Sherlock And The Mystery Of The Inconclusive Press Conference

“We are aiming for zero cognitive content in our answers today,” said showrunner Steven Moffat at a press conference for Sherlock’s Victorian special at the US Television Critics Association press tour yesterday. It turned out to be a rare moment in the event when he wasn’t joking  – the assembled journalists learned practically nothing new about the show.

Sherlock victorian christmas special BBC

The one big thing we all know about the special, which is due to air on BBC One in the UK at Christmas and soon after on PBS in the US (though even that hasn’t been officially confirmed), is that it’s set in the Victorian era. So, um, why?

“We checked the books, and decided we got it wrong,” replied Moffat. Later he refined his answer: “Because we can.” He explained that he and co-creator Mark Gatiss had never bothered to explain their decision to move the iconic detective franchise to modern-day London, “so why do we have to explain why Victorian England, when it’s the era in which it’s supposed to be set? It’s a mistake we’ve been a long time rectifying.”

Okay. Nothing to see here. Please move along.

A video message from star Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t help matter much. He presciently answered questions he assumed he would have been asked had he been there. Is Moriarty going to be in the special? “No comment.” After the special, will the series remain in Victorian era? “No comment.”

Actually, in a rare moment of real information, Moffat did have something to say on that last point, saying that the series would return to the present day for the next series.

Well, maybe not the present day.

He admitted the series take so long to make the next season may have to be set in the next century. We think he was joking. He also suggested that the Victorian era was better suited to ghost stories, but was that a deliberate red herring?

So do you think there really won’t be an explanation for the time shift? Does that bother you? Or do you think that Moffat is simply concealing a surprise?


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