The 160-page full-color trade paperback by Guy Adams, which was released last month, covers the events of SherlockSeason 1 and Season 2, and contains Dr. John Watson’s blog entries regarding cases that he and Sherlock Holmes have worked on, police reports, newspaper clippings, photos, and other case clues. Embedded throughout the book are Post-It notes left by Sherlock, and sometimes there’s rebuttables from Watson.
Along with being an actual Case Files type of book, The Sherlock Files also includes interviews with the series stars, like Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, as well as the writers and co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, who all talk about the scripts, behind-the-scenes production, filming experiences, and comparisons between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and their televisions, as well as how previous Sherlock Holmes movies have influenced the modern-day series.
The book is packed with information and background details for the characters and episodes, so I decided to put together this list of 10 Facts About Sherlock From ‘The Sherlock Files: The Official Companion to the Hit Television Series’ to give you just a tiny taste of what The Sherlock Files has to offer.
1- Benedict Cumberbatch was the first and only choice for the role of Sherlock Holmes, according to the show’s co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
2- The showrunners debated how Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) would refer to one another. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, they called each other by their surnames, Holmes and Watson. For the television show, the creators decided that the duo would call each other Sherlock and John.
3- When the iconic 221b Baker Street address is shown, it’s not actually on the real Baker Street in London, which is riddled with the words “Sherlock Holmes” on them. Because covering up all the Holmes references would be too much, the scenes are filmed instead on North Gower Street, about a half a mile way from Baker Street.
4- 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 then reshot as a 90-minute episode by Paul McGuigan with several changes being made from the original version. (The 60-minute unaired pilot is included in the Sherlock: Season 1 DVD and Blu-ray.)
5- Actor Andrew Scott didn’t do any research on his character, Sherlock Holmes’s arch-nemesis James Moriarty, and didn’t read the original stories, which allowed him to take a “freer approach” to his portrayal of the classic literary villain.
6- Sherlock Holmes liked to shoot off his firearms in his Baker Street apartment. In The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual, the literary Holmes shot into the wall the initials V.R., which stands for Victoria Regina, for Queen Victoria, who was the reigning monarch at the time of the story’s publication in 1893. For the modern-day setting of the TV series, Sherlock shoots out a smiley face in the episode “The Great Game.”
7- Filming for one of the final scenes in the episode “A Scandal in Belgravia,” where John and Mycroft meet in the cafe beneath 221b Baker Street, took place in London while the riots were happening in August 2011. Police warned the production that “things could be difficult” under the violent, explosive circumstances. As the production raced to complete the scene, an assistant ran in and warned everyone to “Go!” and they all had to flee from the danger in the area.
8- In the episode “A Scandal in Belgravia,” during the “Flight of the Dead” scene where Sherlock and his brother Mycroft have a confrontation on a plane that was filled with corpses, the extras hired to play the dead passengers grew tired as the long shoot wore on and ended up falling asleep and snoring during filming.
9- Along with the fourteen Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone (between 1939 and 1946), Billy Wilder’s The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes (1970) was a huge influence on the production of Sherlock, especially the character of Sherlock’s brother Mycroft Holmes, who was played by Christopher Lee in Wilder’s film.
10- To help with some of his cases, the literary Holmes called upon a group of young street urchins, known as the Baker Street Irregulars. The TV show ditches the idea of child labor and has Holmes employ a network of homeless Londoners, who provide information and do research for the sleuth. In the Season 2 finale, “The Reichenbach Fall,” Sherlock’s homeless network is tasked with searching the city to find possible locations that include all the elements that Holmes and Watson found on a kidnapper’s shoe.
For more facts and tidbits about the series, be sure to check out The Sherlock Files: The Official Companion to the Hit Television Series by Guy Adams published by IT Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Follow the link to Amazon and once there, click on the cover where it says “Click to LOOK INSIDE.” If you select “First pages” you’ll get to see some of the pages from the book, which will give you an idea of what to expect. I mention this because the layout of the The Sherlock Files is really great and there’s a lot of attention to detail given, all of which is not something you could ascertain about the book just by looking at its cover.