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The Sherlockology Review of 2012 * 31 December 2012

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And so ends 2012, a packed year for BBC Sherlock and for Sherlockology itself. It's the close of our first full year of running the website and all the connected social accounts, and 'full' is certainly the right word when looking back on the past twelve months.

 2012 started with a bang of course on January 1st with the world premiere TV screening of A Scandal in Belgravia. While we had seen the episode a few weeks beforehand at its first public screening at the BFI, it lost none of its impact when translated to the small screen. In the days before the television broadcast of The Hounds of Baskerville though we attended a BAFTA screening of the episode in Cardiff, which featured a Q&A session with Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue. Although every episode of Sherlock is cinematic, Hounds in particular really was at its best in a darkened room on the big screen, (with Sherlockology members hiding underneath their seats during the lab scene with John) while the Q&A demonstrating again the Sherlock team's passion and dedication in faithfully adapting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work for the modern world.

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And after all that build up, the three episodes were over, and we were left to ponder another cliffhanging mystery for an unknown amount of time - but this one was far more devilish that what had closed out The Great Game. Sherlock's survival at the conclusion of The Reichenbach Fall sent both the media and online fans into a near meltdown of speculation, exactly as was intended. And breaking the water tight layer of secrecy, Steven Moffat revealed on Twitter immediately after the episode had finished screening that we would indeed be getting a third series of Sherlock - it had been greenlit at the same time as series two, allowing them to construct this incredibly fiendish ending from the very beginning of production. From then on, Sherlock series two began to roll out across the globe, with some territories getting to see it far sooner than others, but with all asking the same thing - "How did Sherlock survive?" The Reichenbach Fall's narrative also inspired an underground movement that sprung up online and began to seep out into reality - the infamous 'I Believe in Sherlock Holmes' meme, with posters and graffiti popping up on walls worldwide, and nowhere more prominently than the exterior of St Bart's Hospital itself...

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The success of Sherlock series two January also saw a glut of other events. Most memorably, we were invited to attend The Sherlock Holmes Society Annual Dinner in Westminster, where we heard Steven Moffat deliver a speech of incredible verve, humour and heart. In fact, Steven's ability to deliver a 30 minute after dinner speech with no notes, but seamlessly pack it full of laugh out loud quips, anecdotes and the story behind how the series came to be, left us thinking what a great pity it is he only has time to work behind the camera instead of in front of it.

We also had our first meeting with composer Michael Price, who gave a superb and in-depth demonstration of the music construction of Sherlock to a group of students at the BFI.

Away from Sherlock itself, it was announced in early January that Benedict Cumberbatch would be joining the cast of the latest Star Trek film, something that caught nearly everyone by surprise. It would take until the end of the year for any clear look at him in the film, though a series of leaks of onset photos and video through February revealed that he would be playing the film's villain, thus igniting a new seam of speculation that has still yet to be quenched. And for us, January also saw the start of nominations for the Shorty Awards, which - from their own blurb - 'honour the best of social media, recognizing the people and organizations producing real-time short form content across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Foursquare, and the rest of the social web.'

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The public voting lasted through February, with us winning the top spot of the fansite category. That saw us invited to attend the awards ceremony in New York City in March, and to our surprise and delight we won the Shorty Award for Best Fansite 2012. If you told us back in May 2011 - when we launched our Twitter account and thus everything that would eventually spin out of it - that we'd find ourselves on a stage at The Times Center in New York collecting an award for our work that people had voted for... we simply would not have believed you.

Also in March we took part in The Second Great Sherlock Holmes Debate, following on from the success of Sherlock series two and pitting it against Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The debate's purpose was to raise support and increase awareness for The Save Undershaw Preservation Trust and help them reach their 10,000 Facebook 'likes' target before the judicial review in May to save Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former home. The month also saw the first of our many trips to see cast members from BBC Sherlock on stage with Mark Gatiss' irrepressible turn in The Recruiting Officer at the Donmar Warehouse.

As well as all that though, we'd been working on delivering the content for series two on our website almost as soon as it had finished broadcasting on UK television, including an epic eight mile walk across London finding the new locations, many hours on Google identifying props and wardrobe, and even pinging emails back and forth between the crew on the series. We eventually launched the new look Sherlockology in early April, and were overwhelmed with the response. 

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April was the month for awards nominations. We'd been pushing Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2012 TIME 100 Poll with a fan created poster campaign #VoteBenedictToWin since late March, and thanks to all his fans he placed 7th in the public vote - the highest positioned actor in the public poll, not only above the likes of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie but also the President of the United States, Barack Obama, leading Benedict to comment: "Apparently I beat the leader of the free world. How do you like that? It's ridiculous. I'm slightly flattered. It might be an alphabetical thing. It's crazy. It's really crazy. (A friend joked), 'Are you running for president?'" Though he didn't win a placement on the final poll in the print magazine - that position going to counter-culture group Anonymous - Benedict's mere appearance on the poll was remarkable, and indicative of the passion of his growing fanbase.

Sherlock also picked up three nominations for acting in the series at the 2012 BAFTA Television Awards this month, with Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for Best Actor, while Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott went head to head in the Best Supporting Actor category. We also launched another fan poster campaign #VoteSHERLOCK4BAFTA , to try and get Sherlock to win the YouTube Audience Award - after it lost out to The Only Way is Essex in 2011, but come the awards themselves in May Andrew was the sole nominee to take home a BAFTA statuette, while Steven Moffat received a Special Award for his work in television writing, presented to him by Benedict and Matt Smith. The Sherlock team were greatly touched by the huge effort fans had put into the public vote, as producer Sue Vertue told Sherlockology, "We really liked all the posters. [Sherlock fans] couldn't have done more for the YouTube Audience Award. Thanks for all the support."

