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Sherlockology is 5 today! * 11 May 2016

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Sherlockology is five years old today!

It's been a fun, strange road for us in those five years. This website started out as a fun idea for a hobby, and has grown into something unlike anything we expected. We described all that last year though. This year, we've decided to bring you something a little lighter - our memorable moments from throughout those five years, in our own words. Three members of the team - Jules, Emma and David - sat down for a trip down memory lane…

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The Lexi Cinema

Around a month after Sherlockology was started up, we attended our first 'real' function connected to the show - a screening of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes at the Lexi Cinema in London, hosted by Mark Gatiss and featuring an unannounced guest...

Emma: The Lexi trip will always stand out for me as it was the first time we got to see Mark (and Steven) talking about Sherlock and how passionate they are about it. It was also one of the only times we were all a bit star struck, I still remember the butterflies in my belly at the excitement of talking to them for the first time.

Jules:  I remember us standing outside the Lexi and Steven Moffat coming through the gate and walking past us while I froze and you were looking in your bag for something and totally missed it. We waited until the end to speak to Mark and Steven and asked them a question about writing the pool scene.

David: Taking the pictures of them for the first time was mildly nerve wracking. And then Emma fell in a gap between the stairs and Steven caught her!

Emma: Oh god, that was SO embarrassing!!

Jules: We said we ran a fansite but didn't say the name and then we were elated to find Steven had followed us on Twitter three days later as he only followed one other fansite and that was for Doctor Who.

David: Elated I don't think quite covers what we were like upon that discovery.

Jules: I've said and done some spectacularly embarrassing things over the course of the last five years though, usually involving Steven or Mark for some reason. Probably the worst was when I accidentally tried to mug Mark of Mycroft's umbrella. We'd been contacted by someone who was a huge fan of his, so when we next saw Mark, we brought along a photograph for him to sign for her. Mark was holding the umbrella and it was a bit awkward for him to sign with so much in his hands so he gestured for me to take something from him, which I did by trying to prise the umbrella from his grip thinking that's what he meant. He immediately corrected me in a very Mycroft manner, explaining, "Not the umbrella. The pen lid!" which I hadn't noticed at all until that moment.

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Filming

Believe it or not, back when we started Sherlock was actually a 'small' television show. It had been a huge ratings hit with the first series admittedly, but it had yet to receive the levels of fandom anticipation that arrived with the filming of the third series. Filming on the second series was actually relatively quiet, and oddly more intimate.

Jules: We ran the site very different early on when we would keep up to date with casting news and some spoilers and Sue tweeted us to say she couldn't confirm or deny anything, but 'Moffat' was spelt with only one T. We never made that mistake again. We were very lucky meeting Sue for the first time at Speedy's and her noticing our card and then coming over to introduce us to the BBC publicist when we thought she was going to tell us to move. Paul McGuigan sat down to chat with us between takes and said we could stay sitting where we were while they filmed next to us.

Emma: Our first visit to Speedy's to see filming take place was very memorable - just because it was all so surreal. Another one of my favourite things was snapping that photo of Benedict in the sheet...

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Jules: I actually found that quite embarrassing as we were sitting right beside him, I didn't know where to look! Didn't the heel snap on one of your shoes and the props guys tried to fix it for you?

Emma: Yes it did! I spent the whole day having to walk on my tiptoes so it didn't look like I had some weird limp. The props guy spent ages trying to find me some glue to mend it, you'd think it would be one of the one things they actually had with them but alas no.

Jules: We were gutted once after watching filming late into the evening and just when we called it a night Benedict and Martin came over to the half a dozen fans that were left to have a chat and sign stuff. Unimaginable for so few people to be there during Speedy's filming now.

David: I mostly remember a very unfortunate Dominos delivery driver being confused by the altered door numbers in North Gower Street one evening during filming on Reichenbach.

Jules: And more than a few tourists wondering how they had ended up in Baker Street! During the shooting of Reichenbach, Emma and I were chatting with the security guys while we waited all day for filming to begin in Whitfield Street, where they were filming the scenes between Sherlock and Moriarty in the Taxi cab, and then the shooting of the hitman. Security tried to be clever by deducing us and saying it was something to do with the television production they were working for, not knowing that was exactly why we were there.

Emma: It was very quiet that day. Maybe ten people watching, including us.

Jules: Haha, it was MOSTLY quiet! I just remembered Emma being startled by the shots fired during the filming of that scene. Martin arrived quite later on in the evening for his scenes and we were so excited when Andrew turned up to play the cabbie as we didn't realise it was him to begin with. You could just make out us watching in the background in the paparazzi photos that appeared in the tabloids the next day.

Emma: I was filming that scene on my phone at the time the shots were fired and I pretty much dropped my phone it made me jump that much. I wasn't expecting it at all! I still laugh watching that footage back.

Jules: That was the first evening you spoke to Martin. We'd been to see Derren Brown a week or two before and in had walked Martin and Amanda to our utter surprise and sat a few rows in front of us. I remember you were talking about the show to him.

