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The Sherlockology Review of 2011 * 31 December 2011


As we come to the end of 2011, we thought it would be fitting to look back on the year whose conclusion will bring us the return of Sherlock to UK screens tomorrow night, and detail the coming about of our website, dedicated to this most remarkable series.

Our story, like many Sherlock fans out there, started back in July 2010 when a very exciting trailer was broadcast on BBC One. With a soundtrack of Muse, amidst a backdrop of black cabs, mobile phones and a 21st Century London, a new incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, in the form of rising star Benedict Cumberbatch, practically exploded onto our screens. An instant hit and with only three ninety minute episodes to recommend it, it achieved cult status almost immediately, going on to win numerous awards come the awards season this year. 

The new BBC series renewed our own interest in Sherlock Holmes, which had waned after the tragic loss of Jeremy Brett had ended the Granada series of the eighties and nineties. Out came the books again, and in September 2010 we undertook a trip to Speedy's café and the Sherlock Holmes Museum in the real Baker Street, but it wasn't until April of 2011 that the idea of fansite dedicated to the series came about.

On Saturday 9th April 2011 we attended the comic convention KAPOW! in north London, for the sole purpose of 'An Audience with Mark Gatiss', in the hope he would maybe speak a little about the second series of 'Sherlock' - and we were rewarded with the exclusive first announcement of the titles for the three planned future episodes. It was thrilling to see the co-writer/creator of 'Sherlock' - not to mention 'Mycroft Holmes' - in the flesh, and even more so, knowing we were off to see 'Frankenstein' at the Nation Theatre, starring Benedict Cumberbatch; 'Sherlock Holmes' himself, that very same evening!

As fantastic as the day would be for any 'Sherlock' fan, a fansite was still the last thing on our minds. That Saturday had renewed our excitement for 'Sherlock' so much we went straight home and started searching the internet for any information we could find on the subject… and that's when the faintest spark of an idea appeared. There was so very little out there. How could this be? The series was amazing, how could there be so little information on it available on the net? We wanted to know where it had been filmed, what brands the costumes they wore were by, what phone or laptop or even suitcase was used? But there was so very, very little, let alone any news on the upcoming series. So, armed with Google and a little spare time, the game was on! Search, observe, detect and deduce we did, until we started finding some of the answers to the many questions we had. 

There was a bigger question though - we couldn't be the only ones who wanted to know this sort of information surely? It was not until all four future members of Sherlockology went on an Easter trip to Rome to escape the media blitz of the Royal Wedding that many things began to click into place. While walking the city we saw many tours of the locations used in the film 'Angels and Demons' based on Dan Brown's novel, and in the days afterwards we thought to create a fansite; a Sherlockopedia as it were, acting as a central hub of information on the series for others out there interested in the subject. It was conceived to be a small site and we imagined if we were lucky, it may attract five visitors a week, instead as it stands today, attracts twice that many visitors every second!  


'The best and the wisest men whom I have ever known. Sort of.' - Mark Gatiss, 10th May 2011

As it turns out, this germ of an idea couldn't have been better timed. 'Sherlock' Series 2 had its first read through of the second episode,  'The Hounds of Baskerville' on Monday 9th May 2011 with filming commencing the week after. We launched our Twitter account two days later on May 11th  2011. As this was Mark Gatiss' penned episode he was particularly proficient in tweeting updates and photographs all the way through the shoot, and the Sherlockology team stayed up through every night filming took place, to keep abreast with the goings on with the cast and crew. With the night shoots continuing on until 6am on most days, it wasn't a surprise that we weren't very coherent during our day jobs that week! 


'By request…' - Mark Gatiss, 4th June 2011

A few fans found their way onto filming locations, and a couple of fuzzy hastily taken photographs of parking lots filled with production trailers appeared online, but in general the shoot was shrouded in mystery, any tidbit of information fuelling our excitement for what was to come. 


