Baker Street, the original location of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, is said to now have too much Sherlock-related signage to be used as a filming location for the show. The BBC actually shot exteriors 1 mile east of there, at 187 North Gower Street.
The real life Speedy’s Cafe was called “Mrs Hudson’s Snax & Sandwiches” in the pilot episode, before that name was dropped. In series two episode A Scandal In Belgravia Speedy’s was used for interior shots and was part repainted by the BBC. It still boasts Auntie’s colour choice.
Benedict Cumberbatch does a lot of his own stunts. Speaking on a ‘making of’ documentary on the series 2 DVD he says of the heart-stopping climax in which Sherlock jumps from a building roof.
“Doing the fall was really exciting. That’s me up on the roof. That’s not me jumping off the roof, but that’s me jumping off a smaller roof onto a lower roof, which is about four feet. And then that cuts to me on a wire dropping about 70 feet, onto a massive inflated bag. It’s fast, not terminal velocity as there’s a tiny break on it… but it’s pretty bloody fast.”
China’s ban on the show hasn’t stopped it becoming a huge hit on the internet, in the country. Despite not appearing on the Chinese Central Television network or other major channels, 69 million viewers have still seen it on video websites. Initially makers didn’t expect it to be quite the hit it has been in the UK, either. Steven Moffat thought it would bring in somewhere in the region of 4 million viewers. It’s average is more than double that.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents play Sherlock Holmes’s parents. Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton (real name Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch) appeared in the first episode of series three, having tea at Sherlock’s flat.
The series pilot, titled A Study in Pink, was originally shot by director Coky Giedroyc as a 60-minute episode. This pilot went unaired and was reshot as a 90-minute episode by Paul McGuigan. The 60-minute unaired pilot is included in the Sherlock: Season 1 DVD and Blu-ray. Click play to watch a snippet of the original pilot next to the reshot and aired version.
The Sherlock finale generated a colossal 377,182 tweets, the highest volume of tweets for a single episode of a drama series in the UK. The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary adventure received more tweets but is counted as a special.
Andrew Scott auditioned for Moriarty with a British accent before the show’s makers decided it would work better with his natural Irish accent, while Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen had to ‘scandify’ his accent for the role of Charles Augustus Magnussen. He had picked up a cockney accent while making a film in London, just before shooting for the His Last Vow episode commenced.
In The Blind Banker in series 1 Watson tosses Sherlock a pen and Sherlock plucks it out of the air without even looking. Slick. Benedict Cumberbatch managed this on the first take but a problem with the camera meant they had to try three of four times to get it right again.
In the season four finale (The Final Problem), there’s a montage of cases in 221B Baker Street, wit one of them featuring an unconscious viking being seen to by Dr John Watson. That viking, who we only get a glimpse of for a few seconds, is in fact Modfather and lead singer of The Jam, Paul Weller, a close friend of Martin Freeman.
The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle must have been pleased to note that the 2010 debut of Sherlock on BBC One correlated with a sharp uptick in sales of the author’s printed works. According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks media sales, copies of Doyle’s titles moved roughly 57,000 copies in 2009. The year after, it was 88,000—with sales the week after the show premiered doubling from the week prior.
Not many fictional detectives get their own theme park; Holmes might be a rare exception. The BBC is reportedly considering an amusement park based on their properties, including Sherlock and Doctor Who, for Kent, England, in 2020. The addition is expected to join a planned London Paramount Entertainment Resort that will also feature a water park.
Though Cumberbatch has recently hinted that the show’s fourth season could be his last, Moffat said that the star’s quote was misunderstood. “It seems to be impossible these days not to be misquoted,” Moffat said. “He was quite specific about being keen to carry on. He went on to say [it’s] hard to get us all together. We want to keep the quality up. We haven’t even seen this [season air] yet. We don’t know. We haven’t sat down with the intent to anything yet. But we’re always aware that it could be over. But the fact is Benedict did not say that.”