Sherlock Season 3 preview @ BFI – The Empty Hearse

So, anyone that knows anything about Sherlock knows that you won’t find spoilers here. I really don’t want to spoil anyone and, tbh, it will be 500 million times better if you don’t know what’s coming. So don’t go looking for them!


The short review is: amazing. Brilliant show, brilliant cast…it just gets better. The fact that we wait so long for so little is one of the things that makes it so great, I think. It just maximises the quality of the show – you know it hasn’t been rushed and no one has burnt out trying to write 22 episodes a season.

I had wanted to write a little about the Q&A, but quite frankly it was awful. I’m not the biggest Caitlin Moran fan, but she did the last Sherlock Q&A really well and I know she really likes Benedict and Sherlock, so I was happy that it would be someone who knew what they were talking about. Boy was I wrong. Nothing she asked had anything to do with the episode, showing how crap she is at interviewing on the fly. And what made that worse was that she clearly hadn’t prepared properly either because her jokes and what she thought was funny really were not and clearly not well thought through.

You could say that Caitlin misjudged the humour in her questions. She went into the Q&A to take the piss out of the fans, the show and the whole phenomenon in general. Not, mind you, maliciously. Just in a mocking way. But that was bad judgement. The people in the room were the cast and crew, journos and fans that are well known for taking the show seriously. We had waited for 2 years for the episode.


Things Caitlin asked them about:

  • Code words when filming and general secrecy
  • Martin casting his wife
  • Telling the director that fans are visible in one scene and generally making a big thing about it – i.e. asking the fans in the audience if they could see themselves
  • Making Benedict and Martin read fanfiction aloud – and fibbing by saying there’s nothing rude in it, when it turns out there’s some hot and heavy kissing

In fact, I cannot remember anything else that Caitlin Moran asked them about that interested me. And those above didn’t interest me, just memorable for being really dumb.

Let me address the fact that she decided to make a big thing about a mistake in the episode. It’s not polite or friendly to do that and she didn’t just reference it once, but she also called out to the audience if anyone saw themselves. You could tell both the director and Stephen Moffat were a bit pissed off, but they kept joking about it, presumably out of embarrassment.

That was the only thing Caitlin Moran really said about the episode that wasn’t related to casting choices.

About the fanfic thing. So Catlin decided that it would be funny to focus on the same thing all boring interviewers focus on when interviewing actors with huge fandoms – fan fiction. It’s been done to death, usually by Graham Norton, but in general it’s brought up a lot. I have never seen two actors being asked to read slash fanfic together though. And there’s a good reason for that – they don’t like it. Benedict was more reluctant than Martin, but they were both trying to be good sports about the whole thing. I suspect they know Caitlin and didn’t expect her to put them in an awkward position. But as they read down into the fic it was clear it wasn’t as innocent as she kept making out. Here is the extract they read (it was edited by Caitlin so they didn’t read all the description, just a little):

John opened the door.

Sherlock sprang to his feet and went into the kitchen. John was taking off his coat.

“You’re home early.”

John glanced up at him, rubbing the back of his neck. “Um, yeah, didn’t work out.”

Sherlock licked his bottom lip. “She was interested. It was you who ended the evening.”

John hung up his coat carefully. “Bit boring to be honest. Was hoping you’d interrupt me with a case or something.” He smiled weakly.

Sherlock didn’t laugh, his chest felt tight. The woman had been no more boring than the rest of them, yet John had come home.

“Boring’s never bothered you before,” he said, taking a step closer.

John turned then, but avoided his eyes. “Yeah well. It’s different now.”

Sherlock advanced on him, a peculiar fluttering within his mid-section. “Different how?”

John looked off to the left, his body at attention. “It’s hard work having a relationship outside of—” he waved his hand. “This, you. Too hard to bother with boring.”

Sherlock stopped a hand’s breadth from John.

“This isn’t enough for you. You want love, intimacy.”

John swallowed and shut his eyes. “Yeah.”

Sherlock studied John. John, with his nicest button down shirt, plain cardigan, grey-shot hair, bags under his eyes and lines on his face. John who was standing, tense and agitated. John, who cared about Sherlock and was more important than comfort or reputation. John, who right now needed caring too. Sherlock felt something unfurling within him, something he’d kept ruthlessly tucked away for a very long time. Hope was the least of it.

He closed the space between them and leaned his forehead down to John’s. John’s eyes remained shut but his breath quickened.

“John,” Sherlock murmured and he grazed his fingertips over the buttons of his cardigan.

John’s jaw twitched and his eyes flickered open, meeting Sherlock’s. His gaze darted down to Sherlock’s mouth and Sherlock found his own eyes drawn to John’s mouth in turn, that funny, expressive mouth. He suddenly very much needed to know how it felt, how it tasted. He tilted his head and very carefully pressed their lips together. John gave the slightest start, a small intake of air and then his thin lips parted under Sherlock’s. Sherlock froze at the frisson that ran through his centre, and he held there, lips pressed to John’s, their breaths loud. After a beat he slowly drew back, seeking John’s eyes.

“I can give that to you,” he said, voice uncommonly rough. “Let me.”

John’s tongue darted out to wet his lips. “Let you…”

Sherlock solemnly began unbuttoning his cardigan. “You need to be touched; let me.”

John gave a shuddering sigh and leaned his forehead back against Sherlock’s, their noses bumped, cheeks grazed and then John lifted his hand to Sherlock’s cheek and their mouths crushed together.

Sherlock pushed John back against the wall, deepening the kiss.
Source: Tea on AO3

Directly after this part is an extremely explicit (pornographic) scene and I don’t know whether that was on the print out Martin and Benedict had, or whether Caitlin just got her kicks from knowing that it followed, but it was all very uncomfortable. Benedict stopped as soon as it got to the kiss, they didn’t read it smoothly, they kept stopping, trying to distract, but not be real divas about it and refuse to read.

Essentially, I found it ridiculous and it really comes to something when the panelist is worse than the fan Qs, which in this case were decent and reasonably thoughtful.

