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

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
 

Any chance the other parties will run their election campaigns without any deceit or nastiness?

Nigel Farage
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee