Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s Feud Could Mean the End for Sherlock

Image copyright BBC

The recent TV remake of Sherlock Holmes – BBC‘s Sherlock – has been stagnating for a while now, and the reason may be a bit hard for some fans to swallow.

The series, which puts the familiar characters in a contemporary setting, has had a long history of short seasons and long delays between seasons, and, whilst both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have had some massive recent successes in Hollywood, they are both still technically on-board for Sherlock season 5.

Recently, however, things haven’t been so ‘Elementary’ for our dear Watson (played by Martin Freeman), as he’s had some less than admirable words about the series on the whole.

Speaking to The Telegraph back in March about any new seasons being made, Freeman stated;

“…I think after series four [it] felt like a pause. I think we felt we’d done it for a bit now. And part of it, speaking for myself is [due to] the reception of it.”

These comments reference season 4’s critical response from January 2017, and, in relation to that season’s successes, Freeman added;

“To be absolutely honest, it [was] kind of impossible. Sherlock became the animal that it became immediately.

Whereas even with The Office [in which Freeman starred alongside comedian Ricky Gervais] it was a slow burn. But Sherlock was frankly notably high quality from the outset. And when you start [that high] it’s pretty hard to maintain that.”

However, it’s his comments following that that has drawn the ire of the Sherlock fandom, and even co-star Benedict Cumberbatch;

“Being in that show, it is a mini-Beatles thing. People’s expectations, some of it’s not fun anymore.

It’s not a thing to be enjoyed, it’ a thing of: ‘You better f***ing do this, otherwise, you’re a c***.’ That’s not fun anymore.”

Obviously, these comments haven’t sat well with Cumberbatch or the Sherlock fanbase, and the current Doctor Strange in the MCU stated within his own interview with The Telegraph;

“It’s pretty pathetic if that’s all it takes to let you not want to take a grip of your reality.

What, because of expectations? I don’t know. I don’t necessarily agree with that.

There’s a level of obsession where [the franchise] becomes [the fan’s] even though we’re the ones making it. But I just don’t feel affected by that in the same way, I have to say.”


Martin’s criticisms and Cumberbatch’s comments tie into an ongoing thread in traditional media like TV and how new-age media, such as YouTube, has changed the way audiences view and consume their favourite series, and even how creators are handling content. Whilst the exposure of an instantaneous and responsive audience has made creators much more readily available and skilled at their craft, their output has an impact on their audiences, who in turn can become quite toxic. Until the new millennium, there has never been a demographic so vehement and obsessive in their appreciation of a product that they have the ability to take over a fandom the way audiences do now. And whilst that isn’t always a negative, at times, the impact has made things difficult for those whose intention is just to be a part of something.

Recently, the creators of Westworld, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, headed off their own attempts to distil their show’s fanbase. The pair created a video to eliminate any fan theories and predictions by offering the show’s Reddit channel a complete spoiler of every plot point and event to occur in season 2 ahead of its release.

The video, which is available below, turned out to be one massive rickroll, and if you don’t know what that means, then enjoy the upcoming video.

-James, 24/04/2018

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