Snow in August and THE Woman – Last day filming A Scandal in Belgravia Sherlockabilia Shop Now Open

Snow in August and THE Woman – Last day filming A Scandal in Belgravia * 24 August 2011

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Some things are often considered to be rarer than hen's teeth. Snow in London during August, for instance, is most certainly one of those things. Seeing Lara Pulver in the flesh as Irene Adler, while filming the first episode of the second series of 'Sherlock', is another. Especially when she has shot the entire episode up until the final day with no one catching neither head nor hair of her…. and yet on the last day's filming of A Scandal in Belgravia we were lucky enough to witness both!

It was a little sad to know that this was to be Paul McGuigan's last day of filming his two episodes this series, and although Toby Haynes' episode, The Reichenbach Fall,still had several scenes to be shot (or reshot) the day after, finishing with actor free pick ups the day after that, it would mark the last day for most of the actors on and off set. Despite this, there was a really special atmosphere, which saw all the most familiar faces behind 'Sherlock' arriving for the last few hours of A Scandal in Belgravia,including Sue and Beryl Vertue, Steven Moffat and even after Mark Gatiss had shot his last scene as Mycroft, he came back to attend the final shots being filmed with his colleagues.

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It was a treat for us of course, as we thought, the fortnight before would be the last of series 2 we would see being filmed, but due to the riots preventing the evening scenes being shot on Tuesday 9th August, the team had no choice but to return to shoot the material they had had to abandon.

Martin, who as usual seemed to pop up from absolutely nowhere with the possible use of the One Ring, and Mark arrived onset around 5pm, and the team started the evening's filming by resuming the scene in Speedy's café between John and Mycroft. This was the same scene that had been abruptly called to a halt after police told the crew to pack up immediately as rioters were occupying all the surrounding streets a fortnight ago (as mentioned in our previous post Rain, Riots and Rumour - Filming A Scandal in Belgravia on location)

Benedict arrived shortly after them in his familiar chauffer driven silver Audi, but didn't start filming any scenes for a long while afterwards. He had arrived early to be interviewed, as was Andrew Scott and Mark Gatiss thereafter, at Euston Square Hotel for the DVD extras.

It was probably not the best scene for Martin to end with, as again the simulated rain was set up and Martin had to be 'wetted down' in order to look as if he had just come in out of the rain, all the while Mark safe in the knowledge that Mycroft always has his John Steed-esc umbrella for just such as occasion. To carry it around all the time, Mycroft clearly has no trust in the British weather at all (unless there is a blade hidden within the handle which is the real reason for carrying it around wherever he goes), and judging by the past few weeks, we don't blame him. In fact it was somewhat of a puzzle to watch the special effects guys set up this 'faux' rain when it was raining for real anyway - clearly it wasn't the 'right type of rain' though - and the accumulated fans watching the filming all stood in a line up and down the pavement sheltering under their own umbrellas, looking distinctly like 'The Mycroft Umbrella Appreciation Society'.

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Once the scene was completed Martin said his farewells and got into his waiting car with Mark. It was stopped just outside the hotel Benedict was in and he came bounding out to give them both a hug goodbye while they sat in the backseat of the car. Being closest, first Martin received a hug, but then Benedict had to lean over him (again the lack of personal space issues, between Martin and Benedict, is always endearing) to hug Mark also - although Mark of course would be coming back, once he had de-Mycrofted.

Next up was a very interesting Green Screen shot for a scene involving only Sherlock, while Mark and Andrew had their interviews. Andrew resurfaced shortly afterwards and we understood had a short scene, although we didn't see it as we assume it had to have been done in the same green screen tent. The tent itself was tucked away around the corner of the street and obscured from view by the lighting truck. Many fans risked life and limb standing in the road to get their photos of Benedict while we watched from the pavement on other side of the road, along with our friend and fellow fansite provider, the webmistress of benedictcumberbatch.co.uk. The four of us love 'Sherlock' of course, as much as the next person, but rather fancied staying alive long enough to at least see series 2 broadcast, so we remained where we were.

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It was certainly a day of hugs, and after Andrew and Benedict hugged one another goodbye, Andrew left and there was a break from filming while the cast and crew ate and then set up for the next scene. Andrew of course would be seeing Benedict the next day for the final scenes featuring cast members shot of series 2.