One photograph tweeted by Mark gave us our first hint of the storyline changes to come, and one of the team remains pleased to this day at guessing Hounds featured a military element from this image.

Filming of Paul McGuigan's episode of Hounds completed Friday 10 June 2011, after 22 days filming. No filming in London seemed to have occurred for this episode, taking place in small villages, a former gas works, the countryside around Cardiff, and apparently on Dartmoor, with the last two days spent on the 221B interior set at the BBC studios in Cardiff. During the last day of filming we attended a screening of 'The Private Life of Shelock Holmes' at the Lexi Cinema in London, hosted by Mark Gatiss and also attended by Steven Moffat. The evening marked the first piece of writing for Sherlockology, as well as the first memorable meeting with the production team of Sherlock itself.

The episode moved to editing on Monday 13th June, as Toby Haynes took the reins to direct the final of the three episodes in series 2, 'The Reichenbach Fall'. After the weeks read through, filming commenced again on Monday 20 June 2011 on the 221B interior set at the BBC Studios in Cardiff, followed by several days at historic sites including Newport Cemetery, Cardiff Castle, Tredegar House, and Cardiff City Hall, as well as other areas around Cardiff including Broadway and Cardiff Bay.

Production on this episode moved to London, taking in the redressed North Gower Street for Baker Street exteriors, as well as other locations around the city including two days at Smithfield Market. Sherlockology was lucky enough to attend several days filming and we were even caught on camera, which was later published in the tabloids, as we watched the filming of a pivotal confrontation in the episode along with a couple of Twitter friends (those eagle eyed enough may be able to spot us in the photo below.) 


A surprisingly 'onlooker free' day, shooting the first scene in London for Series 2 in Whitfield Street for 'The Reichenbach Fall'. This was one of the many photos that made it into the tabloid papers. The photographer who took it was kind enough to pass it onto to Sherlockology, as he managed to snap us watching with a couple of twitter friends.

  It was such a great thrill to finally see Sherlock, John and many of the other characters 'for real' as it were and we wrote a report of the filming we attended entitled Sherlock's London.  

  Principal photography completed on the evening of Sunday  17th July 2011 after another 22 days filming.

Filming commenced on 'A Scandal in Belgravia' - the final episode to be filmed, but the first to be screened - on Monday 25th July 2011 on the 221B set at the BBC Studios in Cardiff.  On Tuesday 2 August a day was spent at Bristol South Pool filming the resolution of the series one cliffhanger, and the production then moved to London on Saturday 6th August 2011 for several days, where locations included work at North Gower Street for 221B exteriors and a day inside Battersea Power Station.


Paul McGuigan and Sue Vertue allowed us the best seat in the house for this scene. If you look closely you can see us sitting outside Speedy's sipping coffee while the action plays out.

As we have noted, its easy to become lost in this ficticious world being played out before your eyes, but reality rudely barged in on Tuesday 9th August 2011, when filming had to be halted during the shooting of some of the episode's closing scenes in North Gower Street thanks to the sudden and violent rioting that tore across London and other British cities. We were onset when the crew were told to leave as a precautionary measure, and wrote up a report on the day's events.

Rain, Riots and Rumours

Despite the interruption, production returned to Cardiff to complete filming on the 221B interiors. The crew returned to London, where filming on the episode concluded in North Gower Street on Tuesday 23rd August 2011 just after 23:00BST, after a total of 25 days of filming. We were again onset that day, which saw the presence of not only the entire Sherlock producing team but the appearance of Lara Pulver as Irene Adler, where we were able to snag the first clear shots of her in character - photos which would lead to a frenzy of internet speculation thanks to the realization of what she was wearing - and the odd, magical sight of a street in central London transformed into a festive wintery scene in mid August:

Snow in August and THE Woman

While filming had completed on A Scandal in Belgravia, principal photography actually concluded on the second series of Sherlock the next day, Wednesday 24th August 2011, for a dramatic scene on the roof of St Bart's Hospital from the conclusion of 'The Reichenbach Fall.' Filming occurred until the last of the daylight, with Mark Gatiss tweeting a final photo from the roof of the building.

