Sherlock + Q&A with Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat

6th January 2011
Clapham Junction Picturehouse Cinema

I am more than a little obsessed with Sherlock.

My laptop wallpaper is Sherlock. My phone wallpaper is Sherlock. My ringtone is the Sherlock theme music. By this logic it stands to reason that the screening of Sherlock at the Clapham Junction Picturehouse on January 6th, followed by a Q&A with Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, would be my dream event.

This logic is entirely correct.

The evening began on the train to London. The friend I was attending with was texting me frantically about what to wear (we settled on purple) and I was about to combust with glee as the lights of London skittered towards me. I had a surreal moment on the tube when I went through Baker Street whilst reading The Sign of the Four whilst on my way to a Sherlock event (whilst wearing my Baker Street button badge)—then it was on to Clapham Junction and the Picturehouse Cinema.

Actually, no. Before that it was on to Venn St. Records for cocktails. Then it was on to the screening.

To get the evening off to a stupendous start my companion was directed to the wrong seat and ended up sitting next to Mr Moffat himself. She offered a few words about the fact that her seat was reserved (for them) and tried very valiantly not to look like a stalker. When I called her I uttered a sentence I certainly hadn’t been expecting to at the start of the evening—”you do realise you’re sitting next to Steven Moffat, don’t you?”—before we were finally reunited (in the right seats). I am still worried that he thinks I was waving at him and not at my friend.

The episode they chose to screen was 1×03, The Great Game. I was a little surprised—I’d been expecting A Study In Pink (which I hadn’t watched for about two weeks to keep it fresh, a valiant but ultimately wasted sacrifice). I was nonetheless delighted because it’s my favourite (apart from, of course, episode one and episode two) and also because it’s the episode I can quote the best.

I was vaguely stunned and unembarrassed to learn that not only can I quote the dialogue, I can now anticipate it, in much the same way as a friend who is obsessed with Lord of the Rings can now understand the elvish without subtitles. “And domestic bliss must suit you, Molly, you’ve put on three pounds,” I whispered to my companion (who is not, fortunately, named Molly) before Benedict had a chance to recite his lines. “Do you really not know that the Earth goes around the sun?” I asked before Lestrade had even thought to. It seems all of our watchalongs had paid off; this show is burned into my brain.

The screening itself almost felt like seeing an old friend with whom you’ve had so many conversations that you can anticipate their thoughts. The Q&A was like an incredibly attractive stranger making your stomach do belly flops.

Robin Ince as the compere was a pleasant surprise and the fact that he seems to be friends with Gatiss and Moffat, as well as having an obvious affection for Sherlock itself, gave it the feeling of an informal chat between mates. The discussion ranged from Moriarty (and his reinvention as an excitable Irish psychopath) to keeping faithful to the canon and the relationship between Holmes and Watson (Sherlock and John in these modern, 21st century times). Steven Moffat was delightedly dour about being in charge of “the four most impressive cheekbones” in British television (Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith) and Mark Gatiss had so much joy for the canon of Sherlock Holmes that it was entirely infectious.

My companion even summoned the courage to ask a question herself (would they consider concentrating on mysteries that didn’t involve murder?), to which Mark Gatiss, who is now our favourite person in the entire world, gave a beautifully extended and in-depth answer. We sighed and swooned even as I was whispering “Mark Gatiss just spoke to you,” in barely controlled excitement.

If you, like my companion and I, had watched the DVD commentaries (more than once, yes) there were some repeated subjects, but the chance to see the two of them in person, to be physically witness to the love that they have for the subject, was easily worth a few snippets of repeated information, and every new revelation was just another reason to adore the show (besides, how many answers can you give to the same questions?).

An interesting seating arrangement meant that they were right by the door, so when everyone got up to leave they were rather inundated by people with paper and pens. For once in my life I was one of them, breaking my own rule (NO SIGNATURES). I was also for some reason incredibly overpolite–”Mark, would you mind terribly signing this for me if that’s okay, please?”–as though I was channelling Cumberbatch himself, who seems to be the politest man in the world. But I got my signatures and a chance to be stupidly polite to two of my absolute favourite writers, so a good experience all round, one would say.

My companion and I didn’t go to sleep until 5am, both for excitement and for the fact that as soon as we got home we put on the Sherlock DVD and watched A Study In Pink (which isn’t even the worst thing we’ve done—there was once a watch of the unaired pilot followed by a watch of A Study In Pink, which is essentially the same episode but with less weirdlynice!Sherlock and more Mycroft).

We’re still talking about it.

We will be for a while yet.