BAFTA 2012 Winners

Steven Moffat recieves his BAFTA Special Award from Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt SMith, while Andrew Scott won won Best Supporting Actor, presented by Helen McRory.

May saw further success, but of a historical nature. The long fought campaign to save Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's home of Undershaw in Surrey from redevelopment scored a crucial victory in the High Court on May 30th. That day also saw the publication of Sherlock's Home: The Empty House, a collection of fan submitted short stories and writing edited by us in support of the campaign to save the property. While the legal wrangles continued throughout the year and are of course continuing, this was the first and most significant victory on the ongoing road to securing the property for the nation. Earlier in the month Sherlock finally launched in the United States, and saw a significant press tour by PBS that had Benedict, Steven and Sue Vertue travelling the country promoting the series across a variety of venues - including a stint on the Marvel Comics Podcast that saw Sherlockology name dropped at the conclusion, to our near-chair-falling-off surprise.    

June was a quieter midpoint in 2012, where the National Theatre began redistributing Danny Boyle's award winning production of Frankenstein to cinemas worldwide, allowing new audiences to compare the multi faceted performances of Benedict and Jonny Lee Miller in their alternating roles of creator and creature, and we paid our first visit to Undershaw . July was a different story, with Martin Freeman attending San Diego Comic Con alongside other cast and crew from The Hobbit in the first major promotional push for the film, following the wrap of principal photography on July 6th - though it was of course later revealed that additional filming would be required in 2013. One day this month saw one of the most hectic days of the year for us, starting with seeing Benedict perform a reading of John Osbourne's play Look Back in Anger on stage in London, before a mad sprint home to take part in a highly enjoyable online webchat hosted by the Radio Times as part of their Sherlock week. Though his appearance on stage was a one off, other Sherlock cast began longer runs in the theatre in July, with Louise Brealey appearing in the comedy Birthday at the Royal Court, and Una Stubbs performed as part of the ensemble of the National Theatre's hugely successful adaptation of novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. July closed with the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, which completely dominated life in the UK for their duration into August - but they began with Benedict being afforded the honour of introducing the BBC's coverage on the night of July 27th.

 

Benedict popped up on UK screens again in August, in his starring role in the major BBC/HBO mini-series Parade's End. Adapted by Tom Stoppard from Ford Maddox Ford's novel, the five part drama set at the turn of the last century featured incredible performances from the entire cast. The series debuted on August 24th, the same day that we made a trip to Edinburgh to hear Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Sue Vertue and Andrew Scott give an insightful talk about the creation of Sherlock at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. But while there, we got the first proper tease for Sherlock series three - three words that were spoken aloud by Steven, Mark and Sue that hint at possible story threads for the future.

"Rat, Wedding, Bow"

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Sue Vertue, Andrew Scott, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss pick up one of two awards for Sherlock at the Media Guardian Edinburgh Internation Television Festival on August 24 2012.

Through September the first proper hints of official Sherlock merchandise began to be revealed, and in conjunction with BBC Books and Ebury Publishing we revealed the first exclusive looks at the tie-in book Sherlock: The Casebook. A wall calendar and a Sherlock version of popular board game Cluedo were also listed for release, and all eventually made it out to retailers in October. Early October saw a packed out panel at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, where Benedict was interviewed by Louise Brealey on the subject of Sherlock Holmes, and also his life and career as well. Mark Gatiss also made his second appearance on the London stage in October, appearing as King Charles I in the astounding production of new play 55 Days. But even while he was performing at the Hampstead Theatre, Mark had one last Sherlock surprise up his sleeve for 2012. Announced in the middle of October and taking place on 11th November, The Game Is On: An Afternoon with Mark Gatiss & Friends was the first event dedicated to BBC Sherlock itself that featured cast and crew in attendance. Mark was joined by Steven, Sue, Martin Freeman, Rupert Graves and Louise Brealey, and all fielded questions from fans online and in attendance with incredible humour and grace. November also saw our final theatre trip of 2012, to see Louise in a challenging and chilling interpretation of The Trojan Women

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Mark Gatiss hosts The Game Is On alongside Martin Freeman, Rupert Graves, Louise Brealey, Sue Vertue and Steven Moffat on November 11 2012.

December proved to be an apt bookend to the year as a whole, featuring both Benedict and Martin exploding onto cinema screens worldwide, while Andrew Scott received his first star billing in a television drama in The Town on ITV in the UK. The debut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey saw Martin at the forefront of a film that has thus far financially outperformed any instalment in the now classic Lord of the Rings Trilogy, while we finally received our first proper glimpses of Benedict's villainous turn in the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, due out in May 2013. In both cases, it struck us as a little odd to see the pair of them projected so large - in our case, the five storey tall screen of the BFI IMAX in London - but that scale was also indicative of the success that they are deservedly receiving. In July 2010, Sherlock was an unknown quantity, not least by us. As we said last year, we were flabbergasted by the success we had had from the germ of a small idea when we conceived Sherlockology, success that we never intended or expected. Though it's very different and in a completely different league for these two leading actors, both Benedict and Martin are now receiving a marked change in their own careers, and that has been the thing we've noticed grow throughout 2012. Both they, the other cast and the crew of Sherlock have gone from strength to strength over the last twelve months as we have followed along reporting on them, and going into 2013 this will doubtless only continue to grow - not least as Sherlock series three enters production fully in March.

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And we, as we have for the past twelve months, will be looking forward to following the story of this remarkable series and all associated with it in the year ahead.

From Team Sherlockology: Jules, Emma, David and Leif

Happy New Year!