Since Sherlock first aired back in 2010, Benedict Cumberbatch’s career has gone stratospheric. Roles in Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit, 12 Years a Slave and, most recently, his Oscar-nominated turn in The Imitation Game have cemented him as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors – a development hardly opportune for the makers of our favourite BBC1 detective series.
Cumberbatch’s latest role? A Marvel superhero – Doctor Strange – is a commitment that’s only going to further complicate his jam-packed schedule.
“Honestly, it’s a considerable inconvenience,” joked Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat at last night’s Bafta Television Awards nominees party. “I expect people to stay at home until I’m ready to employ them again.
“I don’t really like this adultery they all go and get involved in. No one works to my schedule, do they? It’s all about their schedule.”
The trajectory of Cumberbatch’s career has matched that of his co-star, Martin Freeman, who starred as Bilbo Baggins in all three Hobbit movies and took a leading role in the acclaimed first series of Fargo opposite Billy Bob Thornton. The pair will reunite with Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Fun House, with Freeman also signed up for comedy Funny Cow in the coming months.
However, he and Cumberbatch have found time to film a Sherlock special set in Victorian England and expected to air at the end of this year or in early 2016. The episode – which is rumoured to be based on Arthur Conan Doyle tale The Blue Carbuncle – marks the first time Moffat and co-creator Mark Gatiss have been credited as co-writers:
“It didn’t feel that different, to be honest,” says Moffat. “When I look at the finished film, I haven’t a clue which of us wrote it because we all wrote all of it.”
Cumberbatch is nominated for best actor at next month’s Bafta TV Awards for his portrayal of the super sleuth, with the BBC series also up for the viewer-voted Radio Times Audience Award. Why should Sherlock win it? “Because we would all be really happy if it did,” says Moffat. “We’d be much happier than the other shows.”