Afterwards, Benedict also made a point of saying that fanfic has no bearing on the show, that it’s fantasy, and in the world they had created the scenarios are absurd. (I am paraphrasing, please don’t take that as a quote.)

And, Caitlin Moran has essentially uninvited herself to any Sherlock events again. Madness.

Edit: the person whose fanfic was read out has spoken. Read her comments here. I’ll leave you this quote, which sums up my general feelings on Moran anyway:

Also if Caitlin Moran had asked permission to use my work I would have begged her not to. She didn’t ask.
Mocking women for their passions, not very feminist.

  • Faye

    Normally Caitlin Moran is more at home in print. She’s not the best at dealing with this kind of thing. I did notice the PBS preview in the states was similar. The host was similarly not in control and obviously, a bit like Caitlin I little bit girly around Benedict. I’m sorry for all who went in high expectation of the q&a, but I’m sure the episode itself made up for it.

    • london-reviews

      Oh I was there for the episode. Nothing takes away from that! The Q&A is a bonus, though it should fit the calibre of what we’re seeing, not be some dumb fangirl’s idea of a joke.

      Caitlin’s got her own crap to deal with now anyway – a couple of my friends saw her get yelled at big time by the BBC drama controller who was livid about the whole thing. So, like I said, I don’t think we’ll see her at another of these events.

      • Rowen

        Oh, good. Glad to hear that an adult stepped in and gave her a verbal lashing. What a fucking idiot. (Her, not you.)

    • VixeyC

      This is abhorred.

      I mean I giggle reading fanfic as much as the next fan, but this is really NOT ok!

      Ben and Martin are people, and the poor things must have felt so embarrassed. Essentially they were just FORCED to read out PORN of themselves PUBLICLY.

      This is the kind of stupid thing teenagers who are drunk and drugged up do to bully other drunk kids, at a highschool house party. In that context it’s bad enough. THIS, this is PUBLICLY in serious REAL MEDIA. That is unprofessional, totally INAPPROPRIATE, RUDE and CREEPY!

      Poor Ben is so sweet and shy he cringes and squirms at the term “Cumberbitches”. I hope he’s ok. I hope Martin is ok too, even he, who usually takes these things in good humour was uncomfortable. I mean that’s how bad it was. It is even more putting them on the spot, if she knew they would be too polite to have her booted out of the place by security!

      What’s worse is, when they clearly did not want to continue she continued to coerce them! That is really vile bully behaviour.

      As for people saying she was being girly and fangirling. AS A FAN GIRL I AM DEEPLY OFFENDED. Even IF I was in a state of shaking and blubbering in wide eyed fascination and idolisation I would know that was wrong and offensive. She was supposed to be a PROFESSIONAL!

  • Anna

    Ugh, I feel bad for both actors. That would make me SO uncomfortable, I’m glad they tried to be good sports about it but jeez I probably wouldn’t have been.

    Can’t wait to see the ep though, keep hearing good things!

    • london-reviews

      The episode is great! Because we can’t really talk about the episode, everyone is so focused on the Q&A, something I guess Caitlin Moran didn’t consider either when going into it. Good on Benedict and Martin for being good sports though – like you, I don’t think I would have been either!

      • Alexandra

        It’s never professional or good form to publicly embarrass people no matter who they are. Perhaps she misjudged their good nature about such things as a green light to use it as a joke. However, if you’re supposed to be celebrating someone’s successes, humiliating them is probably not the best idea.

        • jack63kids

          And how about the poor writer of the work! As a fanfic writer I am heartily relieved that it was a piece that was well written, grammatical and coherent. Could have been so much worse – but still what a way for an innocent escape from reality to be treated.
          I don’t write slash, but have friends who do and would be mortified for them.

      • VixeyC

        Yeah, Ben and Martin are good guys, so nice and polite. Which is even more why people shouldn’t take advantage like that.

        I think I might have gone along with it, not because I’m good, but because thinking about telling her to get f***ed or having her thrown out by security would have been an after thought for my slow brain. She was wrong to even think of doing it in the first place.

    • Celia Peri

      I cringed thru a similar [H]ouse Q&A in 2009 @ The Paley Centre hosted by a moderator with a superficial/salacious focus. Someone needs to realize that 90% of Fans aren’t stupid and actors have feelings.
      I wish I could apologise to the cast & crew , or better yet, that BBC had stepped in sooner.

      • VixeyC

        Not only are fans NOT STUPID. They are THE AUDIENCE that are actually going to be watching these things.

        I mean if people hate the show, they aren’t going to go much out of their way to watch some meta program about the show.

        So if you’re hosting one of these things, it’s pretty certain anyone seeing you as the host, is also fond of the show.

      • Heidi

        What happened in the [H]ouse panel?

  • Ishani

    I think making them read it out loud was just way over the line. Some stuffs inside the fandom should stay inside the fandom. She was just mocking everyone. I feel bad actually. But thank God there are no spoilers. Thank you for posting it. I could see nothing but drama in the social media and I don’t live in UK so I was desperately searching for the actual news and I finally found it. Thank you xx

    • london-reviews

      Yeah, it was silly. IDK what she was thinking. Breaking the fourth wall is never advisable. You’re welcome. :)

  • Cora

    I really wish they would’ve been divas though, as you put it. They were under no obligation to read that stuff, and I half-wish they would’ve just told Moran to go f*ck herself.
    Grudgingly though, I’ll admit that this showed one of the bigger problems of the Sherlock fandom. The actors and their characters really are hyper-sexualized and objectified, and it IS something fan artists and writers should be aware of (and ashamed of, if they do it). It’s an ugly reality, there’s no way around it, and Moran’s uninspired stunt just raised a mirror.
    Maybe this catastrophe will open some eyes and will lead to less embarrassing interaction with the material, give interviewers less ammo for sensationalist stunts. As someone obviously in the fandom, I would like that very much – for both the fandom’s image and more importantly for the actors’ comfort.

    • V

      Hang on, fan artists and writers should be ashamed of writing slash fanfic? Everyone enjoys fandom differently. Let people be, for heaven’s sake.

