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Moffat confirms ‘Sherlock’ special will time travel to the 19th Century

The creators are just writing fanfic of their fanfic at this point.


Aja Romano

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 16, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 7:18 am CDT

You’d be forgiven for thinking Steven Moffat had gotten his two popular BBC shows confused: He’s sending Sherlock and Watson back in time.

In a brief interview with Entertainment Weekly prior to a SXSW panel appearance Monday, Moffat confirmed rampant rumors that this winter’s special episode of Sherlock will be taking place in Victorian England. If that sounds like a plot from Moffat’s other show, Doctor Who, it’s only because creators Moffat and Mark Gatiss have decided to return their characters to their roots.

They’ll be giving actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman a chance to play their characters’ original, 19th-century Sherlock Holmes counterparts.

Members of the Sherlock fandom have been suspecting this might be the case ever since set photos surfaced in January of Cumberbatch and Watson in period Victorian costume. 

The #Setlock photos caused lots of speculation about whether the special would be related to the sparse three-episode run of Sherlock‘s regular fourth season, but Moffat told EW the special was “kind of in its own little bubble.” That means it will be an independent, alternate universe story and won’t be tied to the narrative of season 4, which should premiere in early 2016. The special episode is expected to air in December.

H/T Bleeding Cool | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Mar 16, 2015, 9:02 pm CDT