It had finally stopped raining by this point and most of the fans had dispersed to presumably get something to eat. It was around this time when we witnessed the funniest thing we've seen during all the days filming we'd been to… and it had absolutely nothing to do with the cast or crew whatsoever. We stood milling around and waiting, while a Domino's Pizza deliveryman wandering into view. He strode passed the door displaying No. 219, looked up at 221B and then carried on at a pace to 223 until he came to an abrupt halt in mid stride and started walking straight backwards again at the same pace, to confirm that yes, he had just seen the brass numbers 219, 221B and 223. He moved forward again hesitantly, checking the doors again as he went, weren't they meant to say 185, 187 and 189? As he puzzled this, all the while carrying his pizza and walking back and forth incase the numbers magically changed the more he peered at them, we roared with laughter from across the road wondering when a crew member would spot him and help him out. He checked up at the street name, what was going on? By this time, the thoughts going through his mind has to be anyone's guess, until the Location's Manager finally spotted him and pointed him it the right direction, to his obvious relief. Honestly, you just couldn't make it up!

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As the light was starting to draw in, on came the infamous purple floodlights and the fire engine drove up and down the street spraying water onto the already wet road, in preparation for the forthcoming shot. We had anticipated who we might see that evening, and were thankfully rewarded; THE Woman.

Now, with the exception of Sherlock and John's friendship on and off camera (or is the term we should be using Bromance?), we know Irene Adler is the next biggest thing most of our followers want to hear about. So when the lady in question turned up in her chauffer driven car, we were very excited to finally see her. We should say now, Lara Pulver is very beautiful indeed; in fact the screen does not do justice to how stunning she really is in real life. She will absolutely make an exquisite Irene and visually a perfect match for Benedict's Sherlock.

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The car pulled up next to Speedy's and let out another guest cast member, turned around and pulled back up to Speedy's so Lara would be exiting the car onto the pavement. She was sitting in the front seat and wound her window down to speak with Sue and then she chatted with the costume supervisor for a long long while. Eventually a little black box was handed to the crew member Lara was speaking to and in turn she passed it inside the car through the window. We realized it was a jewelry box as she placed a couple of rings on her fingers, one of which had a stone that twinkled so brightly we could see it even in the dimly lit street. She also put a pair of earrings on and then was handed a beige parker coat, which she awkwardly put on before getting out of the car. Now it wasn't that cold, cold enough as it was now dark, but not so cold that someone couldn't walk the distance of twenty foot from the car to 221B building without a coat. The fact that she even put it on before leaving the car in the cramped space before stepping out of the vehicle, suggested to us she was attempting to cover up what she was wearing. The cast and crew are obviously aware of the massive amount of interest in this second series, especially with endless spoiler photos appearing on the internet and in the press, in fact Benedict spent a great deal of time with his back to the hoards of fans watching probably for a similar reason. So, although we are hardly Sherlock Holmes when it comes to deduction, the thought did occur to us that perhaps what her costume was underneath the coat may be a little bit of a plot giveaway? She exited the car wrapped in her midlength parker coat and entered 221B, and the next time we saw her she was at the flat's right window where the living room should be.

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The scene was set up, with the exception of the light by the door which for whatever reason wouldn't work. Abandoning trying to fix it, they shot a scene with Sherlock leaving the premises without it on. Compared to other scenes, this one was completed relatively quickly with only a few takes and once the final cut was called, the cast and crew applauded a job well done. They all gathered together, hugs were given; Benedict and Lara also shared a hug as she reappeared on the street again wearing her coat, and there was a real sense of this series and all their hard work coming to a close.

Lara left without being bothered at all. However as Benedict attempted to walk down the street many fans took the opportunity to ask for his autograph and have photos taken with him. He obliged them as we again watched from the pavement (he had enough fans waiting on him without us adding to it as much as we would have dearly loved to have gone over too.) He still remains the one key cast and crew member we have not yet spoken to, but providing Sherlockology are around for series 3 filming, assuming it's commissioned, we may get an opportunity then? Perhaps at a time when he's a little less busy… although his fame seems to be growing at an alarming rate now so the likelihood of him been less busy in the future does seem increasingly slim.

