Mark Gatiss on new villains and Sherlock’s series 3 return

Gatiss and co-creator Steven Moffat are likely to create their own adversaries for the detective, who may make himself "invisible" when he comes back from the dead


Following the death of Moriarty, Sherlock fans hoping for appearances from more classic Holmes villains, such as Colonel Sebastian Moran or Charles Augustus Milverton, may be disappointed, according to co-creator Mark Gatiss.


After putting Sherlock Holmes’s biggest adversary at the centre of series two, Gatiss is now keen to create new villains rather than pit the detective against more of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations.

“Doyle got it right first time, he invented the supervillain,” said Gatiss, speaking to Radio Times at our annual Covers Party in London last night. “All great heroes have their Moriarty and after that you have to be very clever about trying to come up with someone who’s the equivalent otherwise they just look like a watered down version, so it’s about telling different kinds of stories.”

The Sherlock co-creator also talked about the detective’s series three return following his death-defying plunge at the end of the last season of the BBC drama. In The Empty House – the original story in which the detective comes back from the dead – he reveals himself to his friend Dr Watson after being disguised as a stooped, elderly book seller, but Gatiss suggested Sherlock’s disguise might be somewhat more subtle.


“We made a decision right from the get-go that he would not do disguise in the traditional sense,” said Gatiss. “He actually has a line in [series one finale] the Great Game which is ‘The art of disguise is knowing how to hide in plain sight’ and that was because, right from the start, I thought modern day Sherlock Holmes would not put putty noses on, he would basically be standing behind you now and you wouldn’t know he was there. Ben [Cumberbatch] has put on various costumes but it’s more about being invisible.”