“Unconventional” Sherlock could go on “for a very long time” says Steven Moffat

The show's co-creator says its unusual format and the long wait between series has actively helped to keep stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on board

Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat says that the “strange” way the detective drama is made means it could last “for a very long time”.


While fans rue the long wait between series, Moffat believes it is precisely the ad hoc nature of commissioning that has ensured the continued participation of burgeoning stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

“Had we done the conventional form of a TV series which is to do runs of six or twelve, it would be over by now without doubt, it would be finished,” Moffat told the Guardian at the Cannes Lions advertising festival. “Because [the cast] would never again commit that amount of time that regularly to a TV show, they just wouldn’t, why would they?

“But given the strange form of Sherlock which is every two-and-a-half years we get together and we make three, means that it can go on for a very long time.”

Cumberbatch and Freeman’s stars are very much on the rise, with both involved in major Hollywood blockbusters, while Freeman recently completed US crime drama Fargo, meaning their windows of availability are limited.

So far the BBC has made nine episodes in total over three series of Sherlock, with fans having to wait eighteen months between the broadcast of series one and two, and two years between two and three, not least due to scheduling issues.

In a discussion about national identity in TV shows, meanwhile, Moffat added that he and the creative team “amp up the Londonness of Sherlock” and called on native programme makers to accentuate the Britishness of their work.


“When you are exporting a show around the world do you worry about how you appeal to other cultures? I think that the way to appeal to other cultures is to be your own culture, to be yourself. Americans like British shows if they elect to watch a British show they want it to be terribly British, why wouldn’t they? Just as me watching American shows, you want it full-on American.”