Steven Moffat, the evil genius behind Doctor Who and Sherlock, today revealed in a Guardian interview that we’ve all missed a vital clue showing how Sherlock escaped death in the fall from the roof of Barts. There’s a theory going round that it was Moriarty’s body in a Sherlock mask, and I have given some credence to the idea. I’ve yet to watch The Reichenbach Fall for a third time, and Moffat appears to knock the theory on the head. But who knows? He’s a cunning bastard who likes to mess with our minds, what little of them is left after trying to work out what just happened in his shows.
It takes at least a couple of viewings, usually three, to properly enjoy all the subtleties of a Moffat production. The first is to get the basic plot down and a general idea of the profligate whizzing-by of sharp dialogue and witty cultural references. Then, knowing whodunnit and why, I can watch the episode again to catch the clues and foreshadowings, while paying more attention to the dialogue. Third time is usually just for pure, unalloyed pleasure, but this time I need to work out how Sherlock dunnit.
The same goes for Doctor Who. All that time I could have been writing a novel.
The interview itself was very interesting. I didn’t know Moffat had written Joking Apart, Chalk, and Coupling, the first of which I haven’t seen. I spent the Nineties and Noughties in America, that televisual black hole, sporadically illuminated by BBC America. No, I’m being unfair – there’s a lot of good stuff on cable. But everything else is dire. It’s the equivalent of devaluing the currency to have so many television channels chasing too few good programmes. The crap is bound to swamp the airwaves and leak in through the television screen.
Anyway, to get back to the point, I saw the brilliant Chalk and Coupling on BBC America. I particularly enjoyed David Bamber as the headmaster in Chalk. He was also the best ever Mr Collins in the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, kicking up the SQ (Smugness Quotient) dial to 11. Here he is proposing to Elizabeth Bennet.
Where was I? Yes, the Moffat interview. It was also illuminating to discover that, in order to write Sherlock, he broke a contract with Stephen Spielberg to write three scripts for the Tintin film franchise. No contest as far as I’m concerned. I saw The Adventures of Tintin, and while it has all the Hollywood production values, it doesn’t have a heart.
While we’re on the subject of Sherlock, I just discovered The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson, a cleverly put together recreation of the character’s thoughts arising out of his experiences in the show. It has comments from his sister, Harry (Harriet), Mrs Hudson, Molly, and Sherlock, as well as a few others, one of whom is probably Moriarty. It starts just before meeting Sherlock in the first episode. There’s also a link to Molly’s blindingly pink blog, which has some back and forth with Jim Moriarty when he’s worming his way into her boyfriendhood.
I thoroughly recommend both the blog and the Moffat interview. Apparently the scenes that show how Sherlock escaped death have already been filmed, but there’s still plenty of scope for speculation while we wait for the 3rd series.
Or I could get a life.
* For divagation, see my definition here.