3:11 am - 03/27/2013

Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek solved the mystery of Sherlock's fall

Alan Davies reckons he knows how Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock survived his famous plunge at the end of series two finale The Reichenbach Fall – because a similar stunt was featured in an episode of Jonathan Creek.

“I know how he got away with it but I’m not telling you,” Davies told The Evening Standard. “We did a similar thing in an episode of Jonathan Creek when someone jumped off a roof at a party — that’s all I’m saying.”

The story in question was a two-parter called The Problem at Gallows Gate, which aired as part of the mystery drama’s second series in 1998.

It sees a young man leap from a second-floor balcony in front of stunned guests at a house party in the country. He’s pronounced dead at the scene and his body is taken away in an ambulance, but he’s later seen strangling a woman to death. So, clearly, his own death was faked.

How was it done? Jonathan Creek reveals all in the following clip, and we've transcribed his explanation below.

“I’ve given it a bit of thought. Three people saw him jump. Everyone saw him on the ground but nobody saw him land. In between there was a gap of maybe seven or eight seconds, which is when they did the clever bit.

“There’s no way he could have done it on his own. He needed at least two accomplices: one up top, one below.

“Leaping off a second floor balcony’s no big deal if there’s something to catch you at the bottom - if you’ve dug yourself a big hole with a tightly sprung net inside [and] rigged up a camouflage frame covered in turf which slides across in seconds, so you can’t see the join.

“As per the plan, one of [the accomplices] rushes in as he’s about the jump, so if the other [guests] get to the balcony too quickly he can hold them back for a minute, tell them not to look. During which time, [the jumper’s] out of the net and into position.

“The hole’s disappeared and so has his friend, making sure he’s first on the scene to pronounce him dead and wave everyone else away. Half an hour later, he’s whisked off in an ambulance – [the ambulance men] could’ve been a couple of locals who were in on it; could’ve been pukka ambulance drivers who were paid to keep their mouths shut.

“Main thing is, his body’s gone, and no-one asks any questions. They put it all right again afterwards obviously, though you can still see a slight camber where the level’s a bit off.

“And of course there was the dummy blood on the patio, carefully deposited just before he fell, to look fresh. Problem is, you can see from the scalloped edges around the splash marks that it was dropped from a height of several feel.

“And you don’t normally start bleeding before you hit the ground.”


Looking again at Sherlock’s fall, Creek’s explanation seems to tally with certain oddities about the scene.

For instance, Sherlock’s insistence that Watson stays back as he jumps might well have been to conceal an area specially rigged with material to catch the Baker Street detective. After all, we only see a brief glimpse of Sherlock’s body bouncing as he supposedly hits the ground.

The area of pavement on which he’s lying is initially obscured by a truck (which is seen driving off as people rush over to Sherlock’s body), and Watson is knocked to the floor by a cyclist – presumably one of Sherlock’s accomplices - before he can reach his ‘dead’ friend.

There’s also a curiously marked-out bit of the pavement next to Sherlock’s body in this shot from above:

And there are numerous ‘medical staff’ and ‘bystanders’ around to keep Watson from getting too close to the ‘body’ while it’s on the ground, which is similar to what happened in the Jonathan Creek episode.

Could all these events have been part of a deception aiming purely at making Watson believe Sherlock was dead? Quite possibly. Would it be as easy to fake a bit of pavement as it was to create a false bit of turfin Jonathan Creek? Less likely.

So has Alan Davies really let the cat out of the bag? Maybe. Partly. Perhaps. Watch Sherlock's fall below, and make up your own mind...

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black_swan87 27th-Mar-2013 03:29 am (UTC)
omg this is too many words
lanavis 27th-Mar-2013 03:34 am (UTC)
listen to the vid
kvetch_kvetch 27th-Mar-2013 03:33 am (UTC)
i'm just going with "that guy on the bike was responsible for EVERYTHING" and i'm happy.
fabouluz 27th-Mar-2013 03:34 am (UTC)

I miss the old Jonathan Creek.
lanavis 27th-Mar-2013 03:34 am (UTC)
Moffat would steal this.
sarahvma 27th-Mar-2013 12:02 pm (UTC)
If he steals the whole thing, I'll be pissed.
saybonjour 27th-Mar-2013 03:35 am (UTC)
I kind of like that theory about the ball Sherlock was bouncing? Like if you squeeze a rubber ball it stops your pulse apparently, idk how truthful it is though.
miss_lurker 27th-Mar-2013 03:41 am (UTC)
I think it supposed to be if you put it under your arm pit you can use the pressure to cut off your circulation.
pastelstar 27th-Mar-2013 12:43 pm (UTC)
You stick it in your armpit. It was on The Mentalist.
mistress_siana 27th-Mar-2013 03:49 am (UTC)
I love Alan Davies.