    • london-reviews

      I completely disagree. There’s nothing wrong with using fan fiction as a way to express yourself creatively. These are characters and it’s all fiction – there’s nothing to be ashamed of. What is shameful is people taking the fan works out of context and laying them out on a platter for the actors to mock. Caitlin Moran did that, and it’s ugly behaviour.

      • Alexandra

        Let’s also remember that there’s a HUGE difference between enjoying something in private and then being made to read it aloud in public. Even if it was an explicit passage from a completely NON-fanfiction source, springing that on an unsuspecting reader is a bit cruel.

    • Elu

      No one has asked you, coerced you, to read a fan fiction nor check out an artwork. You are free to do what you want. If you don’t seek it out you won’t find it out. The last thing I’ve heard we live in a free world. Please let the others enjoy their fandom as they see fit. There are no rules but to respect the cast and crew.

    • MiGal

      I think the human species can sexualize ANYTHING. If you want to get people’s minds out of the gutter regarding Sherlock maybe we should go back to what ACD intended and that is two male friends solving crimes and having a great friendship. People are sexualizing Sherlock NOT the writers.

      • 3littleowls

        The writers are sexualizing Sherlock? Witha dominatrix as Irene Adler, and all the references to John and Sherlock being more than friends? Like “will you be needing another room”?

      • Tweed

        As a writer of canon ACD slash (only marginally interested in the BBC version), I find your simplistic attitude – which reeks of “ew, no icky gay stuff near my heroes” – offensive and narrow minded.
        I will write exactly what I choose, and Sir Arthur (“You may marry him, murder him, or do what you like with him”) is on my side.

      • Origami Isopod

        “If you want to get people’s minds out of the gutter regarding Sherlock maybe we should go back to what ACD intended and that is two male friends solving crimes and having a great friendship.”

        I just adore people who think anything sexual is “the gutter.” And by “adore,” I mean “despise.”

      • Karrie

        You cannot possibly know what Arthur Conan Doyle really intended. There have been speculations, essays and other literal works written on the matter of Sherlock and John’s relationship by people such as scholars and others, long before the BBC’s Sherlock series even came into existence.

        Bottom line, none of us know what ACD intended so don’t act like you somehow magically do, better than everybody else.

        • Tweed

          And even if he did intend only friendship (which I personally have no problem accepting, times being what they were and ACD’s published opinions on homosexual acts being what they are), fanfic is *transformative* – in other words, we play with the characters and ask “what if?”

    • outlier

      “The actors and their characters really are hyper-sexualized and objectified, and it IS something fan artists and writers should be aware of (and ashamed of, if they do it).” I take strong offence at this. The strength of fanfiction is exactly in NOT objectifying the characters. Fanfiction, fanart give the characters a depth that is otherwise not possible in a show. A look that is passed between two characters can be given such a wonderful meaning that when you watch the show again after reading such a fic, you find you enjoy the show even more. So, no. Fanfiction doesn’t objectify characters. Yes, there is erotica, erotica without plot, but that is a subsection of fanfiction in general. And even those, if you CARE to read, handle the characters as if they are real humans and not the OBJECTS that satisfy a writer’s fantasy on demand. So, as Sherlock says, do your research. And if you are casting shame on fanwork creators, you are no different from Moran.

    • jack63kids

      Whilst I don’t entirely agree with Cora’s view point, she is talking about our reaction as a community not what we write about and how. I think that some of the responses here have missed that as so been unfairly critical.
      Maybe some people did overreact to what happened – I don’t think that hate mail and bullying are good things in any context – ask Amanda Abbington. I, however, feel it was abusive and hurtful to use someone’s work to ridicule the fanbase as a whole in a public forum. The writer is left feeling that her hobby, that she uses to escape from drab reality, has been tainted. That’s sad for all of us.

    • Kenny

      Hey! Watch it! I write Johnlock fanfiction, but it isn’t anything bad or sexual… it is fluffy. I am under the impression that as long as it stays in the fan verse that it is fine. I use it to create my own storylines, relax, and enjoy the show even more! As long as it isn’t forced upon the actors of a show than I think it is fine…

    • kaystiel

      hold the phone, fan artists and fanwriters and fandom has nothing to be ashamed of, it’s all material made for fun, with no profit intended and it has nothing to do with the show, in fact, show should be grateful it has a following that allows it continue – it’s not a catastrophe for fandom, but for Caitlin Moran, who showed herself as a condescending self-absorbed boor.

    • VixeyC

      I agree with Gatiss when he said “Sherlock solving the case IS the SEX!”

      That intellectual nuance is what makes me so excited and interested in the show. They hit it right on the nail when Irene Addler said “brainy is the new sexy.” IMHO.

  • Thora

    This was not ok, not against the actors or fans and making it seems like al fans like these kind of fics. I can’t believe she was stupid enough to do this, BBC obviously trusted her, Benedict trusted her, she has written some wonderful articles about him and now she made complete fool out of herself. Disrespectful and unclassy.

  • Kara

    I hope you people do realize that every Sherlock Holmes interpretation whatsoever, including Sherlock and Elementary are all fanworks. If you adapt the original novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle then that’s another thing as what Moffat and Gattis are doing. They essentially are making fanwork. So the actors saying that things in the fandom are ‘a fantasy’ misjudge the fandom. They are making money off this fandom because they essentially create something for it. In other words, Sherlock is a commercial fanwork like every Sherlock Holmes book ever that was not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    • Anna

      That’s a false equivalency in this situation.

      No one is saying you can’t write fan fic–as Cumberbatch said at the event, fans can do what they want. Also, note that Moran is not part of Sherlock’s cast or crew–the issue here is since it’s the actors’ likeness, it’s incredibly inappropriate to ask them to read it aloud, especially without any warning.

      Most people aren’t comfortable doing that in general let alone when it involves depictions of themselves. Think of being stuck in a room full of strangers and being handed porn involving you to read.

      It’s unfair and disrespectful to the fan fic author and the cast and crew in this case.

