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Martin Freeman in 'Sherlock' (Pic: BBC)
Martin Freeman in 'Sherlock' (Pic: BBC)
Martin Freeman in ‘Sherlock’ (Pic: BBC)

There was a typically forthright interview with Martin Freeman in yesterday’s Independent, given primarily to promote his role in the chilling post-war drama The Eichmann Show, but which actually took place during the third day of shooting for the next episode of Sherlock. And you can really tell.

Revealing tidbits fly left and right, not least the fact that he “always likes finishing jobs, even when I enjoy them,” with the possible exception of his role as John Watson, and even that is primarily because there so much time around Sherlock commitments for him and co-star Benedict Cumberbatch to do other things.

“By American standards it’s nothing! Even by Downton [Abbey] standards it’s pretty short! It’s not eight months of our year, and it’s not every year. It’s so intermittent. That’s what for me makes it do-able. I don’t know about Ben but certainly for me it would soon lose a lot of its appeal if we were schlepping that around for eight months of the year, every year. A bit of the sheen would have gone off it.”

He also notes that it is incredibly hard to maintain focus on the job in hand when filming on location—”it’s like trying to act at a premiere”—because of the audience of dedicated and supportive Sherlock fans that follow the crew wherever they go:

“I wasn’t in the Beatles. But I’ve never seen anything like it. There’s such a heightened sense of excitement, so every time we come out there’s applauding – and it’s like, ‘No, can you n–’ Or, if we do anything – ‘Cut!’ – applause… It’s like, ‘No, this isn’t a gig…'”

Don’t think he’s not grateful for the support, mind you: “Of course you want to be gracious with it. And I obviously very much appreciate, as do we all, the fact that people love it. But also, yeah, it doesn’t make you doing your job any easier.”

And you get the sense that even if Sherlock were to finish, just as his role as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit movies came to a natural end, he’d be happy to move on: “I don’t miss anybody. That’s the question I was asked 40 times a day: ‘Do you miss Bilbo?’ ‘No, I don’t, because I’m not mentally ill.’ Well, I am, in many ways! But I’m not deluded – I don’t think he’s real, and I don’t think I am him.”

Read the full interview at the Independent.

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By Fraser McAlpine