‘Sherlock’ creator responds to possibility of recasting Benedict Cumberbatch’s character

The show's latest series concluded on Sunday with its least-watched episode ever

Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss has responded to speculation that Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular character in the show could be recast should the actor be too busy to commit to the role in the future.

The future of the BBC’s detective drama has been in doubt following reports of a “frosty relationship” between Cumberbatch and co-star Martin Freeman. The availability of the two actors, who are both increasingly in demand, will also be a factor when planning another series.

On the subject of possibly recasting the role of Sherlock, Gatiss told the Daily Star: “We couldn’t do it without him, of course not. We couldn’t recast Sherlock. It’s not a show we’re just churning out.”

“It’s a special thing and we couldn’t do it without Benedict. We’re very lucky to have the keys to Baker Street at the moment.”

“Benedict and Martin have become the definitive Holmes and Watson of our age,” he added. “I don’t think you need to argue that. The characters are immortal and when we finish there will be more interpretations.”

Sunday’s series four finale, which featured an unexpected Paul Weller cameo, was watched by the show’s lowest ever overnight audience.


Meanwhile, Gatiss has defended the show after some viewers accused the latest series of being “confusing” and “difficult to follow”. “It’s a complex and entertaining programme,” he said. “Go and read a children’s book with hard pages if you don’t want to be challenged.”

“If this is the last time – and I’m not planning on it to be, but it might be – it is possible that we could end it [now],” he said at an event attended by The Independent. “We couldn’t have ended it on any of the previous series because there was what have been great cliffhangers.”

In the run-up to the series finale, a special Twitter Live event was held during the week where fans were invited to solve a new mystery online.

Clues were shared on the BBC One Twitter account using the #SherlockLive hashtag from 8pm on Tuesday night (January 10), allowing viewers to test their own powers of deduction as they tackled the case of “Who killed Daniel Collard?”.