BBC releases synopsis for Sherlock Christmas special
James R | On 24, Nov 2015
The BBC has released an official synopsis for the 2015 Sherlock Christmas special. You know, the one set in Victorian times.
The one-off 90-minute special, which will air on New Year’s Day on BBC One, is also being broadcast in cinemas worldwide, accompanied by bonus material such as a guided tour of 221B Baker Street and a look at the making of the special.
The episode, called The Abominable Bride and written by Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat, will see the usual cast reprise their roles, from Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson to Amanda Abbington as Mary Watson and Louise Brealey as Molly Hooper.
Now, we’ve got a synopsis to go with the cast list and title. It reads as follows:
“Dr John Watson, meet Mr Sherlock Holmes.”
We’ve been here before – but what if this wasn’t the modern day but the late Victorian period? What if the world’s most famous consulting detective and his best friend lived in a Baker Street of steam trains, hansom cabs, top hats and frock-coats?
Welcome to ‘Sherlock’ in 1895!
Some things, though, remain reassuringly the same. Friendship, adventure and especially, MURDER…
Why is Thomas Ricoletti a little surprised to see his wife dressed in her old wedding gown? Because, just a few hours before, she took her own life…
Mrs Ricoletti’s ghost now appears to be prowling the streets with an unslakeable thirst for revenge. From fog-shrouded Limehouse to the bowels of a ruined church, Holmes, Watson and their friends must use all their cunning to combat an enemy seemingly from beyond the grave and the final, shocking truth about… the Abominable Bride!
So, that’s that. Except it still doesn’t tell us how exactly our sleuth and sidekick come be in 1895. Comments from Moffat and Gatiss, though, have given an indication of why.
“Ghost stories work better in a Victorian setting,” Moffat told Den of Geek. “This off strand of Doyle original stories that are creepy and scary, and the chillers, we haven’t done much with in the modern show. But putting it back into Victorian times, you think it’s a chance to do a ghost story, really – a creepy, scary one. Other than that, it’s remarkably similar.”
“The special is its own thing. We wouldn’t have done the story we’re doing, and the way we’re doing it, if we didn’t have this special. It’s not part of the run of three episodes. So we had this to do it – as we could hardly conceal – it’s Victorian. [Co-creator Mark Gatiss] and me, we wanted to do this, but it had to be a special, it had to be separate entity on its own. It’s kind of in its own little bubble,” he added to EW.
Mark Gatiss assured the RadioTimes that the special would still be recognisably the BBC’s new Sherlock, though: “It’s not suddenly going to be a different show. It’s essentially our Sherlock as if we’d always done it set in 1895. It has the same sensibility. The language is obviously slightly different but we wanted it to feel as funny and as vivid and as getable as our modern-day one. Otherwise it would be a sort of dusty period piece which is not what we are interested in.”
How did the whole thing come about? Moffat’s comments to Collider confirm any suspicions you might have had that it all started as a joke.
“As a running joke, we’d always said, ‘Should we try to get them into Victorian gear for a scene? Should we do a wee dream sequence, or have them go to a party?’ I remember when we were shooting the little prequel for Series 3, Mark [Gatiss] was doing second unit on it and I was hanging out with him ‘cause we hang out. We had a laugh and said, ‘Could we do it just once?’”
Now, they are doing it just once – before Sherlock films a full fourth season in 2016 – and we can’t wait.
Updated 14th December 2015
Here’s the newest trailer for the special:
Photo: Robert Viglasky