Lol, people actually believe the Sherlock cliffhanger will be resolved in a way that actually makes sense, explains it all, and will in no way be a cheap cop out? That would be a first.

twilight_la_fae 27th-Mar-2013 03:55 am (UTC)
I honestly think they just did it, and waited for the fan theories to come out so they can hop onto them. Because Moffat is really good at build up but shit at resolution. Or maybe that's just my blind, overwhelming hatred for Moffat and everything he does. /shrug
mistress_siana 27th-Mar-2013 04:08 am (UTC)
The thing about cliffhangers (especially end-of-season cliffhangers) is that, really, they're a marketing tool. It's hardly ever about storytelling.
carryinon23 29th-Mar-2013 09:30 am (UTC)
Except they've said the filmed so more scenes there that day that were particularly for the start of season 3 which they also did with the season 1 cliffhanger.
aerinsol 27th-Mar-2013 04:07 am (UTC)
Ugh that made me so mad. And I'm not expecting this explanation to be any better. Lowering my expectations now.
homicidalslayer 27th-Mar-2013 04:13 am (UTC)

I've never watched Sherlock but this makes me picture Benedict Cumberbatch landing safely in a nest of Barry Gibb's 70's chest hair.
dannyupshaw 27th-Mar-2013 03:58 am (UTC)
bring back Caroline!!!!!!
yurasama_love 27th-Mar-2013 03:58 am (UTC)
There was a great tumblr fan theory, but I didn't save it. It was brilliant though, and resembled this one a lot.
3_foot_6 27th-Mar-2013 04:24 am (UTC)
Ditto. Well, mainly because I don't see how this is supposed to be such a mystery. How could the answer be anything other than some variation of "broke his fall somehow, deliberately distracted John enough not to notice the trick"? What, like he was abducted by aliens mid-fall and teleported to the ground?
tundrabeast 27th-Mar-2013 04:28 am (UTC)
Ah, the good old days of lost theories.
beesknees7 27th-Mar-2013 03:12 pm (UTC)
Oh god, this so much. I burned out on 6 years worth of Lost speculations. The only thing I'll bother to half-ass theorize on is Breaking Bad and that's only because what they come up with is roughly 20x crazier than anything I could dream up.
lostinshalott 27th-Mar-2013 04:15 am (UTC)
but does anyone actually care? we all know he's not dead so who cares how he's alive
corroded_tears 27th-Mar-2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Oh god... A friend and I watched the series together and he was fucking shocked that Sherlock was still alive... Here I was assuming that everyone-especially boys FFS!!- grew up reading the stories. It all ended up being me sitting in disbelief that he thought Sherlock Holmes had been a real life person that existed and he solved th Jack the Ripper case and now that's why he's so famous.

I just fucking could not deal after that. Like how? How does someone get to be a grown man and not know the books? Or that he wasn't a fucking actual living persons?! I had to dig out my old anthology for him so he could stop being that way because....just no.

Sorry. Just, yeah, apparently people like him exist.
war_machine_rox 27th-Mar-2013 05:16 am (UTC)
he...he actually thought he solved Jack the Ripper?

Please tell me I misread D:
vervain 27th-Mar-2013 07:09 am (UTC)
a lot of people don't read penguin classics.
lostinshalott 27th-Mar-2013 10:46 am (UTC)
oh lord! this reminds me of the other week when a footballer claimed not to know who hitler was! how can this be that someone thought he was real and what's more that jack the ripper was ever solved LOL I worry about this generation sometimes!
godramaclub 27th-Mar-2013 10:55 am (UTC)
meh, i've never read the books. i somehow got through life so far, it's nbd.
mjspice 27th-Mar-2013 04:53 am (UTC)
I'd rather see what they do in the show tbh.
war_machine_rox 27th-Mar-2013 05:03 am (UTC)
We all know it's just going to be a big sciencey wiency kind of bullshit Moffat will make up to seem ~cool when in reality...

we really don't care. He's alive. John will punch him. The end.

I mean, we do care but after waiting so long it all seems like a cow's opinion.

But I'm still hoping that when the casket is open, Staying Alive plays. Just for giggles.

Edited at 2013-03-27 05:05 am (UTC)
evett 27th-Mar-2013 05:14 am (UTC)
sherlock fell on pavement not grass. is he trying to say that there was a hole in the pavement with a net and then they moved the pavement back into place
ticklemepink127 27th-Mar-2013 05:17 am (UTC)
Alan Davies post on ONTD?? Yay!
haruhiko 27th-Mar-2013 06:33 am (UTC)

Time to bring in some Stephen Fry and claxons as well.
sarahvma 27th-Mar-2013 12:09 pm (UTC)
Countdown til someone explains why they're both terrible human beings for something they said in 1995.
violet_crumble9 27th-Mar-2013 05:17 am (UTC)
I jsut want the resolution not to suck.

My teacher used to make us watch jonathan creek in class. No reason, just he really liked it.
sarahvma 27th-Mar-2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
lol. Yeah, our Spanish class watched Dirty Dancing Havana Nights. Cuz of the culture? I guess?
violet_crumble9 28th-Mar-2013 11:34 am (UTC)
or your teacher had a secret crush on diego luna
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