Martin Freeman: Sometimes even I don't understand Sherlock until I watch it on TV!

(Image credit: BBC/Hartswood Films/Robert Vigla)

Martin Freeman returns as Sherlock sidekick John Watson, but will becoming a new dad distract him, from helping solve a dark new case?

BBC1's hotly anticipated new three-part series of Sherlock starts with The Six Thatchers, a baffling new case for Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) that kicks off when a cabinet minister’s son is killed mysteriously.

A brand new villain, played by Toby Jones, will join the series later on, but from the very start of the first episode the Watson household will see much joy and big changes, as Martin Freeman revealed to What's On TV from the Sherlock set…

John and his wife Mary have a baby girl, Rosie, this series, so does the new arrival change things between him and Sherlock? “I guess it has to! It can’t change too much, but at the same time you have to be realistic. It’s about honouring the fact that John cares more about his missus and his baby than anything else, but without losing the fun and adventure of that central friendship between him and Sherlock.”

What kind of parents do John and Mary (played by Amanda Abbington) make? “They’re very loving parents and they’re excited about their new life. I suppose it’s a bit of a leap on for them. But life is full of dark and light and sometimes people have arguments, so there are still trials and tribulations!”

What does the new villain, played by Toby Jones, bring to the series? “Toby is ever so good. He’s a lot of fun! If it’s possible to be even more creepy than Moriarty then he certainly gives him a good run for his money. He’s’ pretty odious!”

Does that make for a darker series? “There is darkness in it, but one of the things that attracted me to Sherlock in the first place was that it had darkness. But as we get to know the characters the stakes are certainly much higher!”

How do you feel about the show’s incredible popularity? “I’ve never known fandom like it. But at the same time there will be people watching this series who have never seen it before, so it can’t be too baffling! Sometimes even I don’t fully understand the scripts until I’ve seen them broadcast, but I don’t think I’m the only thicko in the cast!”

*Sherlock: The Six Thatchers premieres on New Year's Day, 8.30pm, on BBC1

**Subsequent to this interview, Martin and wife Amanda Abbington announced they were splitting up amicably


Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.