‘Sherlock’ stars rubbish gay speculation

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman insist characters are just good friends

The stars of Sherlock have played down any suggestion of a homosexual relationship between their characters.

BBC One’s hit Conan Doyle update returned to huge acclaim on New Year’s Day. And once again, certain quarters have speculated that the close relationship between the two leads Doctor John Watson and Sherlock Holmes hints at a gay undercurrent.

However, the actors have denied that this was ever their intention, according to PinkNews.co.uk.

Benedict Cumberbatch said of his character: “Much as Sherlock adores John, and he’s fond of him, there’s no love, there’s nothing sexual – all the jokes aside. The problem is [the jokes] fuel the fantasy of the few into flames for the many. People presume that’s what it is, but it’s not.”

Martin Freeman, who plays Watson, added:

There are a lot of people hoping that our characters are rampantly at it. If you want to think that they are secretly at it, then you can, but we’ve never played anything like that.

However, series co-creator Mark Gatiss did admit that the writers enjoy playing with the perceptions, saying: “We’ve had lots of fun with the notion that, in the 21st century, people naturally assume they are a couple. The stuff that people really enjoy is the relationship between them. The banter and the rows and the proper feeling between them, which really leaps off the screen.”

Robert Downey Jr, who plays Holmes in the current film versions, joked in 2010 about the homoerotic tension between the two characters, who were shown wrestling and sharing a bed, suggesting that his character might be “a very butch homosexual”.

The statement led US rights holder Andrew Plunkett to respond: “I hope this is just an example of Mr Downey’s black sense of humour. It would be drastic, but I would withdraw permission for more films to be made if they feel that is a theme they wish to bring out in the future. I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books.”

Sherlock continues this Sunday with an update of The Hound Of The Baskervilles. The movie sequel A Game Of Shadows is in cinemas now.