Granted, the dog you’ve seen in the Sherlock series four preview photos probably hasn’t been to a proper acting school. In fact, he’s probably not even gone through the gruelling years on the stage circuit most actors undergo to hone their skills.
But still, the bloodhound in the upcoming episodes of the BBC’s detective drama wasn’t the easiest to work with.
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch recalls how cast mate Amanda Abbington had a tricky time trying to control the show’s new pooch.
“We had an interesting dog in the first episode. He was very sweet but was a bit afraid of being in the centre of town, afraid of too many people and not great on hard surfaces,” he says.
“We were in Borough Market, with lots of people around, on concrete and tarmac. Cut to Amanda [Abbington, who plays Mary Watson] literally pulling a bloodhound around London who was supposed to pull her around London. That was fun.”
Abbington has also admitted that the dog was so bad that they had to use a props boy to pull her along in the scene. Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, the actress said: “We worked with the worst dogs in the history of canine acting. They were truly awful.
“There were bloodhounds. There’s a bloodhound in one of the original Conan Doyle books and [co-creator and Mycroft actor] Mark Gatiss thought it would be a brilliant idea to get a real bloodhound in. It really, really wasn’t. It was terrible.
“He looks great. He’s fantastic to look at,” she said about of the misbehaving pooch. “But you ask him to do anything, he’s like ‘Nope’. He sat there.
“He’s supposed to be on the scent of a trail. Sherlock goes ‘Come on, let’s go’ and he just lollops, just sits, just flops. We were filming in Borough Market. All these people were watching. I was holding him. I was literally pulling him and I fell over.
“One of the props boys decided to stand in … and I ended up getting pulled by a props boy. It was the most embarrassing thing.”
Here’s hoping that A) the props boy was used out of shot, and B) the Watsons’ bloodhound doesn’t look too pawful on screen (sorry).
Sherlock series four begins with The Six Thatchers on New Year’s Day at 8:30pm on BBC1