Q: Hello Mr. Gatiss, welcome to Reddit! I’d like to ask, what are the biggest challenges or difficulties you face when writing for Sherlock as opposed to Doctor Who…and vice versa? Also, including your latest, of which of your Doctor Who episodes are you most proud? I really loved the simplicity and creepy unease of Night Terrors.
A: Mmm, that’s a long question. Well, Sherlock is… to a greater or lesser extent, in the real world. Doctor Who is not. So it’s harder to get out of a Sherlock mystery without having to use Daleks or spaceships.
Em… probably The Crimson Horror, which is the most like me, I think.
Q: How could you and the folks at BBC be so mean and suggest so many different theories on the Fall in ONE DAMN EPISODE?
A: Em… because we are mean. Hahaha! Because we are mean. And secretly, you love it.
Q: Welcome, Mark. You’re about to be snowed in for the weekend. Here’s a tenner – what do you buy from The Local Shop?!
A: Oh! Special stuff.
Q: Hello Mark! Thanks so much for being an inspiration to many of us!
What I wanted to know is, what was the best part about working on An Adventure in Space and Time?
Can you share any fun anecdotes?
A: Well, it was something I’d wanted to do for 13 years, since I first came up with the idea and started to work on it, so it was a very long-held ambition to do it. And it was kind of blessed from the beginning, really…
David Bradley was amazing to work with, and we had an amazing cast and crew. And the original members of the Doctor Who team were incredibly helpful and kind.
So I think, probably, the best part about it was seeing the Tardis re-created, the original Tardis, and seeing David on it, it was very very moving indeed.
Q: Hey Mark! Firstly I just wanted to say that you’re a breath of fresh air, the epitome of Mr.Sex, and quite possibly one of the greatest writers on the face of the Earth. But I just wanted to ask you…
Will you ever come to Australia? AND IF YOU DO – You have to be anointed with an Aussie nickname. Do you want ‘Mazza’ or Gatizzle?’ I personally think ‘Mazza Gatazza’ is suitable.
A: Did I write that? Hahaha… that’s my own question to myself, I think. Let’s see. I’d love to come to Australia, I’ve never been. But I certainly plan to at some stage. The only nickname I will accept, however, is… Sir.
Q: What was the process for coming up with a surreal place such as Roysten Vasey?
What Sherlock Holmes stories, or elements of, would you still like to adapt for Sherlock. Cheers!
A: Roysten Vasey was inspired by the Northern upbringings of myself and the rest of the League of Gentlemen. It’s not one place in particular. It is a North of the Mind.
Em… I’d love to do The Red-Headed League for Sherlock! One of these days…
Q: Heyho there. I love your novels and your writing. Anyway. How/where did you meet Steven Moffat? And if I’m not being too rude, how did that grow into the writing partnership and strong friendship that you have today? And of course, thanks 🙂
A: Steve and I met at a party about… twenty years ago? And we used to get drunk, and try and pitch bringing back Doctor Who to any BBC executive we could find in the room.
That was the basis of our friendship from the beginning! And then we discovered we also love Sherlock Holmes, and the rest is infamy!
Q: What was your favourite moment in Sherlock? And Doctor Who?
A: Favourite moment to film was probably the scene with Martin in the cafe at the end of Scandal in Belgravia. The scene was originally interrupted by the London Riots, but when we came to do it, to finish it off, it was a very touching and affecting scene, I think.
And…tschtschtsch… Doctor Who, I’ve obviously got millions of memories from watching it all these years, but in terms of doing it, it was probably getting the first phone call from Russell T. Davis asking me to write for the programme.
Q: Hey Mark! I love the work you have done on Sherlock! What was it like to be on Game of Thrones?
A: Delightful! A great honour. And very nice to be with such lovely people. And Dan and David, who are the show runners, were hugely welcoming, and it’s very nice to guest on somebody else’s show like that.
People ask me the most detailed questions about which house is which, and everything, and I’m afraid I don’t know.
Q: Hi Mark! What do you enjoy more about Sherlock, writing it or acting in it? What would Mycroft do if it was raining heavily but also really windy and his umbrella broke? I also saw you in Coriolanus and thought you were excellent, are you planning to be on stage again anytime soon? I would love to see you perform again.
A: I love doing both. The writing is very satisfying, because it takes an awfully long time, and it’s great to see something come to life. But I also love playing Mycroft, and it’s lovely to hang out with the rest of the cast. That’s a very special umbrella. Never breaks. Not soon but hopefully sometime next year. And thank you.
Q: I really liked your Doctor Who Confidential for Victory of the Daleks, with your funny historical tour of the building from the story. Have you considered doing something like a companion series to Doctor Who that explores the real background people, places, and things from episodes of Who? I think there would be a broad audience for that sort of thing, and it would be a great way to educate the masses, which is always a good thing, right? 🙂
A: Yes it is! But I don’t think anyone has the time or the money to do a program like that, I’m afraid. I think it’s better to smuggle things like that into the programme, and people will hopefully do their own research and visit places like the Churchill War Rooms themselves.
Q: Which actor who played The Doctor would you most like to see guest star on an episode of Sherlock? (can include Robert Picardo).
If you knew you were writing an episode of Doctor Who for Benedict Cumberbatch to appear in, would he be the villain or on the side of The Doctor? How about Martin Freeman?
A: Haha! Em… oh, I don’t know. Well Peter Davison has an uncredited cameo on Sherlock! He was the voice of the Planetarium in the Great Game! Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know, I have to think… whichever one of them gives me the most money.
Em… taps… well, Benedict is very good at playing goodies and baddies, and he’d probably prefer to play the baddie wouldn’t he? So just to make him suffer, I think I’d make him, possibly, dressed in a giant mouse costume. Just so no one knew it was him! Maybe he’s already been in it, hahaha!
Oh! Martin, he’d love to be a baddie in Doctor Who. Maybe he could be Davros. So he could sit down, and he loves to sit down, so he’d have a wheelchair and be quite pleased about that.
Q: With digital media platforms like Netflix becoming increasingly popular, what effect do you think they will have on the future of television? What’s your favourite food?
A: Ehm – I think we’re living in a fascinating new age for broadcasting. People are watching TV and movies in an entirely new way. And I think the age of overnight ratings, etcetera, is over. Also, people are able to send their programmes directly to the consumer, who can watch 13 episodes in one day if they so please. It’s slightly alarming, but very exciting. And I think we’re on the cusp of a huge change in the way television is made. Favourite food? God! Um… that’s a very good question. I never eat. Haha! No, put “ghosts.”
Q: Hi Mark, loved most of your work so far, and was lucky enough to meet you at the TV BAFTAs in 2012, I have a few questions.
What has been your favourite adaption to work on to date?
What would you like to adapt to screen that you haven’t already?
Can we expect more work like The Tractate Middoth from you in future?
Anything of your own work that we’ll be seeing on television in the near future?
A: MOST?! That is the internet! That is the internet in a nutshell! Loved “most” of your work. Brilliant, really.
Probably the first Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells.
Em – Stay tuned… This is building up into something, isn’t it?
I very much hope so! I was hoping to do another ghost story for this Christmas, but I’m afraid it hasn’t happened. But I’d certainly like to do more ghost stories.
Yes, Doctor Who, TOMORROW! Robot of Sherwood!
Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing you can tell us about Steven Moffat?
A: Most embarrassing thing… em… he’s half-English on his mother’s side!
Q: Hi Mr. Gatiss. Can you please tell us how you manage to get so much writing done? Because you really are involved in an amazing number of great projects. Also, can you say whether or when you gave up doing ordinary chores? Thanks for all the great books/TV and everything.
A: Well, I work very hard. Haha! And I’m looking around my house now and thinking up I may have given up on domestic chores, yes.
Q: Hi! What do you think Mycroft’s guilty pleasure is? (Other than cake, of course.)
A: I don’t know what you’re talking about, in relation to cake. His guilty pleasure is… hmmm… is telling criminals that they’ve served their time, and then changing his mind and putting them back in prison for the rest of their lives!
Q: Hi Mark (and Victoria)! Looking forward to your new episode tomorrow. And congratulations on the Emmys! I was wondering: what is your favorite book?
Also, could you give us a little insight into your writing process?
Do you just sit down and write it all out at once? A little bit at a time? A mix? I’d love to know! Thanks so much!
A: My favourite book is Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. And my writing process is – I tend to do my best when I’m spending an entire day focused on it. Rather than doing little bits at a time. I find that works best. And sometimes, when I’m in the zone, there’s nothing like it.
I can’t write with music or anything like that, and if I’m interrupted, it sort of breaks the data, so I need to sink into it, really.
Q: What is your favourite (doesn’t have to be your own) Doctor Who episode and why?
A: Ehm – Oooh, difficult! Changes all the time, I think. But probably my favourite from the old series is The Green Death. And from the new series, probably…tshtshtsh… probably The Empty Child, I think.
Q: I’m new to the Gatiss fan club, becoming obsessed with Sherlock!
Anyways, considering how long it takes for many of your projects to come to fruition, what do you want your life to be in 5 years? What projects would you like to be working on?
What would make you look back on the next 5 years and say, “Wow, I’m awesome”?
A: Ha! Well, actually, most of my projects happen very quickly, that’s the great thing about working on Sherlock and Doctor Who, they’re all sort of happening quite swiftly, so we’d all love to carry on with Sherlock, I’d love to continue Doctor Who, so I’m very happy, actually.
In 5 years’ time, I’ve got a few things on the boil that may or may not work out, but if I’m still doing Sherlock and Doctor Who in 5 years, I’ll be very pleased.
Q: Hello Mark! How do you deal with stressful deadlines?
A: I ignore them.
Q: Hello!! I absolutely adore Sherlock and Doctor Who but, what I really love is League Of Gentlemen. I just love you as Val, any chances of a reunion episode in the future? 🙂
A: Well, oddly enough, we are all having a lunch, indeed, next month, because I’ve had the idea for something. It’ll be a long way off, I think, but it would be a good project for us all to do, I think, so we’ll have a talk about possibly doing something in the future.
Q: Many folks from Tumblr sent in some flowers to Hartswood after the Emmys. Have you by chance gotten them yet?! 🙂
A: Oh, I don’t know! Thank you very much. I’m not at Hartswood offices, so I haven’t a clue. I’ll find out.
Q: If time was no object & you could return to only one League of Gentlemen character which one in your eyes still has legs? Owen Fallowfield was a joy BTW.
A: Hahah! Thank you very much. Um… probably Mickey. Mickey’s my favourite character from the League. There’s always room for an idiot. And he’s got good legs, they’re mine.
Q: What’s a good way to relax?
A: Well… Running, actually! I find running very relaxing. It’s strenuous, but you can zone out everything else. Basically, sheer physical labor is very good for the soul, and it helps you sleep.
Q: Favorite band/type of music and what’s a show you would like to work on be it cancelled finished or running?
A: Well, I’ve kind of – I’m forty-seven years old, so I’m hopelessly out of touch with anything happening now, and that’s how it should be.
So most of my favourites are things from when I was a teen-ager really, I’m very fond of early 80’s electronic music, The Smiths, a lot of things from when I was about 16 years old, those are my favourites.
I like a lot of classical music, and Rufus Wainwright, he’s a friend of mine and a genius I think, and i love to listen to his music.
I like Jake Bugg. I bought his album originally because he’s so pretty and then I found that I liked the music as well!
Q: Will you make us cry with the new episodes of Sherlock?
A: It depends on how sentimental you are…
Q: Hi Mark! What advice do you have for writers hoping to break into television?
A: GET BACK! IT’S MINE!
Q: What’s the weirdest thing about you?
A: Oh god. Well, you’d have to ask somebody else that, wouldn’t you? Other people might think I’m weird. I don’t thinK I’m weird. I used to have a very unhealthy preoccupation with death, but that’s sort of the morbid teen-ager in me. I don’t really have it anymore. I’m very squeamish these days. I once went on a tour of European graveyards, very goth. But the older I get, the further i want to sleep from the cemetery. That was probably quite weird, but that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re young really? Wear big coats and look gloomy all the time. I had a lovely fringe though, in those days, when I had hair. I miss that.
Q: Who’s the greater evil: Moriarty or the Daleks?
A: Well, I should say the Daleks, because they operate on an inter-galactic scale, whereas Moriarty’s ambitions are a bit more to scale. But you put Moriarty inside a Dalek… if he were small enough to fit…
Q: Good morning Mark. I love what you’ve done with Sherlock and Dr. Who. Your wit amazes me. Is there another childhood story or show you would love to refresh?
A: Not really, no. I don’t really want to do old things; I want to do new things. The problem is it’s very hard to convince people to do new things, because if you have an existing brand or story, then half the battle is won because people know what it is. I’m very proud and happy to have been associated with Doctor Who and bringing back Sherlock in its current form, but in terms of other projects, I’d like to do new things, but it’s difficult to get them off the ground. There are stories and things I’d like to adapt, but not because they’ve been done before, but because they are favourites, really. Stay tuned.
Q: How much Mycroft is in you and how much Mark is in Mycroft? If any, what are the similarities?
A: I look like him. That’s a big similarity. Not a lot. I wish I was a millionth as clever as he is. I hope I’m a lot warmer, as a person, than he is. So not a lot, really. He has more hair than me, doesn’t he, at the moment, but that’s another story! In the original stories, Mycroft is very fat, so we’ve given him an ongoing paranoia about his weight, so I did a scene where I ran on a treadmill last year, and I’ve subsequently taken up running, which I enjoy tremendously. So there is that.
Q: Is there a certain environment you need to write or can you write anywhere?
A: No, you definitely have to have a certain environment. Steven often talks about “sanctifying places” and that’s very true – there are certain hotel rooms and things where you’ve written before, where you feel you can go back to. I know Steven goes back to certain holiday destinations because he’s written there successfully before. For myself, I need complete quiet and no distractions. I write in a room at the top of a house, there’s no telephone or anything, because it’s the only way I can concentrate.
Q: Can I have your legs pretty please with glitter and rainbows and sugar on top…?
A: I’m afraid not. I’m using them. I will, however, cast them in resin and send you a copy.
Q: How long did it take you to grow that wonderful beard for Game of Thrones?
A: Not very long. About 3 weeks. I’m very hirsute. And I actually grew it a while ago, and then I was cutting it down to go on television, and accidentally shaved too much off, so I had to take the whole thing off and start again. But it only takes about 2, 3 weeks. Shaving the rest of my face is a difficult task, because it grows and covers the whole of my face!
Q: What is your favorite Horror film?
A: Well, I’ve got hundreds of favourites.
Today I will say that my favourite is… today my favourite is SON OF FRANKENSTEIN.
Q: Good evening. Japan is midnight. How was your trip to Japan?
A: It was absolutely amazing! It’s the most incredible country I’ve ever visited. I loved everything about it, especially the people, who were unfailingly courteous, kind, and friendly. It’s an amazing country and I can’t wait to go back.
Q: First word that pops into your head?
A: Now? Em… Paradise.
Q: Hello, Mark, and thank you for taking the time to do this AmA. Looking to forward to Robot of Sherwood tomorrow! My question is about your writing for Doctor Who. All your episodes so far are set in the past, on Earth.
Is that your preference, or your brief, from Russell T Davies and then Steven Moffat?
I envisage that you have a secret drawer of story ideas set in the future on other planets, waiting to unleash on us in the future!
A: Hmm. They’ve all been set in the past except for Night Terrors which was set in the present-day.
But yes, I do have a preference for historical stories. But I would love to do one set in the future.
Q: Mr Gatiss, welcome to Reddit! I was wondering what was the craziest fan encounter you have had? And what project of yours were they a fan of?
A: The craziest encounter? This one.
Hahaha! Eh – well – it’s hard to answer this without sounding unfair, because people are generally very nice and sweet and well-meaning. I’ve had some strange things given to me over the years, that’s all I’ll say.
Q: A tree falls in the middle of the forest. Is Benedict Cumberbatch still sexy?
A: Haha! Ask the tree!
Q: Important question. You have been sentenced to death for a crime you did not commit. What would you choose as your final meal?
A: Have I?!??!
No one told me!!!
Beans on toast.
