When you’re making an episode of Sherlock, it must run to 90 minutes – no matter how much good material you’ve got. So inevitably there is stuff that falls by the wayside…
As the audience, we’re none the wiser – we see the episode just as it was edited – but the actors rarely have control over what makes it in and what ends up on the cutting room floor. So every now and again there’s a scene that’s special to them which doesn’t make it the final edit.
Like in Sherlock’s third and fourth series when John and Mary had a whole host of problems (you know, her secret past as an assassin – the usual stuff). “There was a really lovely dinner scene with John and Mary when they have this really lovely talk about how scared she is about being pregnant or having a baby and that they’re drifting apart,” Amanda Abbington tells RadioTimes.com.
“It’s a lovely three-page dinner scene that we did and we loved it and it never made it, I think because it was running about four hours and they had to get it down to an hour and a half.”
But the scene itself, which would have aired as part of series four episode one, sounds like something we wish we’d seen. “They’d just come back off the plane – or Mary was just about to go off on her journey – and she was just saying that she’s flying out of control and she doesn’t feel like she’s grounded because she’s trying to tell him who she really is and she can’t and he’s drifting off and they’re not really communicating.
“It’s a really lovely scene but it never made it and I know why because sometimes you don’t need that – less is more. But we loved doing it.”
It’s unlikely the unaired footage will ever see the light of day. But should the offer ever come in to return to Sherlock, Abbington is certainly keen – especially if it was to star in a prequel about Mary’s dark past as a contract killer.
“I should email Steven [Moffat], shouldn’t I, and ask him to do that. I keep asking him for jobs anyway – I keep texting saying ‘can I do something? Can I do the next thing you’re in please?’ As I get older I get more brazen, I’m like, ‘can you please give me a job?’ I think you should really cash in on what you know and who you know.”
Moffat and Gatiss, Sherlock’s two creators, are moving on to a new Dracula series for the BBC. “I’ve already planted my seed firmly there,” says Abbington. “I keep saying ‘write me a part’ – I want to play a vampire. I’m just waiting to see… they keep smiling, going ‘OK’. Nothing is set in stone yet but I’m not giving up that. I’m on a mission.”
But if that fails, there’s always a Mary and Molly spin-off. “I’d be happy to do anything like that. The new Cagney and Lacey – Lou [Brealey] would be well up for that. It would be so much fun.”