The Sherlockology Review of 2014 Sherlockabilia Shop Now Open

The Sherlockology Review of 2014 * 31 December 2014

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Could there be a better way to start the year if you're a Sherlock fan?

Blasting into 2014 with gusto, the third series of our favourite BBC series at last promised to answer the question that had been plaguing us for two years… just how did Sherlock survive that rather steep drop off the roof of St Bart's Hospital? In many ways we were given the perfect solution in The Empty Hearse, one that could be feasible after some intentionally OTT misdirection, but also one that ended up laced with ambiguity - so much so that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had to shift in interviews from maintaining that questioning stance to categorically stating that the final airbag assisted conclusion was the only possible way to do it. 

But it didn't end there. In the space of a mere twelve days, the third series of Sherlock had already been and gone, with the warm fizzy complexity of The Sign of Three and the literally heart stopping thrills of His Last Vow rounding out what we had waited so long for - and then, at the end, another conclusion to leave us all on tenterhooks for the foreseeable future with the apparent return of Jim Moriarty!

January also saw the debut of something else that had been long awaited by fans - Sherlock: The Network, an interactive game app for iOS (and later Android) that allowed players to solve crimes under the watchful eye of Sherlock Holmes, while interacting with John Watson and Mycroft Holmes, all in specially recorded video featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Mark Gatiss.

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From then on, the year took a turn to the quiet. In February, Sherlocked: The Convention was announced to be taking place later in 2014. The first official convention for the series, featuring the attendance of the cast and crew, the convention ultimately fell victim to the very nature of the series itself - the availability of those cast and crew. At the time of writing, Sherlocked remains without a solid date. In March came the news that Undershaw, the famous former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had been saved from unsympathetic redevelopment works and would be converted into a school - but again, the building currently finds itself caught in the same situation it started in, with conservation groups objecting to the school proposals. March also saw one of the most popular photos of the year posted at the Oscars - no, not that amazing selfie from Ellen DeGeneres, but Benedict Cumberbatch photobombing U2 on the red carpet!

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By the time April rolled around, the cast of Sherlock had been busy with other projects, and it was time to see the results. Martin Freeman made a blazing debut on April 15th in the FX limited series Fargo, spinning off from the classic Coen Brothers film. This was the first of two roles this year where Martin seemed to deliberately work away from the warm image we hold him in in Sherlock or The Hobbit trilogy. As Lester Nygard, an emasculated, then empowered, and eventually utterly amoral individual, we rooted for him and then completely abandoned him in our sympathies - an astonishing turn of events for a viewer.

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Also hitting the stage again was Andrew Scott. His performance in Birdland, as a fracturing rock star struggling was hedonistic excess, was another turn where all who saw it found their affinity wavering. Richly metaphorical, particularly in its staging, Birdland was another triumph for Andrew.

May brought with it an exciting moment for Sherlockology - we were finally able to launch an exclusive line of Sherlock-inspired jewellery in partnership with Honeybourne Jewellery. The eagle eyed had spotted producer Sue Vertue sporting one of the pieces during publicity for the Sherlock launch in January, and we were delighted to offer the unique pieces to everyone a few months later. 

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Aside from the conclusion of Fargo in June, there seemed to be a true lull by the middle of the year - but that in turn was a bit misleading. When July rolled around, it brought with the news of the return of Sherlock in not just a fourth series, but also a one-off special. With the special filming first, in January 2015, and the series itself shooting later next year, the time to start eagerly anticipating more adventures once again began to kick into high gear.

First though came the second of Martin Freeman's type-defying roles, this time on stage. As William Shakespeare's Richard III at Trafalgar Studios, Martin cut a ferocious yet slyly homicidal figure. Bearded and limping, this Richard was still a world away from the traditional historical figure we are accustomed to, transplanted instead to a dystopic vision of late 1970s Britain where he cut a swath through his opponents. In his greatest moment, Freeman subverted Richard's most famous line of furious frustration and instead turned it into desperate yet ironic comedy. The tragedy of the play though was that it was never recorded. 

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In August, Sherlock won big in the TV movie / miniseries categories at the Emmy Awards for S3E3 His Last Vow, taking home both best actor and best supporting actor for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, but also best writer for Steven Moffat, at last gaining the show some welcome recognition among wider audiences in the USA. August also saw the Ice Bucket challenge sweep the globe, and members of the Sherlock cast and crew got involved. Benedict Cumberbatch was among the most nominated celebrities anywhere, having first been called out by Tom Hiddleston - so when he was able to deliver his Ice Bucket Challenge, it was certainly worth it. It has to be said, we also got very kindly nominated, and accepted the challenge with great enthusiasm - and kudos remains everlasting to Sherlock's production designer Arwel Jones for accepting our nomination of him!

The following month, the brilliant Pride made its wide release in cinemas on both sides of the Atlantic. Featuring Andrew Scott among a vast ensemble cast, this true story of burgeoning gay rights among the miner's strike of the early 1980s was a classically British tale that had a wide appeal, and was easily one of the best films released in 2014.

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The end of 2014 was basically anything but quiet. We made a trip to Newcastle for ScreamCon on November 1, where we found ourselves in the unexpected position of being asked to interview Louise Brealey on stage! Having survived that first surprise, the events of the rest of the month continued to bring them - not least with the announcement of Benedict's engagement to Sophie Hunter, placed with good old fashioned stealth in the back pages of The Times. The traditional approach caught many off guard, not least The Times itself, who were utterly unaware of the exclusive hidden in their pages that morning!

The final surprise of the month was the secret read through for the Sherlock special on November 25, announced only after it had begun, and unusually way in advance of the start of filming for the episode - another sign perhaps of the packed schedules of all concerned.

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November also saw a couple of other significant releases - The Imitation Game, with Benedict Cumberbatch in blistering, awards worthy form as mathematician and undisputable World War II hero Alan Turing, and on bookshelves was Sherlock: Chronicles, a brilliant look behind the scenes of the BBC series.  

The year closed out in blockbuster fashion for the Sherlock cast, with the news on December 4 of Andrew Scott joining the cast of the 24th James Bond film Spectre, and then hours later the long awaited confirmation after months of rumour that Benedict Cumberbatch will be joining the Marvel cinematic universe as the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange. By the end of the month, both Martin and Benedict were back in cinemas (though arguably, not quite as much as we would have liked) in the action packed final instalment of The Hobbit Trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies.

2014 then started and ended in gigantic fashion for Sherlock fans. 2015 looks to bring us full circle once again, with the start of filming on the next instalment of Sherlock on January 6 2015. At present, we can't actually say whether or not we'll have seen this new episode by this time next year (we're saying its hugely likely) but the time for feverish anticipation is once again upon us - though it's debatable of course whether it truly ever goes away!

From Team Sherlockology - Jules, Emma, Leif and David - a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 
 
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