    • Kenny

      I get what you are saying… and yes what most fans write about are a fantasy… but the writing of fanfiction isn’t what this story is about. This story is about a woman who made two actors read a graphic fanfiction of their characters… together. It was extremely wrong of her to do that and especially to continue to ask them even when they showed their discomfort…

    • Iris

      I agree absolutely. Bbc sherlock is essentially a faanfic, and johnlock has been shipped since conan doyle wrote the stories! Plus bbc is practically feeding us johnlock material, it would be hard not to at least joke ship them as I do. Honestly, I myself have no problem with gay couples but I cringe at anything sexual, whether it’s gay or straight. But people can write whatever the heck they want, that’s the beauty of fanfic, and while I don’t write myself I know people who do. By joke shipping, I mean that I would love them as a couple, but I know they aren’t and I think that was what they were trying to say on the show, that men can be bffs too. As for Moran, what she did was wrong and I think she’s feeling it enough right now, so I want to say let’s be more civil now because I’m sure that’s what our actors would want us to do. I feel really bad for them, it must have been extremely embarrassing and I know that they know their fans write slashfic but to have to read it out like that is just uncalled for. But they were civil and polite and didn’t raise a fuss, which is what I absolutely love about them, so I think instead of all out raging on their behalf we should follow their good example. That being said I can’t wait for series three, I’m super excited and I absolutely love the show! Brainy is the new sexy! :D

  • Josephine

    On tumblr people kept saying the fanfiction they had to read was called “Coffee”? The one which went around just included some angst, John was with Mary, nothing sexual at all. I kept wondering why that would make people feel so uncomfortable. But the thing you have quoted here is clearly too explicit to ever have it read by the actors (not that I think making them recite fanfiction is a good idea in the first place, but if she had wanted to do so there would’ve been lots of possibilites to show nice and harmless writing instead of slash smut fanfiction).
    What I think is really bad about these kinds of things happening is that like that Benedict and Martin will get more precautious and negatory of Johnlock as a possible future plot line every day, while at the beginning of this topic they were like, we wouldn’t mind if the story would develop like that at some point… Basically her making them read slash fic just says “Look how awful everything Johnlock-related is and realize that you’ll never want to do ANY kind of love between those two characters.” Well, thanks, Caitlin…

    • london-reviews

      I doubt Caitlin has the power to influence Sherlock storylines. If that is where they want to go then they will, not that I think that’s planned. I get a sense from what Benedict said afterwards that they think that is a ludicrous scenario and the fanfic just compounded it. It is a shame that he felt the need to make that kind of statement though.

      • thedragonaunt

        I don’t actually think that’s what he meant. I think he was saying that, in the context of the show, the scenario was fantasy. But that is what FF is! It goes where the show does not. That’s the whole point. The ludicrous bit was asking him and MF to read it out. They should have refused but were put on the spot by someone they thought they could trust. I honestly believe he was criticising CM, not the writer or the content.

        We all know that BC, in particular, is uncomfortable with Johnlock, in general. MF seems a lot more at ease with it but, nevertheless, it was entirely inappropriate to put the two actors on the spot like that.

        I write FF and I don’t write slash or Johnlock but I support the right of anyone to write whatever their imagination gives them. Each to his own. I write Sherlolly and I’m actually quite proud of my work but would I want BC and LB put in the onerous position of reading it out at a live event, with no advance warning or power of veto? HELL, NO!

        CM has shot herself in the foot, with this one. The only person who should feel embarrassed and humiliated is her – and rightly so!

        • jack63kids

          Oh goodness, yes! I wrote to the writer of that piece saying pretty much that, especially that CM should be the one to be humiliated. There’s a fine line between humour and mockery and she crossed it. I do feel sorry for her as it was a misjudgment rather than a deliberate act, but still, she’s an experienced journalist and should have know that what works on the sofa in an entertainment show does not at what was basically a press conference event.

      • Anna

        He was clearly going after CM and he’s correct in that some fan fic wouldn’t fit into the show, the two universes are meant to be separate.

        To be frank, the actors are people, not objects, but fan fic based on them is a form of sexual objectification. There’s nothing wrong with writing it, but no one should demand they accept that objectification of themselves.

  • Monika

    First of all, thank you for not including any spoilers and still informing us a bit about the Q&A. So it turned out as a disaster. I calmed down a bit in the past ten minutes, so now I can write with my words making sense.
    I probably even don’t want to going deeper by asking what the heck does this person have with her brain. Frankly, I couldn’t even read the middle of that FF piece, I also felt embarrassed imagining them in that situation, oh boy, how it must’ve been uncomfortable!!! Jesus. I feel so bad for both Benedict and Martin and for the makers too.
    And I’m very angry, honestly, because all I can think of is that if they put there anyone from our fandom, it would probably have been much more better. I’m out of words. I’m sorry for this looong text. I just can’t understand, it’s beyond my thinking, how someone like her and many others even can be employed or working in a movie industry, in any position whatsoever.

    • london-reviews

      Yeah, it was all rather uncomfortable. I mean, Benedict and Martin were very good sports about it, but she judged it badly and I don’t think they were very happy with her. Benedict especially. I think it’s just a shame that it was a wasted opportunity!

  • Storm

    Oh my, I had this really tiny ray of hope that she didn’t bring explicit slash fiction. There go my hopes. Honestly, what was she thinking? If they both tell her that they were uncomfortable and she still forced them to read it, what’s that? It’s disrespectful to the actors and the fans, not to mention that making them read slash fiction in the presense of Mr Moffat, Mr Gatiss, Ms Abbington and others is just plain rude. Humiliating both the author, who makes no profit on the work and is using a pen name for a reason, the reason is called anonymity. I know that by publishing my stories I’m running the risk of someone finding out but having it read aloud publically just to mock the fandom and making the actors blush and stutter is just rude in my book, there’s no way around it. I really do hope that Caitlin Moran has learned her lesson, and that other event hosts did too.

    • kete

      “I really do hope that Caitlin Moran has learned her lesson, and that other event hosts did too.”

