Steven Moffat says Sherlock would be 'over by now' if there had been more episodes

Stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman would be unable to commit to a gruelling film schedule

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The Independent Culture

Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards: all major TV dramas with 10 plus episodes a season. And then there's Sherlock, with just a trio of episodes in each of its three series – but therein lies its success, according to creator Steven Moffat.

Bucking the trend of other award-winning dramas, Sherlock would have been “over by now” if there had been more episodes, the Doctor Who writer said.

Speaking to The Guardian at the Cannes Lions festival, Moffat said that a heavy filming schedule would have left the contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories dead in the water -  because of the meteoric rise of its stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

“Had we done the conventional form of a TV series which is to do runs of six or twelve, it would be over by now without doubt, it would be finished,” Moffat said.

“Because [the cast] would never again commit that amount of time that regularly to a TV show, they just wouldn’t, why would they?

“But given the strange form of Sherlock which is every two-and-a-half years we get together and we make three, means that it can go on for a very long time,” he said.


And he said that the detective drama’s appeal in the US lies in its quintessential Britishness.

“I think that the way that you appeal to other cultures is to be your own culture, just be yourself," he said.

“Americans like British shows - if they elect to watch a British show they want it to be terribly British, why wouldn’t they?

“It’s a cheap way of taking a holiday abroad.”