Benedict Cumberbatch was “always going to be a star”


Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, joined by Producer Sue Vertue, took to the stage in Melbourne last night.

Wil Anderson hosted a Q&A before enthusiastic fans at the Regent Theatre.

Moffat recalled that in casting the title role there was simply no other choice than Benedict Cumberbatch.

“He was an unknown to the public at that point but in the industry everybody said, ‘He was always going to be a star, when he found the right role.’

“But you heard his name and went, ‘Really? Seriously? All that?'” he joked.

“You don’t get Benedict to audition now. He descends from a cloud!”

“But what was the point of anybody else trying? He was the best Sherlock Holmes I’d ever seen.”

“It’s like James Bond, sometimes there are a few names floating around and sometimes there’s just an obvious person,” said Mark Gatiss. “It was just like that for us.

“He looked right but not quite classical -he looked like a modern Sherlock. He was the right height, quite gaunt, a beautiful voice, fantastic actor. He was just everything.”

But there were several who auditioned for John Watson. With Martin Freeman testing, Cumberbatch stepped up another notch.

Steven Moffat also explained that as Conan Doyle’s stories were modernised, some inherent elements remained but others were discarded.

“The one that caused us to pace up and down, even though it seems so trivial, is that they couldn’t call each other Holmes and Watson. Because that would make them sound like a couple of public school boys. And only one of them is a public school boy. So it wouldn’t be right. It had to be Sherlock & John and that was difficult.”

“To this day a lot of the crew still call them Sherlock and Watson, because John is a very plain name,” Gatiss added.

Sherlock special “The Abominable Bride” screens on Stan on January 2nd and in limited release in cinemas.


  1. Benedict’s name and rather weird looks would, you assume, preclude him from great stardom .. but talent will out! I’m sure most people looked askance when they first saw him, but he’s soared to great heights. He’s probably been around for years on the stage and elsewhere, but “suddenly” he’s a world-wide star.

  2. Great night. Wil surprised me – I feared the worst when he appeared because he’s such a large personality but he was dedicated to the job, and made it all about the guests not him. So many interesting snippets – I like how they cannibalise elements from the less-adaptable works to lengthen the short stories into 90 minutes. Also lovely to hear Mark Gatiss do a couple of readings.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.