Andrew Scott: “I never see Moriarty as a dark character – there’s a lot of comedy”

The Legacy actor tells his arch nemesis to Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes is "great fun to play" and has stopped him being typecast


Andrew Scott is no stranger to dark dramas – last night we saw him in BBC2’s Cold War thriller Legacy and, of course, he’s best known for a brilliant, Bafta-winning turn as arch villain Moriarty in BBC1’s Sherlock.


But while the actions of his unhinged nemesis to Benedict Cumberbatch’s detective make him the bad guy, Scott says the character is capable of plenty of humour. “I never see Moriarty as a dark character,” he told “There’s a lot of comedy and, of course, he’s the personification of evil but he’s actually great fun to play. There are a lot of jokes there.”

Scott went on to recall the exciting aftermath of his role in Sherlock which has dramatically raised his international profile while allowing him to avoid being typecast. “I don’t think any of us had a clue as to how successful it was going to be. I think I’m lucky in a sense because Moriarty is the kind of character that plays a lot of different characters within the character so it’s allowed me to play other characters with a little bit more ease.”

But the 37-year-old Dublin native does admit to saying no to certain roles which bore too close a resemblance to his famous villain. “It’s difficult – you’ve got to turn down the characters that are similar because Moriarty is a very strong character. You’ve got to play really strong other characters to counter-balance it because my chief interest is in playing as many different people as possible.”

Unsurprisingly, the Sherlock actor has been inundated with questions from both fans and the media ever since his character instigated detective’s supposed death after he jumped from the roof of St Bart’s Hospital in series two finale The Reichenbach Fall. Viewers caught a glimpse of their beloved detective alive and well in the final shot, but Sherlock’s faithful friend John Watson is unaware of his survival and fans are still awaiting the solution to the mystery. 

“I’m asked about it a lot,” admitted Scott. “We just have to continually nod and smile.” What does he have to say about Steven Moffat’s revelation that his character – who committed suicide on the rooftop – will appear in series three. “Well, of course you’d have to trust everything that Steven Moffat says,” he quipped (with a twinkle in his eye).

Watch Andrew Scott in Legacy on BBC iPlayer. Series three of Sherlock returns on 1 January 2014