Britishness key to Sherlock Holmes’s international appeal, Moffat says

Some sort of Sherlock Holmes adaptation is under way, Moffat and producer Sue Vertue said, but would not reveal any more information.

Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Sam Blewett, Press Association in San Diego

Sherlock Holmes’s Britishness is behind the series’ international success, Steven Moffat has said.

The BBC show’s co-creator, and producer Sue Vertue, also revealed at Comic-Con San Diego on Thursday that they are working on an adaptation – but remained tight-lipped as to what it was.

A fifth series might come when their careers have dipped, Moffat joked (Robert Viglasky/BBC)

Moffat, 55, was asked what was driving the show’s global success, with even a comic series being serialised in Japan.

“I think it’s because it’s sort of the most overtly, obviously, amazingly British thing, it’s a British icon, that’s why it exports to other cultures,” he said.

“It’s not like people in Japan or people in America want to sit down and watch something that we made that looks a bit Japanese – that would be insane.”

Most of the credit though, he conceded, lies with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the books the series are based on.

“Don’t know better than Arthur Conan Doyle,” Moffat said.

“Don’t improve on what he did. Change it by all means and bring it into the modern day, that’s exactly what he would have done.”

Cumberbatch as Holmes with Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson (BBC/Hartswood Films)

But there is one thing Moffat said he would like to have changed in his adaptation – a map being used to crack the code in The Blind Banker episode, which aired in 2010.

“At that point it was absolutely true that everybody in London including you if you were visiting London owned an A to Z,” he said.

“A very small number of years later absolutely nobody owns an A to Z, it’s all on their iPhone – it doesn’t work.

“That’s our version, our updated Sherlock Holmes, becoming a period piece in front of our eyes.”

Moffat said he has not yet discussed with co-creator Mark Gatiss the possibility of a fifth series but did not rule it out.

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He joked that an aged Benedict Cumberbatch would don his old overcoat and revive the Holmes role when all their careers have “dipped”.

They were asked whether they were planning on any further adaptations after the comic books.

Vertue, 56, said: “There is something that we are working on in London but that’s not…”

“Oh, that’s true,” Moffat added. “We do have an answer but we are just not giving it.”