Sherlock fans know they’re unlikely to receive a compliment about their intelligence from the genius detective – other people even thinking annoys him. But Benedict Cumberbatch’s partner in crime-solving, Martin Freeman, is a different matter and reckons the show has respect for its clever viewers.
“The writers don’t bang the audience over the head with what they’re supposed to be feeling, they treat the audience like smart people,” Freeman tells RadioTimes.com. “The audience has to keep up with the show."
But it’s not only the twists and turns of Sherlock’s cases that require viewers to pay attention, according to the star, it’s also the relationships at the heart of the show.
"It's not just the deductions but the human interactions that are going on," says the man who plays Sherlock's best friend Dr John Watson. "It’s not all explicit – things are done with a look or non-verbally sometimes that are rather beautiful.”
Freeman remains reluctant to share much detail about the upcoming third series of the BBC1 drama but says that while the relationship between John and Sherlock may develop, even the detective's return after faking his own death will not radically alter the dynamic.
"The essential relationship can’t change that much because there needs to be that air of mutual admiration and slight mutual antagonism of friends who love each other but who wind each other up too."
[Spoiler (click to open)]Series three Episode 1/3 The Empty Hearse - New Year's Day Wednesday 1 January 9:00pm BBC1
Two years after disgraced detective Sherlock Homes leapt to his apparent death from the roof of St Bart's hospital, he has prepared a characteristically theatrical comeback.
But as his faithful followers celebrate his return, much to Sherlock's annoyance the world has failed to stand still without him. His friend John Watson has been in mourning but he has also moved on with his life, and is now engaged to one Mary Morstan – sensible, quick-witted and not at all taken in by Sherlock's posturing.
As John absorbs the news of his friend's return, and worries about the impact it might have on his plans for domestic bliss, Sherlock must reacquaint himself with the "great cesspool" that is London, before taking on a new and potentially catastrophic case – an imminent terrorist attack on the capital's underground tube system.
But first, whether John likes it or not, Sherlock is going to tell him how he survived The Fall...
The Empty Hearse couldn't be more of a treat if it came wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon and was delivered to each of us individually by the Red Arrows. It's a playful, funny, exhilarating 90-minute adventure with Benedict Cumberbatch, now a proper Hollywood star, oozing a new maturity and confidence as master of all he surveys.
It's two years since Sherlock Holmes hurled himself from the roof of St Bart's Hospital in London and, in Sherlock as in real life, theories are myriad and ridiculous (watch for writer Mark Gatiss's sly little nod to the outer reaches of fandom and its endless propensity to write lurid fiction about Moriarty and Sherlock).
Despite an enveloping sadness, the bereaved John Watson (peerless Martin Freeman) has finally moved on. He's grown an unwise moustache and found a very wise girlfriend (Freeman's real-life partner Amanda Abbington). But he's haunted by thoughts of Sherlock...
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