‘Sherlock’ Series 4: Mark Gatiss Interview

 Mark Gatiss on what to expect from the eagerly awaited return of ‘Sherlock’.

Sherlock returns to BBC One with three brand-new feature length episodes (Photo: BBC).

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman reprise their iconic roles as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in the hit drama written and created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The eagerly anticipated fourth series, produced by Hartswood Films, begins with the nation’s favourite detective, the mercurial Sherlock Holmes, back once more on British soil, as Doctor Watson and his wife, Mary, prepare for their biggest ever challenge – becoming parents for the first time.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock Holmes, with Martin Freeman as John Watson, Mark Gatiss as Mycroft, Rupert Graves as Inspector Lestrade, Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Amanda Abbington as Mary Watson and Louise Brealey as Molly Hooper.

In episode one of this new series, written by Mark Gatiss, Sherlock waits to see where Moriarty will make his posthumous move.

Mark Gatiss (‘Sherlock’ writer and Mycroft) shares some insights into ‘Sherlock’ Series 4 in the latest BBC media pack for the series.

In a League of his own: Mark Gatiss (Photo credit: BBC)

What can we expect from episode one of series four?

Traditionally we start with a lot of laughs. It’s been a considerable amount of time since the third series and a year since the special and you feel the need to reacquaint yourself with the gang, so we’ve introduced some fun stuff. That always seems to happen when we have to do the housekeeping to get out of last year’s cliff-hanger. So we have a bit of fun just enjoying Sherlock and John being back in Baker Street with Mary and the new arrival. Then essentially the ghosts of the past come back and the episode and the series get darker.

You wrote episode one, what was the inspiration behind it?

As ever we take our inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories to a greater or lesser extent. The story I’ve wanted to do for ages is The Red-Headed League and I thought this might be the one where I’d do it and I did have a little go at that, but it soon became apparent that the story this suited was The Six Napoleons, which is another favourite. It’s called The Six Thatchers now, but that book was the main inspiration, although really it’s the bare bones of the story.

How do the main characters develop in series four?

It’s very tough to say without giving anything away. They develop in various ways! There’s an ongoing humanisation of Sherlock, as Conan Doyle did in his books. He is a very different man from the first story to the last story. But he never becomes quite like us and nor should he. Doctor Watson trains him to be more like everybody else. He’s certainly more compassionate, he does know that he has friends who care for him and he goes through a massive emotional ringer this year, they all do for various reasons which I can’t explain. It’s a cliché to say it’s the darkest season, but it is. It’s the darkest but also the most meaty, with the most proper dramatic incident we could possibly throw at them all.

Is the Sherlock story about to reach its climax?

A lot of things we’ve been planning for a long time come to fruition, hopefully in a very satisfactory way. It doesn’t mean that it’s the final climax necessarily but it might do, who knows?

What can we expect from Mycroft this series?

Secrets and lies! The relationship develops with Sherlock again; it’s much spikier and more combative than in Conan Doyle’s stories. In this series we find out an awful lot more about why their relationship is like it is and where it gets to is interesting!

Check out this behind-the-scenes interview with Mark Gatiss for more on the new series:

❉ ‘Sherlock: The Six Thatchers’ airs on Sunday 1 January, 8.30pm-10.00pm on BBC ONE.

❉ Source: BBC Media Centre

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