Who would you like to see win the Radio Times Audience Award at this year’s television Baftas? Each of the RadioTimes.com team has their favourite. Here, Paul Jones explains why Sherlock should be garlanded…
No other TV drama can generate the anticipation, the delight, the debate, the twists, turns and shocks and the sheer delirium on the scale that Sherlock can.
Game of Thrones – a worthy contender for this award – regularly gets viewers talking with its gruesome deaths (although these days it would be more of a surprise if there was an episode where no-one died) but despite the amount of chatter it generates it’s only watched by a fraction of the audience of Sherlock, which for a third series in a row used its cult sensibilities to engage and excite a mainstream audience.
Two years after Benedict Cumberbatch’s detective made his death-defying plunge from the roof of St Bart’s hospital, 12 million people tuned in to see how he did it (and to make it the most-watched BBC drama for over a decade). And if not everyone was completely satisfied with a solution which was a response to the very buzz the show had created, they were all still with it at the end of the series to see the shock return from the dead of Andrew Scott’s arch-villain Moriarty.
In between those two event-TV bookends, they saw the relationship that defines the series deepened and defined as Martin Freeman’s John Watson reacted to the return of his friend, made him the unlikely best man at his wedding (not to mention a two-man stag do that showed us the previously unthinkable phenomenon of Sherlock drunk and out of control) and discovered both his wife’s dark past and the unspoken truth at the heart of the show – that steady, reliable, everyman John Watson is actually a danger junkie who thrives on the company of sociopaths and criminals.
For all the hysteria that greeted his return, Moriarty’s absence was made far less glaring by the arrival of a repellant yet magnetic new villain, Charles Augustus Magnussen – played with chilling verve by Lars Mikkelsen – while lighter moments of delight for fans included guest appearances by Cumberbatch’s real-life mum and dad as Sherlock’s parents and his flirtation with and subsequent engagement to one of Mary’s bridesmaids.
All this and much more across three film-sized adventures that only ever seem too short.
This is an audience award and Sherlock has the biggest and most dedicated audience in British TV drama. Now, they just need to prove it…
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