The first two installments of the BBC/PBS Masterpiece Sherlock earned a total of 17 Emmy nominations and no wins. The drought ended in a big way this year with seven statuettes — the most of any program — four at the Creative Emmys last week and a whopping three tonight, for lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch, supporting actor Martin Freeman and writer Steven Moffat. Sherlock: His Last Vow‘s acting trophies were upsets, with Cumberbatch winning over Fargo‘s Billy Bob Thornton and Freeman, The Normal Heart‘s Mark Ruffalo, Luther‘s Idris Elba and Dancing On the Edge‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Sherlock crew likely didn’t expect the windfall as neither Cumberbatch nor Freeman were at the ceremony tonight. Sherlock co-creator Moffat backstage addressed the show team’s low exceptions against the completion that included HBO’s The Normal Heart. “I was shocked and surprised,” he said. “I was delighted we won four awards at the Creatives, but The Normal Heart is brilliant. I feel guilty about every award we took from them.” After failing to convert any Emmy nominations the last two times, the producers felt content. “We’ve won outside of America and we thought that phase was dying down,” Moffat said. “As shows get older, they don’t win as often. We’re delighted that we’ve made it here and hopefully this will get more people watching the show.”
The stylish reboot of the Conan Doyle classic has overtaken Downton Abbey as the ‘it’ British import. Downton Abbey’s tally this year was one trophy in hairstyling for a single-camera series. The big Emmy breakthrough follows Sherlock‘s rise in popularity. In the U.K., 9.2 million viewers tuned in to the BBC 1 premiere of Sherlock season 3, a series high. In the U.S., the third season premiere clocked an average audience of nearly 4 million viewers, also a franchise best and up from 3.2 million who’d watched the Season 2 launch.
Asked how he would top the highly rated and award-winning Season 3 with the fourth installment, Moffat exclaimed,“We have a plan to top season 3, and our plan is so devastating that our cast was reduced to tears. (Co-creator) Mark (Gatiss) and I are excited about what we have coming up. We’re a couple of fanboys.” Nailing down Cumberbatch and Freeman given their busy schedules is “quite tricky,” said Moffat, “It’s like corralling everyone in a cocktail party. We have to pitch (them) every year. But, we know what’s happening with Sherlock is unusual, so we’ll keep making Sherlock as long as it’s a good show.” As to when series 4 will go before the camera, Moffat revealed that it would be January at the same time that he’ll be working on Doctor Who. Three more episodes will be shot later in the year.
Anthony D’Alessandro contributed to this report.