This was the end of filming on the series, but there was still a long road ahead until the episodes could be considered complete. While there were drips of information throughout the rest of the year from the production team - not least the highly informative Tweets from Paul McGuigan on the edit status - its fair to say we thought the rest of the year would wind down a bit. We were of course, completely wrong. 


 'Goodbye, farewell, amen. If anyone wants me, I'll be in bed for a month.' - Mark Gatiss, 24th August 2011

Despite all our hurtling about, two things took our time in September. Firstly, on Friday 16th September 2011 we walked the 20 miles London hike for Maggie's Centres. It was a hugely rewarding, physically exhausting, but completely unforgettable experience. We would again like to say the most enormous thank you to our followers who so generously sponsored us. We can reveal that we made£2500 in total for the charity, a frankly astounding figure.

And secondly, the long awaited Sherlockology website was finally launched on Tuesday 27th September 2011, receiving an astounding 60,000 hits in the first 24 hours. We'd been working on the site for months, and the launch was without doubt one of the highpoints of the year. The continuing number of visitors to the site is immensely rewarding, and far beyond what we ever imagined back in April. We continued working on the site from then on, as well as attending numerous Sherlock related events and plays, not least of which was the BFI screening of the first episode of the new series - 'A Scandal in Belgravia'. As we noted in our Review and  Screening Report, it was an extraordinary, communal experience, a true demonstration of the love the series is held in by it's fans.

2012 will be even bigger and better for Sherlock, from the broadcast of the new series at the start, to Martin starring in The Hobbit at the very end, with numerous other events throughout, including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  hopefully being recognised during the annual awards season.

 So, whats to come from Sherlockology in 2012?

  In the first week of January we will be attending the BAFTA screening of 'The Hounds of Baskerville' in Cardiff, and will be bringing you all a report on that - we are extremely curious what the atmosphere will be like in comparison to the BFI screening!

On January 7th 2012 Alistair Duncan, our friend and Sherlock Holmes reference book author, will be attending the annual Sherlock Holmes Society dinner at the Houses of Parliament and reporting on it on our behalf, due to the presence of Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue as guests of honour. We are Society members ourselves, but due to places being limited invitations went to a ballot for the dinner. This one event had particular relevance and importance for us to attend in order to share Steven's speech with all of you, so disappointingly we could only arrange for a report to be written on our behalf due to not securing any tickets in the ballot.

Sherlockology itself will continue to add new content to the site. First up will be a monthly wallpaper calendar for download, each one highlighting the episodes and characters of the series. Thanks to the popularity of our Sherlock 2011 Advent Calendar, we're working on a little Easter Egg hunt for early April. Further sections of the site will be added, we'll be working more with video - including video tours of the locations - and May 2012 will see the addition of props, wardrobe and locations content from Sherlock series 2, which we are already working on! May will also see the expansion of Sherlockology into other areas, so watch this space…

To sum it all up, the most surprising and pleasurable personal highlights during 2011 for us were our encounters with the cast and crew and making new friends with other Sherlock fans from around the globe. We knew something was up when we bumped into Martin at Derren Brown's theatrical show Svengali  - a rare non Sherlock related excursion [or so we thought!], and from then on it just continued. From our chats with the cast and crew during filming, to attending the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy UK premiere and after party  , we were somewhere we simply couldn't have even imagined back in late July 2010 when we first watched 'A Study in Pink'. While this may sound self-indulgent, we'd prefer to think of it as a rule for everyone - if you have an idea, even a small one, it can lead to some crazy and extremely unexpected places.

So a big thank you to you, the fans of Sherlock, for your support during the year. We created the site for you all, and your reaction and engagement with us since May has been nothing short of astonishing. As we said when we hit that amazing first 100 followers on Twitter back at the start, we are left humble by you all.

From Team Sherlockology: Jules, Emma, David and Leif

Happy New Year!

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