One of the criticisms levelled at the new season of Sherlock is that it’s become overly influenced by fan fiction and the numerous increasingly bizarre ideas that have emanated from obsessive viewers on the internet in the two years between series.
Sherlock’s return in The Empty Hearse featured some rather far-fetched explanations of how he faked his own death, as put forward by a fictional fan group, while episode two The Sign of Three fulfilled various fantasies about John Watson and Sherlock by having the detective publicly declare his love for his friend, and getting the pair drunk together.
But Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat is adamant there’s a “one-way” flow of ideas in the relationship between Sherlock writers and fans and that blogs and social media sites absolutely do not help provide story lines for the show.
“No, we don’t get our plotlines from Tumblr,” Moffat told a member of the audience at the Bafta screening of series three finale His Last Vow.
“I’ve been on [social blogging site] Tumblr once a while ago and it seems just to be a place where people who really want to kill me gather,” he joked. “I don’t know why that put me off…”
But Moffat also made it clear that he was pleased that his show inspired viewers to create their own fiction and said it reflected his own route into television writing.
“The creative response of fans is amazing, it’s extraordinary,” said Moffat. “And it’s not an exaggeration to say it’s the cradle of the next generation of television and fiction producers – really it’s hugely important. But it’s a one-way thing.
“What happens is – and I was part of this, I am part of this – is you see something you love and you start doing your own version of it, you start disagreeing with the actual version, you think ‘My version’s better’, and then you discover you’ve made something entirely different and you go off and do your own thing.
“I think it’s exciting and thrilling and wonderful that you get that creative responsibility with Sherlock. It’s how I began – I responded to Doctor Who and Sherlock, and look how far I’ve come…
“I find that exciting but, no, interacting with fans, that’s not how it works.”
Sherlock: Complete Series 3 is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 20 January and is available to pre-order at BBC Shop now
Sherlock finale His Last Vow is on Sunday at 8:30pm on BBC1