David: The final night of location filming at Speedy's for Series Two was quite magical - mostly as there was snow on the ground! Somehow or other I ended up standing next to Mark after they'd finished, and the stuff was about to be hosed away, and remarked that it was the last chance to make a snow angel. Mark found that mildly amusing.

Emma: Another of the nights that stick in my mind was when the London riots were going on. We were outside Speedy's chatting as the set was being packed up then before we knew it we were told to jump in a van by the crew and were driven away as a huge gang of people came down the street, it was actually quite scary! I've never seen a group of people move so fast to pack up a set though. Thankfully no one was hurt and only a window was broken on one of the fire engines used to damp the street down.

Jules: I remember someone tweeted, "Will Sherlockology die in the 2nd season of BBC's Sherlock?" We were never sure if they meant us personally or Sherlock. But it does prove we read all our tweets!

David: Filming on Series Three was very different, but I'll never forget how much fun was being had on the set the weekend they filmed the solutions to Sherlock's survival at Bart's. I was wandering around really, having noticed some prime views away from everyone else behind the now famous crowd control barriers. Watching the genuine solution being filmed across the street was great - as was the realisation I'd have to keep it utterly secret - but also the moment Andrew turned up in full costume and filmed a fake scene with Mark to throw everyone off the scent was brilliant. And through all that I remember chatting with Sue and how much fun she was clearly having that day, and how excellent her poker face was!

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Cast and Crew

Becoming known to the cast and crew of the show certainly lead us to some unexpected places...

Jules: I remember us all high-fiving after the first time we spoke to Benedict at the BFI's A Scandal in Belgravia Premiere, which is actually quite cringey now I think of it. Andrew wanted to draw a smiley face on Emma's Moriarty t-shirt we had designed, but she wouldn't let him. I wore a matching Sherlock one and as this was long before the BBC were officially licensing Sherlock merchandise, both Benedict and Andrew were very keen the other saw their character t-shirts on us.

David: The first meetings with cast and crew were always fun though, especially once we'd made a little bit of a name for ourselves. It was still early days when we first met Andrew and he said we were talked about on set! Just so odd for us to even contemplate.

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Jules: The day I was on set for The Empty Hearse, one of the first things director Jeremy Lovering said to me was that he had heard a lot about Sherlockology. I replied that I hoped it was all good and then held my breath for the answer.

David: Also the first time we met Una - I asked for her picture and she delightedly obliged. She was extremely interested to see the result on my camera, and grabbed hold of my arm in her excitement at the result. The lady has quite the strong grip it turns out!

Emma: I remember that, we'd been to see her in Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time (which was amazing) and bumped in to her outside as we were leaving. She was just so lovely.

Jules: We spent a morning going through the lever arch files full of contact sheets of  Sherlock photographs at Hartswood's offices after series two. It took over 2 hours to look through them all there were so many and I remember their surprise at the long list of requested images we gave them. So many of them were amazing and still haven't ever been released, although Sherlocked Event had a few good ones last year that were previously unseen. One of the images we got was the one of Benedict and Martin with their backs to the camera overlooking the moor and I photoshopped it to make it look really atmospheric and then for months after it was popping up on Tumblr with people asking where it had come from.

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Emma: I thought we've never make it through all those photos! Still so many great shots that haven't been released either.

David: Everything sort of lead us to our first ever press day. A really nice hotel in the middle of London. I remember it's the only time I've properly seen Jules nervous, with the 'ol jumping leg under the table. It's an experience you relax into, or rather you have no choice to, especially when you're sat RIGHT NEXT to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and then Martin Freeman and then Benedict Cumberbatch.

Jules: I was mostly nervous because all the other journalists attending were from publications like Empire Magazine and The Guardian, and then there we were… "just a fansite". Although, I needn't have worried as I recall when we said who we were, they were almost as interested in the site as they were the television series.

David: I remember by the time we got to the press day for Abominable Bride quite a few of them were asking me for information beyond what we were being shown that day - and then I had to deploy my own poker face as we were aware of little things that hadn't been divulged! By far the most nervous I've ever been doing anything for Sherlockology though was sitting on a stage with Leif, interviewing Sue in front of several hundred people at the Sherlocked Event. That's when you had to swallow any nerves you ever had about anything and just fly into the wind. Hell of a day, and utterly unimaginable five years ago.

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Emma: Another one of my personal highlights was the 221B Set visit. It was something I had dreamed of doing for such a LONG time and felt so lucky to have the opportunity to actually do it. It's also pretty cool to be able to say I've been in Sherlock's bedroom, not many women can say that now can they!

David: Hey, I went in there too! Definitely an odd experience though, as you walk into a fake room that is inside a giant wooden box... and it feels just like home, as you've become so acquainted with it on screen! Just the sheer amount of detail that Arwel packs in though is ridiculous.

Emma: Right down to the REAL dirty dishes in the sink (I remember even Arwel was a bit disgusted at that as they had started to grow mould).

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The website

Most of all though, it's the little things that happened while we've been building and running the website...

