Sherlock has succeeded in bringing back 'appointment television', but the BBC shouldn't spoil it by patronising audiences

Why couldn't the Beeb leave it to us to spot the show's final twist?

Share

The latest series of Sherlock on BBC1 ended with a typically intricate, quick-fire and classy episode. But I could barely believe my ears at the end, when an idiotic BBC announcer interrupted to say: “Now, the thing is with Sherlock, you need to watch right to the very end of the credits or you’ll miss something.”

Gosh, suddenly BBC1 has turned into CBeebies. Please, patronise us some more. Why didn’t you interrupt earlier to say “Now the thing is with Sherlock, he may not necessarily have died. Watch carefully in five minutes time.”

Sure enough there was indeed a surprise right at the very end of the credits; but did it need such a sledgehammer reminder to keep watching, neatly killing any suspension of disbelief at the same time?

Those of us who managed to sit through the 30 seconds of credits would have enjoyed the excellent surprise. Those who switched off or over would have learned from friends the next day that they had missed a surprise, and marvelled even more at the originality of the series. The end of credits surprise would have made the perfect water-cooler moment the next morning.

And that’s the more important aspect of Sherlock. It has succeeded in bringing back the water-cooler moment. Because of its complexity, humour and intricate plotting, there is always much to discuss the next day. That’s noteworthy as we have been told so many times in the last couple of decades that the water-cooler moments had vanished. We would all be watching different things, on different channels, at different times, on different platforms.

Thankfully, a series like Sherlock has disproved that gloomy prediction. Put on something that is classy and challenging, and it becomes in that almost forgotten phrase “appointment television.” We feel we can’t afford to miss it on its first broadcast, and we want to talk about it the next day. The BBC has revived a great cultural tradition, that of making television a national shared event, a communal experience which brings viewers together.

What a pity that it almost spoiled the achievement by treating the audience like children and doubting its ability to concentrate for an extra half a minute. Let’s hope it isn’t so crass in the next series. And let’s hope that will be soon. The health of the nation is enhanced by the shared television experience giving us something to talk about the next day. Breaking Bad, Broadchurch and Sherlock all achieved that, even if the last had to come with a gauche announcer who Sherlock himself would have given short shrift.

Leo's comic turn on Wall Street

The Golden Globes, awarded in Los Angeles last Sunday, bizarrely split up the film awards into best film drama and best film comedy or musical, and even more bizarrely gave Leonardo DiCaprio best actor in a comedy award for Scorsese’s not terribly comic The Wolf of Wall Street. These artificial distinctions make second class citizens of comedy and musicals. It’s all cinema, and the acting skills demanded are as great in one genre as another. What is particularly strange is that the Golden Globes, unlike the Oscars, are decided by film critics. If film critics don’t realise this, then perhaps they’re in the wrong job.

Dirty business at the BAFTAs

Meanwhile, the big British film awards, the BAFTAs will have a different problem at their ceremony at the Royal Opera House next month. Cleaners at the ROH, paid £7 an hour, are to strike on the night over low pay. They want their pay increased to the London Living Wage of £8.80 an hour. They have accused the ROH management of “washing their hands of the matter”, an unintentionally suitable, hygienic metaphor. Will this be the awards ceremony where Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren, DiCaprio and the rest show their left-wing credentials and proclaim support from the stage? Perhaps they will drop litter on the red carpet in solidarity.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn