Gathering together in their hundreds to watch Sherlock being filmed, #Setlockers can be hard to ignore. But when it comes to the opinion of the wider Sherlock community, it seems they’re in the vocal minority…
Over three-quarters (77%) of the 5,000 Sherlock devotees who voted in a recent RadioTimes.com poll say it’s no longer acceptable for groups of fans to hang around at shooting locations while the detective drama is being filmed.
The result comes after Martin Freeman’s recent admission that performing in front of the crowds can be like trying to act at a red carpet premiere, and that it’s a situation “I don’t love”.
Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, meanwhile (who often shares an anecdote about the time fans broke into wild cheering when Freeman opened a packet of crisps on set) told RadioTimes.com that #Setlock had actively changed the way the series is scripted and shot.
“When we were filming Baker Street exteriors last time, the fact you’ve got about 300 people behind crash barriers is… interesting,” said Gatiss. “First of all it gives a lot away, which is a shame, but also just in terms of concentration it’s hard when you feel like you’re being observed by more than just the crew.”
And if Gatiss and Freeman are making an indirect plea for people to stay away, it seems the majority of fans support them.
“Actors and crew should have the freedom to work without people spying on them and spreading spoilers about what and how and when and where they do it,” said a fan from Mexico who voted in the poll. “You don’t spy on people working on the streets, do you? Nor tweet about how their job is done, right? If you did, they would also ask you to step back in order to get some privacy.”
“I don’t know why people can’t let the actors and crew get on with filming,” added another voter, Natasha Stockwell. “They’re distracting the actors from their job just by being there. They’re spoiling upcoming episodes of Sherlock not just for themselves, but for everyone else as well.”
Kate Lagana agreed: “They’re interfering with how scenes are shot, which has to hurt the integrity of the piece,” she said, adding “Hell, if nice guy Martin Freeman actually goes out of his way to say he’s kind of bothered – translation GO HOME.”
Filming is currently under way on the Sherlock special, a one-off episode that will bridge the gap between series three and four and is expected to air at Christmas. Fans were photographed at one location in Bristol, although the “crowd” in question did look rather small.
It may be too early to say if it was the tide of opinion that kept bigger crowds away – or whether they were just avoiding the rain…