When the BBC released a teaser image last year of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman dressed in period costume for the upcoming Sherlock special, there was widespread confusion among fans. What was Holmes doing in a top hat? And why was Watson sporting such a hipster-friendly mustache?
Showrunner Steven Moffat has now provided the answers, confirming that the pair are indeed set to go back in time (and aren’t simply dressing up).
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly at SXSW, Moffat revealed that the special would be set in Victorian London, the 19th-century setting of the original detective series written by Arthur Conan Doyle.
“The special is its own thing. We wouldn’t have done the story we’re doing, and the way we’re doing it, if we didn’t have this special,” Moffat said. “It’s not part of the run of three episodes…as we could hardly conceal—it’s Victorian.”
Moffatt added that he and series co-creator Mark Gatiss had wanted to do this story, but that it had to be a special to make it work outside the show’s usual setting. “It had to be a separate entity on its own,” he said. “It’s kind of in its own little bubble.”
The BBC hasn’t yet said when the Sherlock special will air.