Martin Freeman: filming Sherlock “wasn’t much fun” during split from Amanda Abbington

The Sherlock stars’ 16-year relationship was coming to an end while they were shooting the last series of the BBC1 hit

Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington (Getty)

Martin Freeman has revealed that filming Sherlock “wasn’t much fun” while he was splitting up with his co-star Amanda Abbington.

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The actors, who have two children, had been together for 16 years before they announced their split in 2016.

Speaking on Desert Island Discs on Radio 4, Freeman revealed that “by the time of the last Sherlock that we’ve done we were sort of in the midst of splitting up, so that wasn’t that much fun, but when we weren’t in that midst it was great”.

He added: “I really love working with her.”

Freeman and Abbington – who play John and Mary Watson in Sherlock but met on the set of Channel 4 drama Men Only in 2000 – have remained friends since their break-up.

“I wanted to be civil for us,” he said, “because when you’ve loved someone for that long and they have been such an integral part of your life, what – that is supposed to not count now?”

Freeman also spoke about how the intensity of some fans’ reaction to Sherlock could be “challenging” at times.

“By the time we filmed the last ones there were some fans who were so adamant that John and Sherlock were gay, they knew it,” he said.

“And they knew that Steven [Moffat] and Mark [Gatiss] were going to write an episode where we held hands off into the sunset together. So when that didn’t happen, there was a chunk of people going, ‘This is betrayal’.”

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There has still been no word on whether Sherlock will return to screens, but Freeman can next be seen in Breeders, a parenting sitcom created with Simon Blackwell and Chris Addison, as well as new Jeff Pope drama, A Confession.