Moffat Talks The Long “Sherlock” Waits

While there’s every intention to continue with at least two more series of the BBC’s “Sherlock,” the wait between series probably won’t get much shorter than it is now.

Show creator Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue tell Collider that the reason is purely scheduling – from Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s film roles, and Moffat’s “Doctor Who” commitments.

They aren’t concerned though if the audience will stick around for the long gaps because they know they will. In fact, “Sherlock” has seen audience jumps with each successive series, something that rarely happens says Moffat:

“Contrary to what people think, that doesn’t happen. With very, very rare exceptions, audiences, even with huge hits, go gently down. Even for massively successful shows, they decline gently over time. That’s normal and fair enough. Sherlock has grown each year, which is spectacular.”

The scheduling is more like a movie franchise, with gaps of at least 18 months between series. Moffat calls it an “interesting model” for television, and one that may catch on more:

“If we made Sherlock the ordinary way, and did a run of 6 or 12, it would have been over by now. It would have been done because Martin and Benedict would never have been able to find the time, after the first [season]. It would be done.

This model of the TV series will happen again. Because we all love it so much, this could go on for a very, very long time. You’ll get to see an awful lot more of it.

Who says that the only way to make television is to make loads and loads of episodes for five years, until everybody is absolutely sick of it, particularly the people who are making it? Who says that’s the only way you can do it? There are other ways to make television.

I’ve heard so many American showrunners talk about the shorter run – which for them is 12 or 13, but that’s quite a long run for us – and that all you’re losing are the filler episodes, and I think that’s true.

I do think that sharpening the appetite and having shorter runs of more shows is a better way. If you make a star of somebody, you have a chance of keeping them, if you’re not insisting that they work nine months of the year on your production. It s going to change.”

The pair say that despite the reports in the British press, they can’t see any chance of a new series by Christmas. Vertue says: “We’ll do what we can. I’m not being secretive about it. I just don’t know when we’re going to shoot it.”