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Watson’s impressive mustache isn’t the only change viewers will notice in the upcoming Sherlock special.
“Sherlock is a little more polished, he operates like a Victorian gentlemen instead of like a posh, rude man,” executive producer Steven Moffat said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Saturday. “He’s a lot less brattish when he’s back then and Doctor Watson is a bit more upright.”
The special, for which footage was unveiled at Comic-Con last month, will be a stand-alone set in Victorian times. Moffat offered a cheeky response when asked how the decision came to change periods to when the original books take place. “Just because we can,” he said. “It’s a mistake we’ve been a long time rectifying.”
Moffat offered one more (minor) tease about what to expect. “Ghost stories work better in a Victorian setting,” he said. “Other than that it’s remarkably similar.”
Looking ahead beyond the special, Moffat said the fourth season will go into production in the spring and said that the new season will return to present time. Said Moffat with a laugh, “[We’ll] go back to doing Sherlock normally next year unless I’m lying or we change our minds.”
However, the big question on fans’ minds is just when they’ll get to watch the special. PBS has yet to announce a premiere date for the special — which, despite earlier reports, Moffat said is not a Christmas special — because the BBC has yet to announce a premiere date.
“We are in very close touch with the BBC,” said Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of Masterpiece on PBS, Sherlock‘s stateside home. “We are trying hard not to frustrate the fans.”
Speaking of the BBC, Moffat did not hold back when asked about the possible BBC policy change that could affect the availability of Britain’s globally beloved series like Sherlock.
Instead of having British households pay an annual license fee for free TV, the U.K.’s new Conservative-ruled British government declared last month that the BBC would soon have to foot the bill for those fees as part of ongoing “savings.” That tab is expected to exceed $1.15 billion by 2020.
“They must have something more important to do,” Moffat said of the government. “The BBC has been a beacon and an icon, and to damage that for temporary political gain is vandalism of the worst kind.”
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