Emma: We've met some pretty amazing people along this journey and made some really good friends.

Jules: We started everything by going to London and hunting around for locations, where David and I had all the episodes on my phone and we would pace around to get exactly the right angle shot. I ended up being caked in mud on the Southbank while David somehow managed to avoid all of it, and that's when I realised the real difference between fiction and reality. We used to joke in 2011 that Sherlock must have 4G because his phone worked so fast, and now there really is 4G and ours still doesn't work as fast as his!

Emma: The times we drove miles in one day - like the trip to a Cardiff cinema for the evening preview screening of The Hounds of Baskerville, or Benedict's Sherlock Holmes talk at the Cheltenham Literary Festival...

David: ...which Jules thought was in Chelmsford, Essex, not Cheltenham, Gloucestershire until the day of the event...

Emma: ...and then we got lost on the way back, ending up down tiny country roads so it was like being in Hounds with all the dark and fog.

Jules: And Bristol for CrimeFest with Sue, Steven and Mark… and Newcastle for Screamfest with Louise… and Edinburgh for the International Television Festival for the Sherlock Masterclass. Sherlockology even got a mention in that, which I remember us being quite surprised by - although thankfully Sherlockology.com didn't blow up as was suggested, but we were indeed on our phones frantically tweeting away as Steven said! We've certainly done some miles over the last five years.

David: Still waiting for the Barbados episode though, as Benedict suggested at Cheltenham. That would be a vital location guide to build.

Emma: It's certainly been a learning curve. Moving from just doing it for fun to running it more like a business was something that just happened, and caught us by surprise.

Jules: I'm not sure I'd stay up all night for an entire week for any other job, like I did during the night shoots of Hounds. We've all done a fair few all nighters over the years.

Emma: I remember when we re-launched the website I was up all night working and it was 6am before I knew it. I had to be up for work at 7am so I didn't even bother going to sleep. Think I pretty much got through that day thanks to lots of coffee.

Jules: I had to leave my work's Christmas party early one year, as I needed to get home to help with the next day's advent calendar post. Some of the campaigns and fun stuff we've done on the site I'm particularly proud of. Leif built several online games for the launch of Sherlock: The Casebook that later turned up in the official Sherlock app and our 2012 Easter Egg Hunt was great fun to put together. The annual advent calendars I think we would all agree were the most challenging though for different reasons. Writing and visualising a modern adaptation of Silver Blaze, which we imaginatively called Silverstone Blaze, and creating a casebook for it too was a mammoth task.

David: You managed to fulfil your two fan interests in that one though with both Sherlock and violinist David Garrett.

Jules: We commissioned a writer for that story after giving him a plot outline and then when I read the finished piece I realised I had to find a lot of stock photography of the same person to manipulate for the casebook pages who had long blond hair and matched the description. My options in the end were David Garrett or Thor, so it's ironic that the very next year Chris Hemsworth ended up playing the F1 driver James Hunt in Rush as that would have made things much easier for me to Photoshop! I think only three people ever recognised who it was in the end. The year after that we tried something a little more high concept with The Final Christmas Problem after being inspired by JJ Abrams novel, S. Then in 2014 we did a series of text messages in Holmes For Christmas, which I think was genuinely funny and some people got, but some people didn't as it turns out manipulative 'acting' Sherlock is actually quite hard to get across to a reader without script notes on performance.

David: It's definitely something that puts a fun twist into your everyday life though. The first day back at work after the New Year in 2014, just after His Last Vow had aired, sort of sums up how something you started for fun has turned into something else entirely - we got a request for an interview on BBC national radio, and so I had to excuse myself for 20 minutes and hide in an empty office while I debated the merits of the episode on 5Live! And then I had to go back to my desk and carry on as if nothing had happened!

Emma: Sherlock seems to be a permanent fixture in our lives if we like it or not these days. There is not a day that goes by without some Sherlock related thing happening, from hearing it being mentioned on the TV or radio to the birth of my first child deciding to arrive on the same day as Benedict's birthday almost 2 years ago (you couldn't make it up)! We've carried on the tradition with our second child too (who arrived 9 weeks ago), as she's named Una.

Jules: The first Christmas we spent running Sherlockology, I said to Sue that I felt as if we should be getting Sherlock and John Christmas presents as we had spent more time with them over the year than we had our own friends and family. It is said that many a true word is spoken in jest and five years on, we can certainly attest to that.

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So we didn't die in the second series of Sherlock and Sherlockology.com never blew up after all, but life changes for everyone as time goes past and yet it's still crazy to us that the television show that we watched one July evening in 2010 has grown so huge and now means so much to so many people. We're not directly involved in the production - nor would we want to be, as we rather like being surprised watching a new episode - but it's been a special five years looking on as observers to how Sherlock has evolved. We're incredibly thankful to the cast and crew for occasionally letting us peek behind the proverbial curtain of Baker Street a little, but most of all hope that everyone reading this has enjoyed our first five years as much as we have!

 

 
 
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