This is probably a good point to talk about the fans. There were many who had come a great distance to watch the filming. There were fans from Brazil, South Korea and Japan, and Benedict wrote a beautiful message for the lovely lady from Japan after the devastating events endured by her country recently. We would also like to thank everyone who came over to speak to us (and the reason why we wear the lanyards as we are contacted a great deal by 'Sherlock' fans so feel we really should identify ourselves while out and about on Sherlockology business) and told us they followed us on Twitter and Tumblr etc. and were looking forward to the launch of our website next month. It's wonderful to receive such lovely feedback from people and we're honoured to be able to help those Sherlock fans who like us want to know more about 'Sherlock' and who of course support the series by watching it and making it popular.

Speaking of our followers, we did speak to Steven on your behalf as so many of you have gotten into contact with us asking what certain characters do for a job. Most can be accurately guessed at due to a certain scene or line in the script, but two in particular were proving difficult. One was Molly, we suspected she was a Pathologist but some people thought perhaps she could be a Morgue Attendant, Forensic Pathologist or Medical Examiner, in fact when we asked Louise Brealey even she wasn't sure, and in order to get it correct for our site as well, we knew Steven was the man to ask. The other was of course Anderson who obviously works in Forensics but doing what precisely? Steven was very kind to resolve both issues, confirming for us that Molly was indeed a general Pathologist and Anderson just Forensics, explaining they are not nailed down entirely as they want the flexibility to make them what ever is convenient for a particular scene. We did feel a little bit like Trekkie fans at a Sci-Fi convention asking such geeky questions, but we knew 'Sherlock' fans wanted to know. Steven was patient in his answers though even if we were just a little embarrassed in asking the questions and confessed we probably had a hundred more but having put ourselves on the spot couldn't think of what they might be.

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 Shortly after we spoke to Steven, Benedict left on a lowloader filming a final scene with another guest cast member and waved to the crowd through the vehicle window as they drove by. After this, we were invited into Speedy's for a coffee to warm up and were shown the framed photographs of series 1 which will be appearing on their walls soon, all the while Mark and Steven we sitting at a table toward the back having discussions over a laptop. At this point the snow started to 'fall' outside so we decided a hasty escape was necessary incase we got 'snowed in' or rather left unwelcome footprints in the otherwise virgin snow on the ground outside as we left the café. It looked beautiful once everything was covered in white, and felt very Christmassy indeed, which was quite bizarre being it was mid august and there was a sense that we should be feeling colder than we were. The scene turned out to be just an establishing shot of the street, with a great cameo by Beryl as a passenger in a passing taxi.

The 'Behind the Scenes' DVD extras crew also filmed this and all of a sudden we had two sets of camera not to get in the way of. Mark had a brief interview on the street in the snow and made a great display while returning to stand with Sue and Steven in trying to stamp the snow off his shoes - as it surprisingly behaves very much like the real thing!

Things were obviously winding down when the fire engine began to wash away the snow and as we stood by the crew there seemed to be a debate of what script Benedict should be using for his scene and Steven had to make a phone call to resolve it, having to speak somewhat it code explaining he was "in public" so as not to give any plot details away to those in earshot.

Mark, Sue and Steven left straight afterwards, and with that the filming of the episode had come to a close, certainly for anyone watching at North Gower Street anyway. Benedict's car was still waiting for him, but it was 11:30pm by this time and being fairly certain after finishing the scene he would just return to his car and go home, we thought we should do the same.

It has been the greatest privilege to spend so many days watching the filming of 'Sherlock' in London over the past few months. The cast and crew are especially friendly and helpful and often happy to chat with fans when they have the time, not to mention being very tolerant on occasion. It never stops being a thrill to see the cast in costume and watching them act in character as John, Mycroft, Lestrade, Moriarty and always and especially Sherlock himself, who is the most imposing figure to see in the flesh!

It is sad to think that hair will be cut and hairy feet and curly wigs put back on, and Sherlock and John will exist no more until likely the end of next year. At least for now we have Series 2 to look forward to when it is broadcast next year and we can finally find out the answers to all those questions buzzing around in our minds…

For instance, how do Sherlock and John escape Moriarty at the pool…?

Are there actually going to be K9s in Mark's episode or another clever twist…?

By whose hand will Sherlock no doubt appear to die at the end of the series and leave us with another likely unbearable cliffhanger…?

 And will Irene Adler really be THE Woman for Sherlock…?

We wait, with what is absolutely painfully baited breath, until all will be answered next year…

But for now, we must bid Sherlock and John and all the other characters a fond farewell.

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