Written by Stephanie Bell
Imagine you are at work, sitting at your desk, putting the finishing touches on an important presentation you will give to a client. You are concentrating; trying to find just the right words to clinch a deal that will provide your company with revenue and create new jobs. There is a lot riding on the success of your work.
Now imagine that there is a crowd of people standing near your office, watching your every move and facial expression as you complete your project. Some of them are taking pictures of you and posting them on their social media pages, critiquing your efforts. Others engage in conversations while frequently glancing in your direction, breaking your concentration as you try to capture a fleeting thought and put it into words.
Over the last few years as Sherlock’s popularity has sky-rocketed, the crowds of onlookers present during location shoots have also grown. While the cast and crew of Sherlock recently filmed scenes for the 2015 Christmas special, there were throngs of fans behind the crash barriers trying to get a look at the actors. At times, members of the crew opened umbrellas to block the spectators’ view. In a recent interview with The Independent to promote the BBC’s The Eichmann Show, Martin Freeman shared his frustration at trying to play John Watson with crowds of people watching. He compared it to trying to act at a red carpet event.
Many might argue that the popularity of Sherlock is one of the reasons it exists—without the fans, there wouldn’t be a show. Second, aren’t the actors used to performing in front of crowds? Freeman recently played Richard III on stage to rave reviews and Benedict Cumberbatch will play Hamlet this summer at London’s Barbican (the three-month run sold out in minutes). Besides, isn’t a thirst for recognition one of the reasons they became actors in the first place?
Yet, perhaps surprisingly, many Sherlock fans believe ‘#Setlock’ (the hashtag used when fans post their behind-the-scenes photos online) is bad for the show. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of those who responded to a recent Radio Times poll said fans should stay away from locations when filming is taking place. Maybe they were swayed by an admission made by Mark Gatiss. On top of Martin Freeman’s comments, the Sherlock co-creator has said that #Setlock has influenced the show’s creative direction. What if a brilliant new storyline had to be scrapped because the fans’ presence would make filming too difficult?
It is the privilege of Sherlock’s fans to peacefully convene and get to see the show in the making, as long as they are not interfering with the cast and crew’s work. Considering Freeman’s and Gatiss’ recent comments about #Setlock and its effect on the show, however, fans thinking of going to the set may want to put themselves in Cumberbatch’s or Freeman’s shoes and truly consider if their presence helps or hurts the show they love, and decide accordingly.
What are your thoughts on #Setlock? Let us know in the comments below!