      I have very little hope for other event hosts, rather I fear that something like that will happen again and more often now. Like, “Oh, you did it for CM, here, read that one (really explicit sex scene) for me!”

      At the moment I just want a hole in the floor to open and swallow me, that’s how embarrassed I am (and I don’t even write explicit fic). Not because of the things written in fic, but because this makes a fool of everyone involved.

      • RedPen1966

        Oh, I think you can be sure no other host will pull a stunt like this. Think about it: you’re dealing with some of the biggest names AT the BBC whom Moran just pissed off. From here on out I would not be surprised if behavior is stated explicitly in what the creators, producers and actors expect of a host, and that steps will be taken to make sure if it DOES happen, it will not happen for long (remember those great big hooks for sucky vaudeville acts?). The drama controller probably wishes now they’d hauled her offstage.

        • kete

          God, I hope you’re right. If MF and BC don’t have publicists already, it’s time to hire some perhaps, so they can make sure there’ll be no appearance anywhere where such idiotic stuff can happen.

  • Fiona

    Thanks a lot for writing this!
    Wow, I really don’t know what to think right now. I have read some Caitlin Moran articles and her book How To Be a Woman which I thought were all brilliant and very funny. I also, when I first heard of this, did not think it would be a problem for fanfiction to be read out loud by them. This is because I myself write non-explicit fanfiction and would be a little embarrassed but feel more honoured by such a thing happening with something I’d written. But yes, in this case I find it very inapproprate of her to tell them to read it. I don’t quite want to defend the author here, as he or she /did/ post it to the Internet, where yes, it will be read, possibly even by celebrities. However, I don agree with making two people read something like that when they have no obligation to and are clearly uncomfortable with it.
    But, I want to stay positive because even if I wasn’t present to this otherwise wonderful occasion, I will get my share of Sherlock in just over two weeks :D

    • mirr

      I don’t think the author needs defending. There is nothing wrong with writing fan fiction. She wrote a story about fictional characters, properly labeled it and then posted it in a place where such things are archived so that interested people can go and read it, for free. That’s it. That’s all she did. It’s Moran who went out and threw it in the faces of an uncomfortable cast and a disinterested public.

  • Ice

    It seems incredibly cruel that the fan fiction was basically read to be mocked in front of an audience. I feel awful for the author.

    • Rose

      I agree with you completely. It’s bad enough for Benedict and Martin to be put through that, but the author must feel absolutely terrible. I wouldn’t be surprised if she never writes again, which is a true shame. It’s actually very well written; not my cup of tea, personally, but good nonetheless. Writing fanfiction is something that brings the writers and the readers a lot of joy, particularly with a show like Sherlock where we have to wait so long for new episodes. And Caitlin Moran has basically spat in everyone’s face and tried to make people feel guilty and foolish for that. Shame on her.

      • jack63kids

        So agree. I’m chuffed to bits that she picked a piece that was coherent and well written, though also not my cuppa tea. The writer has nothing to be ashamed of. I hope that she gets over this quickly and carries on doing what she obviously loves to do when the kids are creating and hubby’s at work. All power to her.

    • london-reviews

      It’s pretty nasty. :(

    • Lina

      What really got to me was the fact that she actually got fanfiction published on the internet by an actual author without their permission. What a disgrace, Caitlin Moran’s just pushed her limits. What she did was just unprofessional and just pure mockery. Not nice at all.

  • US

    Catlin Moran needs to be fired. The Q&A session was an insult to the whole show. None of those questions reflected anything about the episode. That was absolutely disgraceful.

  • Elizabeth

    Oh my. Was it truly necessary, when you have a great show and great actors to talk about, to dig in the fandom and mock it? Bad move. Feels so childish.
    Ok, we like to ship and all, but the show is the show, the fandom is the fandom.
    If one mixes the two things, it all loses in seriousness. And its disrespectful to all the staff, we’re talking about a serious work here.
    This event started bad (with the absurd absence of the possibility to purchase tickets for common customers when it was promised in the first place) and ended worse.
    So sad.

  • hermione

    She just wanted to look clever… wow, that backfired big time!
    What a moron!

  • Stephanie

    Honestly, a lot of interviewers did something similar and it was fun but they didn’t make all the show about a joke. I can stand a little moment of nonsense, I’d laugh about it too, at first, but you should not forget the reason we’re supposed to stay there with all the cast and the writers. As an interviewer she should take the chance to make questions with some logic. That was just a childish fangirl who was playing with her idols, trying to get all the fame because she was the one who made them read a fanfiction. Someone give her a couple of dolls next time. What a shame.

    • Rachel

      Also, when other interviewers mentioned fanfiction and fanart, it was in a completely different setting. The Graham Norton Show is completely different from the official screening! Norton’s show is known for doing this type of stuff with actors and celebrities, and it’s implied there that nothing is really that serious. This, on the other hand, was the BBC screening for the show! It’s supposed to be serious and professional, and the fact that Moran would not ask any questions about the actual episode but instead used it to take jabs at the actors and the fandom is completely uncalled for! So not only was what she did horrible and insulting to both the actors, the author of the fic, and the fandom, but it was completely out of place and unprofessional. Shame on her.

  • E.C. Watson-Holmes

    Wow. I cannot believe the nerve of Catlin Moran. There’s nothing wrong with the John/Sherlock slash fiction–I write it myself–but for her to have Benedict and Martin read it out loud, at an event like this, in front of EVERYONE… no, that’s just mocking and wrong. I feel like she’s shaming us, shaming our fandom for being creative. And I just totally feel bad for Ben and Martin… no one should be forced to read something like that from their show-verse if they don’t wanna…

  • Brittanie M

    I was so excited to get online today and see all the great buzz around the episode but instead it was completely overshadowed by this unprofessional journo’s idea of a joke. It’s basically bullying, but I’m so glad to find out the author took it very well in stride. I would just be crushed. Fanfiction is an outlet for fans in many ways and it should not be a shameful thing. I’m very much over journalists thinking it’s ok to shove fan works into the subjects faces like it’s a huge joke. No one does actual research anymore.

  • Mab

    I’m horrified for the actors. They are often such good sports; there’s no need to attempt to publicly humiliate them.

    The fan fic’s all in good fun, but I’m kind of over the idea of Johnlock. They don’t need to be a sexual couple to be a spectacular pair.

    • Susan

      This is one of the best comments I’ve seen so far; the Johnlock stuff is getting very old, and I don’t even seek it out, let alone read it! Why can’t their relationship just be what it is? The characters AND the actors have an amazing chemistry, just enjoy it. I am so sorry that Benedict and Martin were embarrassed in this way at what should have been an enjoyable and triumphant moment for them; they so rarely have been able to appear together at Sherlock events because of their schedules, and I hope they don’t refuse to now!

      • Lynn Walker

        Thank you, thank you, thank you!

      • Kyria

        There’s a decent chunk of fandom who label what they write as a form of Johnlock, but who write it as a non-sexual relationship. John & Sherlock are written non-sexually-together as everything from a queer-platonic relationship to heterosexual life-partners and it’s one of my favourite Johnlock genres* (when it’s done well, of course, but that applies to all fic).

        *not entirely sure genre is the right word but I can’t be bothered searching for a better one at the moment. I’m sure you get what I mean regardless.

  • PN

    I have a degree in Journalism and there’s something I remember from my studies which Moran seems to have forgotten, and that is simple etiquette and tact. Has fanfiction been joked about in the media before this, absolutely. However, there is a time and place for everything, and this met neither of those criteria. Shows like the Graham Norton Show and Jimmy Kimmel–those are late night comedic program whose goal is to poke fun at pop culture, politics and its figures. This was, as someone has already pointed out, an official press event for the BBC and its Sherlock. This is the height of unprofessional, especially in the context of the forum in which it was delivered.

    What she did was disrespectful to BBC, its program and associates, the people in attendance and especially the author of this work, all of which are undeserving of this uncalled for mockery. I hope she is reprimanded for her actions by whoever it is she answers to.

  • suzie

    If this is a sign that Moran’s time as any kind of commentator on popular culture may be nearing an end I won’t be sorry. Her style has always been to childishly mock and gurn like a demented court jester and the stench of arrogant spite was only ever partially hidden.

  • Ally

    I feel so bad for everyone involved, really. For the makers of the show, who are obviously so proud of what they’ve done, for the audience, for whom this was such a big moment, made to feel foolish and embarrassed, for the actors who honestly seem to love the fans and who, I’m pretty sure, would NOT appreciate being used as a prop to humiliate people who have been so loyal and patient with them, and of course for the author of that fanfic, who absolutely did not deserve to hear people she admired forced to make fun of her or her work. I mean, I’m not surprised, Caitlin Moran has a bit of a rep for hating anyone she perceives as “other women” for all she calls herself a feminist. But stooping this low? Honestly, what the hell? Was this some sort of, “Look, I’m a REAL fan!” moment for her or what? Just. Ew. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth all around.

    • Kris

      Upon watching it, I was embarrassed for HER, believe it or not. This stunt makes it appear that she somehow thinks that she’s in with them because she wrote a couple of articles about Benedict Cumberbatch and “Sherlock,” and it’s obvious that she thought her cleverness would be rewarded. It’s like being transported back to high school where some unremarkable loudmouth is picking on someone they deem dorkier than them because they think it will impress some boy they have a crush on…”Look at these freaks! Let’s all make fun of something they’re into because I deem it awkward and weird!”

      Juvenile and a waste of time…she took a really awesome event and made it uncomfortable…and took the focus off of what it should have been on; the new season and the talent that made it happen.

      • Celia Peri

        Has Caitlin Moran apologised to the Sherlock cast & crew & the Fandom & the writer PUBLICALLY ? She got to humiliate everyone in public. So now she walks away ? I want a mea culpa for being so disrespectful to everyone.

      • Ally

        That is EXACTLY what I thought when I watched too. It looked like, she came into that, realized she was unprepared, and went, “okay but LOOK AT THESE WEIRDOS! At least I’m better than that, right? RIGHT?!” It’s just so awful that a Q&A meant to bring fans closer to people they admire was turned into something that was so obviously designed to draw a dividing line between them. Just. Really insecure, really unprofessional of her.

  • Anne

    Having watched the short link you also posted I think Moran’s actions were vile.

    I don’t even write fanfic but I’m sure it’s a creative way to express yourself and seeing how it was a woman who wrote it you’d think Moran would’ve been supportive in that by at least asking permission.

    The laughter seems uncomfortable at best and possibly somewhat homophobic in it’s “oh my gawd two men kissing eek” sort of way.

    The panel were clearly not happy and for her to say that the piece was “clumsily written” at the end really does stick the knife in that little bit further.


    But the episode my dear Mr Brooker *that* was good, yes?

    • Anne

      Think I may have confused who posted the link on twitter/actual author of this piece. Sorry there! :)

    • helva

      I haven’t watched the link (I’m not sure I can stand the second-hand embarrassment!), but if she said that the fanfic was “clumsily written” when she apparently edited bits out for brevity…? Yeah. I’m thinking the clumsiness can’t exactly be blamed on the original author.

  • Maddie Holmes

    I think Moran was perhaps under the misguided assumption that, after a few cosy chats with Cumberbatch, she was now part of the gang, part of the Sherlock family. I don’t know what others thought but I felt that Cumberbatch’s body language towards her (or rather opposing her) was very telling and not what I’d expected at all. I was on the look out for blatant flirting from the pair of them but it ended up being one sided. I think her making a big deal of a filming gaff was of the same thinking “I’m one of the in crowd, one of the lads. I’ve earned enough respect to tease’ – she called it wrong and they (especially Cumberbatch) put her in her place.

    I am intrigued that she was given a telling off afterwards – pity I missed that.

    • lizarus

      Spot on Maddie, …after a few cosy chat and spent £5000 for a book BC licked at an auction, she thought she was part of the gang.

