Jonathan Creek Has Solved The Mystery Of ‘Sherlock’s Death Plunge

"Benedict! It's Martin. No I'm fine. So listen, Alan Davies says he's cracked it. You might as well come down..."

“Benedict! It’s Martin. Yeah I’m fine. So listen, Alan Davies says he’s cracked it. Yeah, trap door and everything. You might as well come down…”

See that headline? That headline is my favorite headline out of the many hundreds of headlines I’ve written over the years. Not only is there a fresh (and yet easy to grasp) thing every couple of words that drives the attention along, it ends on the word plunge, which you simply don’t see enough of these days.

AND it’s not as if the story disappoints either. Because this isn’t the tale of the TV detective Jonathan Creek (from the show Jonathan Creek) somehow barging into the next series of Sherlock and telling Watson his withering and brilliant friend is no longer dead. This is the tale of Alan Davies, the comedian and actor, the man from QI, telling the press that he has watched the TV show Sherlock, and he KNOWS how that deceptive tumble at the end of The Reichenbach Fall was achieved. And he knows because he used to be Jonathan Creek, from Jonathan Creek.

“I know how he got away with it, but I’m not telling you,” he told the Radio Times. “We did a similar thing in Jonathan Creek when someone jumped off a roof at a party – that’s all I’m saying.”

So of course, the hunt was then on to find the episode Alan was referring to and examine their cliffhanger, to see if it tallies up with Sherlock’s.

It turns out there’s a story called The Problem at Gallows Gate, in which a similar death plunge is faked using a trap door, covered in grass. This covers a net, into which the plummeting person falls, then the trap door goes over and a fake body is put out and no one is any the wiser.

Now, I don’t wish to openly critique his theory. John Watson did not see Sherlock hit the ground, and there’s a chance a similar net was put into use to catch him, and then a body could’ve been laid out (or thrown) on the pavement (which would explain, if you’ll forgive a disgusting aside, why the person who hit the ground from that height didn’t, y’know, spread out a bit, on impact).

But this is a London street we’re talking about. Digging a hole to put a trap door over takes time, and clearly turfing the door isn’t an option. And the character in Jonathan Creek jumped from a second story window, so hitting the hole would have been a lot easier than it would if they’d jumped from Sherlock’s rooftop. And if there was a net further up, in such a public setting, would someone not have seen it?

All I’m saying is it’s fine to use one TV detective to solve another’s mystery, but you do have to remember that both men are works of fiction, and Alan Davies has no greater understanding of the plot of Sherlock than you or I.

Stephen Fry, on the other hand, well that would be a different matter…

UPDATE: Mark Gatiss, Sherlock writer, has just tweeted this:

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

See more posts by Fraser McAlpine