Freeman: Making “Sherlock” No Longer Fun

Starting so strongly out of the gate with its first two seasons beloved by fans, the BBC’s “Sherlock” stumbled badly in its third and fourth season in terms of fan appeal. We’re now at the point where the series has effectively ended and has done so without much fanfare.

In part, the series was a victim of its own success. With long two-year gaps between seasons, the shows two stars became major movie actors with busy schedules while showrunner Steven Moffat was occupied with “Doctor Who” up until recently. As a result, the key players had no shortage of work which made getting those involved back together a rather herculean task.

Then there was the fandom which was rabid. In fact this week Martin Freeman, who played Dr. John Watson on the series alongside Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes, tells The Telegraph that he doesn’t have fun making the show anymore due mainly to the fan pressure that comes with it. Not helping is that the show found such huge success from the get-go:

“To be absolutely honest, it [was] kind of impossible. Sherlock became the animal that it became immediately. Whereas even with [the U.K. version of] The Office, it was a slow burn. But Sherlock was frankly notably high quality from the outset. And when you start [that high] it’s pretty hard to maintain that. Being in that show, it is a mini-Beatles thing. People’s expectations, some of it’s not fun anymore. It’s not a thing to be enjoyed, it’s a thing of: ‘You better f—ing do this, otherwise, you’re a c—.’ That’s not fun anymore. I think after series four [it] felt like a pause. I think we felt we’d done it for a bit now. And part of it, speaking for myself is [due to] the reception of it.”

The fourth season of the series saw a slight ratings dip, but more importantly the critics and fan reaction was notably down on years past – even amongst some of the show’s most loyal supporters. Co-creator Mark Gatiss has previously suggested that even if it were to go ahead, unlikely at this point, then a fifth season is at least several years away.