As head writer on Doctor Who, Steven Moffat is used to being asked if and when there might be a female incarnation of the Time Lord. But on Sunday, during a session at the inaugural Radio Times Festival, he fielded the same question about the title character of his other show, Sherlock – and while a sex change is not on the cards for Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, Moffat made it clear that the idea of a female Sherlock Homes was one he thought could work.
“We would never do that because we’ve got our version,” said Moffat, “but if someone wanted to do a quirky version of Sherlock Holmes and simply made Sherlock Holmes a woman – you wouldn’t even have to change the name, I don’t think you’d have to change much of the dialogue – I think it would fit.”
There is a precedent for gender swapping in Sherlock Holmes in the form of Lucy Liu’s female Dr Joan Watson in US TV reimagining Elementary but Moffat was also quick to remind the audience that he had already showed his support for the idea of a lady Sherlock of sorts when he created Doctor Who’s Silurian sleuth Madam Vastra.
“There’s a character called Madama Vastra in Doctor Who who’s sort of a female, reptile, Sherlock Holmes,” said Moffat, “so I think it would work, because [Sherlock Holmes] doesn’t have any male or female or any kind of attributes that would limit that, so I think it would work.”
Watch this space to see if any TV execs pick up on the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes. Until then, there’s the closest thing…