  • Fong

    hi .. thanks for posting this . i kinda heard they read some fans fic and got very embarassed and angry . so , i wonder what they were shown to read. i searched the clips or the article and just found out the extract. oh my god, did they really read out the whole piece ?? it was crazy ! i went through just one-third of it and could not continue anymore . how can 2 men reading it out in public , though they are good actors ? Well, maybe they would laugh it off when they happened to see this kinda stuff on net , but reading it out loud in front of whole crowds ? it was all embarassing ! and the person ( Moran ?) who asked them to read was crazy too. She just wanted some kind of ” noise ” for herself by having someone humilitated / embarassed ! i feel bad for both actors …

  • Anonymous

    Someone on Tumblr was saying someone’s artwork was included on what they read. I think some body got confused between what happened with Moran, and what happened last year with Graham Norton.

  • Andy

    Thanks for posting this – I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. My wife and I were there, very excited to have been a part of the preview audience but gutted that CM’s poorly judged interviewing overshadowed a really good event. We were sat in the row in front of her and heard her say to her friend that she’d come up with the questions in the taxi on the way to the BFI. I cannot fathom how she thought it would be a good idea to be so poorly prepared (even still highlighting the fan fiction she asked BC and MF to read out) just before the lights went down. It’s a shame that the Q&A couldn’t have focused more on the audience’s questions, as I think they were all well-considered and respectful. We also saw CM being shouted at by the head of BBC Drama, and she seemed genuinely stunned. The programme itself was amazing, and I loved how the audience reacted to all that happened in it. Sherlock really is a special show, and a credit to the cast and crew that make it.

    • london-reviews

      Hello! I think I was sat behind you and your wife. I was in Row B wearing a purple top with long black hair and my friend to my left has red hair. We chatted a bit before it started. :) And, yes, I also heard Caitlin say she’d prepared in the taxi too. Crazy that someone with such a great opportunity cared so little. The episode was great though – and I always love watching with other fans and getting excited with them. I like the communal experience of watching TV premieres at the BFI.

      • Andy

        Hi there, oh we were in row F – CM was sat in G at the very beginning (next to someone who looked very much like Tracey Thorne from Everything But The Girl – could be wrong though). We’ve been to a couple of Q&A’s at the BFI before and it’s great to hear the stars of the shows and films we love speak so candidly. I’m not letting the poor questioning spoil it though, we werwe thrilled to be there. And I can’t wait to watch the episode all over againon Jan 1st – so many little details I may have missed, particularly dialogue when the audience was laughing so much!

        • Deee

          Tracey was there with her daughter; she said so on twitter. I’ve been a fan of Tracey for years (okay, decades) and she is a friend of CM’s, and I am just a little…. discomforted by all of this. It’s hard to believe the same person who did that yesterday also wrote this:
          Joy. Hope. You have to keep open to the frequent, astonishing, random joyousness of life. Cynicism is the arterial furring of the soul. While any halfway sensible Western citizen tries to limit the amount of cholesterol they put in their bodies, lest their heart explode, we’ll happily chug down gallons of world-weariness a day, without ever wondering what it’s doing to our ability to stop feeling anxious and desolate, and actually to start enjoying our short mortal lives

          • Mrs Hudson

            I can believe it! If that is the sort of pretentious and vacuous twaddle she produces then her behaviour was very much in character – childishly pathetic!

  • Fong

    hmm..honestly , after 2 years of waiting, all i need is the comeback , the reunion , the drama, the actions…. Ppl have waited for the series 3 for 2 years and avoided spoilers. I think the biggest spoiler came from the ” fan fic ” , not because of the story itself but having them to read in front of crowds. This part made everyone disappointed, angry, embarassed ,, the speakers, the crew, the fans inclusive, are heart- broken. I found the clip but dared not to watch it because i could imagine they were just like tiny scared animals waiting to be slaughtered. How painful !

  • helva

    Ouch! What a misjudgement to make, and what a nasty taste in the mouth it leaves. Talk about “she couldn’t have been more insulting if she’d tried”! :(

    It rather reminds me of the time my university (rural campus, with a high proportion of students doing Agricultural degrees of one sort or another) got a stand-up comedian for our Summer Ball, and we all piled in to hear him as it was the first live performance we’d had all year. And then he started by taking the piss out of anyone who lived in the country and ran through the whole gamut of Farmers=Bestiality and Students=Lazy jokes. Needless to say, he got booed off stage within three or four minutes by a furious audience.

    • Mrs Hudson

      I think she tried very hard and it was still clumsy, awkward & childishly pathetic! What she did was not rude, it takes a certain amount of talent to be successful at rudeness and which she certainly does not possess. I didn’t see it but from reports from people who did attend I think Benedict’s body language alone was a delight in studied rudeness without even opening his mouth – and boy did she deserve it!! Well done Ben!

  • CrouchEnder

    This whole Moran ‘I’m part of the in-crowd, me’, is puke-making. Presumably she was paid by the BFI to chair a discussion for the edification of a paying audience, and ask questions they would like heard, not to make herself look clever. It was also a chance for journalists who aren’t granted the same deified access as Moran herself to find some copy to write for the show – that was a waste of time for them.
    Also, lovely to see ‘feminist’ Moran taking the piss out of fan-fic writers. Had she not been picked up by the press as a teenage wunderkind from Wolverhampton, maybe she’d be writing the same stuff today – please don’t take the piss out of people who write fan fic for pleasure, no matter how superior you may see yourself as a broadsheet columnist. Still, funny how she’s been so quiet on Twitter about yesterday’s event. But this:

  • Sasha Kokoeva

    Well, Caitlin Moran, that was rude… Fandom needs a bit of respect, so as actors and cast…

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  • jen

    ugh, what a horrible, mean thing to do! I followed the link through to that woman’s blog and she is completely mortified. What a terrible thing to do to someone for no reason!

  • Juliet

    I am a fan of Caitlin and I think she has talent, and good for her for being so out about being a feminist. But I also think she is pretty immature and not perhaps highly intelligent, and she seems stuck in a kind of adolescent persona. A couple of times in the past few weeks she’s tweeted, “OMG look everyone famous celebrity X is on Twitter, everyone follow them while I fangirl madly!!” and in both cases it was very obviously some random fan pretending (poorly) to be them, and when everyone pointed out it was a faker she ignored it. I know it’s not remotely comparable to what she did at the Sherlock QA but she really doesn’t seem to have a lick of common sense.

    • Mrs Hudson

      Sorry but I have to disagree with your assessment of ‘talent’ – she, like so many other ‘journalists’ is a parasite who make far to good a living off the back of other peoples hard worked for success. What was Watson’s line… ‘The press will turn, they always do, and they will turn on you’ How True! ( and just to try and make a name for themselves!!)

    • VixeyC

      Really… Feminist…. Well if a FEMALE celebrity was FORCED TO READ PORN OF HERSELF PUBLICLY, would that be ok? NO IT WOULD NOT!!! The whole feminist movement would CRUSH the person who thought of that.

      So, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander!

      Treating a PERSON like this is NOT ok.

  • Mrs Hudson

    I have to say I am absolutely disgusted with this whole business. Let’s all take a step back for a moment and have a reality check. Sherlock is a TV show. Ben & Martin are actors. Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss are writers. ( I could have put ‘excellent’ in each of those but we all know that without it being said) When all mixed together they produce ‘MAGIC’!!! There unfortunately seems to be a whole host of so called ‘journalists’ out there who only seek to sensationalise everything they touch and to make their living by feeding off of the success and hard work of others.
    They are parasites who produce nothing themselves and who try and worm their way into the ‘in’ crowd by trying to be clever! I am SO glad this backfired so spectacularly as it might just make the rest crawl back under their stones and give us all a break!! A shame Ben & Martin were made to feel uncomfortable but I’m sure they are adult enough to cope and hopefully it has done us all ( actors, writers & genuine fans) the biggest favour of all if it makes other ‘hacks’ think twice before crawling back out!!

    Love the show guys – best thing ever on TV ( and I do go back to the days of only 3 channels!)

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  • Becca

    I just want to thank you, I was there too and one of those who actually got a question in that was (funnily enough), relevant to the episode we’d watched. (The one that Mark wouldn’t let be the last question about SM)

    You’ve an interesting article and:

    “Essentially, I found it ridiculous and it really comes to something when the panelist is worse than the fan Qs, which in this case were decent and reasonably thoughtful.”

    Is kind of exactly what I said afterwards. I wasn’t impressed with CM at the S2 screening Q&A either, though that was miles ahead of this of course! So, thank you for acknowledging there were fan questions!

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  • Hannah

    I prefer to read my porn, boo-hoo to those that disagree. And yea this was just very low belt on her part…Lord why are folks so just obtuse, illiterate and crass? No idea…*scratches boobs and moves on*

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  • Ibrows

    Guys, come on! I thought the Sherlock fandom embraced logic and rationality? I was looking for some interesting nuggets about the Q&A, and instead find this entire strand whipping up a storm in a teacup of epic proportions. I found myself reading on and on in fascination that such a large number of clever people could get so worked up about something so trivial. Is it because it’s BC and MF that all sense of proportion seems to have deserted my favourite fandom? These men are grown-ups! And not only that, they’re actors – famously requiring thick skinned resilience to thrive in their field. Perhaps they had rather heated cheeks and may have felt “well, that was a bit embarrassing”, but I’m sure they’re well balanced enough to forget all about it quickly enough. They also had the option to refuse, and obviously felt the least socially awkward action was to humour the silliness.
    I’m sure they don’t need an army of the self righteous defending them with their shields of frothing indignation!
    I also write fan fiction, enjoy good quality Johnlock, and couldn’t give a flying fart if Caitlyn Moran poked fun at it. I’d also love to have a recording of BC reading out some of my lines… I hope the fanfic writer, who I have enjoyed in the past, is able to calm down and see that side of things too – and I am also speaking as someone who often writes to forget!
    I would just like to see you all stop twittering and fluttering, as if these actors had had their legs broken, instead of being placed in a bit of a socially awkward situation. You are fans of Sherlock, aren’t you, not Barbara Cartland? Brace up, shoulders back, and work those lovely brains of yours! If you want to be feminists, stop being so…. girly? (Perhaps not the best word in that context, but it’s the one that was jumping up and down in my head.) You really do sound like a bunch of fan girls who’ve wound each other up until all perspective is gone! I only say this because I love you…
    (If BC is spotted weeping and rending his clothing as a direct result of this abject humiliation, then I apologise unreservedly for my cynical downplaying of this devastating event.)

  • TheImprobableOne

    Just died of second hand embarrassment for them.

  • MacVellan

    A whole lot of squawking like angry hens here. I’m trying to find some decent spoiler free reviews to gain a bit of frisson ready for the episode, and everyone’s just going on about the wrong Moran. Lots of “ooh, bet she really regrets it now!” type comments – are you kidding?! She’s a journalist. You’ve all just helped her find gold by participating in this internet furore – suddenly, all the Sherlockians and Cumberbitches and anyone remotely interested in the phenomenon can find nothing but hissing commentary on what Caitlin Moran did at the BFI. “Wasn’t it awful?” “Ooh yes, so awful I had to watch it sixteen times to check it was as awful as I thought it was. Throw her off a cliff in a coffin filled with broken glass and dog dirt!” All a bit Daily Mail “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” for us Sherlock fans innit? And Caitlin’s now a bit infamous with all this free publicity – I doubt she’s gutted; if she has a true journo’s soul, she’s thrilled! Sorry you lot, but in the words of John Watson: “Stop this – just stop it!” Please can someone write something meaningful about the actual episode? Or even the rest of the Q&A? Many thanks!

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  • Sana

    Its like making respectable middle-aged men read pornography before a crowd of dignified well-educated adults.How can that lady even think of doing such a thing.I mean come on,you are not interviewing the likes of justin bieber nor the fans are teenagers.Act your age Caitlin Moran,not your shoe-size