Benedict Cumberbatch thinks there could be a female Sherlock – and he even has a name for her
Jodie Whittaker has been cast in Doctor Who, so why shouldn't a woman play Sherlock?
Details of Sherlock are traditionally kept under lock and key right up until they air, so it comes as no surprise that Benedict Cumberbatch is rather cagey when we ask him whether he'd like to return to the BBC1 drama. "Maybe," comes the response, accompanied by a knowing grin.
We try a different tact. Has he had any communication with co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss about the possibility of making any more episodes? Again, "maybe" is the tantalising response.
It's been eight months since Sherlock and Martin Freeman's John Watson were last on TV, battling the supreme brainpower of Sherlock and Mycroft's scheming sister Euros (Sian Brooke). Since then Sherlock fans have been left in an uneasy limbo, unsure whether to expect new episodes of the drama... or not.
Could it be that Cumberbatch's era is over? Surely not. But if it was, is there a chance our next incarnation of Sherlock could be a woman? With Lucy Liu's recent portrayal as Watson – and the recent casting of Jodie Whittaker (below) as the Doctor – the idea no longer seems all that far fetched.
And Cumberbatch – perhaps the most famous incumbent of the role – is all for a female Sherlock. "Why not? I don't care!"
He even has a suggestion for what a female Sherlock could be called. "Sherlockina, it's coming to you soon."
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In the meantime, any Sherlock fans yearning for more Cumberbatch on their TV screens will not be disappointed. He will soon star in an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel The Child in Time – a one-off drama created by his production company, SunnyMarch.
The role itself marks a change of direction for Cumberbatch – an actor known for playing extraordinary characters. Stephen Lewis is a very ordinary father, whose three-year-old daughter Kate goes missing during a trip to the supermarket. Her disappearance rips Stephen's life apart.
"It's a part that is a million miles away from all the stuff I've done – especially the more famous one on telly – and that's an appeal for me to always be shaking things up a little bit as far as expectations are concerned, not doing the usual or the unusually usual.
"The extreme nature of the situation is very unusual and horrifically relatable," Cumberbatch added. "I don't think you have to be a parent to understand."
The Child in Time airs on BBC1 on Sunday 24th September