s Day, when the mystery of how he survived his death plunge in the Reichenbach Fall cliffhanger will be resolved at last (it will be shown in the US on 19 January). The Empty Hearse kicks off the three new films, with the second going out on Sunday, 5 January, and the final one on 12 January. It’s been a two-year hiatus since the last series, with Martin Freeman filming The Hobbit and Benedict Cumberbatch taking on Star Trek Into Darkness. Showrunner Steven Moffat has said there was a clue to Sherlock’s fate that everyone missed at the end of the last season. In the view of the online frenzy that followed that finale, the audience for this new series should be one of the biggest of the holiday season.

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