Q: Can you please tell us how you manage to get so much writing done? Because you really are involved in an amazing number of great projects. Also, can you say whether or when you gave up doing ordinary chores?
A: Well, I work very hard. Haha! And I’m looking around my house now and thinking up I may have given up on domestic chores, yes.
Q: How would you react if you woke up one morning and your hands and feet had turned into cat paws?
A: Well, I’d either assume I was in the middle of an unfinished Franz Kafka novel, or that I was halfway through changing into a giant cat, probably! I shouldn’t think I would be calm, though.
Q: Do you have any shows that you prefer on BBC channels abroad (ie: BBC America) over the main British BBC?
A: No, because they’ve got adverts! I watched Deep Breath in New York and it was about five and a half hours long.
Q: The question is, what did you have for breakfast today?
A: I had.. um… I had… muesli with figs. I love figs! I love figs. OBSESSED with figs.
Q: What is your favourite Shakespeare play, Mr Gatiss?
A: Richard the Second.
Q: What’s are your plans for today?
A: Well, I’m doing this for the rest of my life, and then I’m going back to writing Sherlock, which I’ve been doing all morning.
Q: Google estimates your height at 6’1”/1.85m. Is that how tall you feel you are with or without shoes? Also, you’re fantastic.
A: Hm. That’s how tall I am without shoes, yes. Six foot one.
Q: Marmite or Nutella?
Q: Do you have a favourite era?
If so, what is it? Mine is the Victorian Era for the record 🙂
A: Yes, I like the Edwardian Era best.
Well, from my stories, ehmmm… I would say probably… they’re never very glamorous, I’m afraid. From the Unquiet Dead, when we filmed in the theater with Charles Dickens, in Cardiff. And the street scenes with the snow.
And I remember Russell saying a particularly poignant thing – “I used to walk home from school on this street, and pretend the TARDIS was at the end of the street. And now it is.” And he pointed to it.
Q: Hello Mr. Gatiss! You are a great inspiration and your support of LGBTQA movements means a lot. I’m just curious if you plan on including anymore cannon LGBTQA+ characters in any of the shows you write for, such as Doctor Who and Sherlock? Are there any plans you might already have for the shows that you can give us hints to? Thanks for all your hard work!
A: Well in terms of Canonical characters, not quite sure what you mean? I’m proud and happy to support and promote LGBTQA rights wherever I can. But I don’t want programmes I am associated with to have to bear the weight of too much expectation or responsibility. I think the real victory will come when characters can be incidentally gay without it having to become the focus of the storyline or of the audience’s attention.
Q: Favourite cheese?
Q: Why won’t Sherlock get a haircut??
A: Why should he? Maybe he likes his hair like that! Actually, in the 2 years between series, he shaved it all off, and it grew back just in time for the new show!
Q: If you could have two super powers what would they be?
A: Flying and eternal life.
Q: What do you love most about the new Doctor?
A: I love his unpredictability: his slightly inhuman quality: I love his skinniness, his big hands, his mad eyes, and his charm. And the fact that he is Peter Capaldi.
Q: How do you keep your legs so beautiful?
A: Well, I like my legs today! I’m happy to comment on them. Yes, running.
Q: Hello Mr. Gatiss! There is a large possibility that you won’t see this comment, but oh well. First of all, I would like to say that you are an incredible actor and writer and that your portrayal of Mycroft undoubtedly sealed the deal for me when I started watching Sherlock.
Secondly, I was wondering if you have any advice for aspiring writers? I know that you might be too busy answering all the other awesome questions but as a teenager who loves writing (but is nonetheless lazy and never finishes any of her works), do you have any advice for getting inspiration and how to overcome writer’s block?
Lastly, you are a very cool human being in general.
That is all.
Have a lovely day 🙂
Thank you very much.
A: My advice to you is: don’t be lazy. And stick at it. There’s no such thing as a would-be writer. If you want to write, pick up your pen and write. Or keyboard. That’s it. Good luck!
Q: Do you personally find the Daleks or the Weeping Angels to be scarier? And will there be any new Who monsters scarier than either of those?
A: I’ve always loved the Daleks, I’ve never found them particularly scary. I think the Weeping Angels were terrifying. I always found the Cybermen were my favorites. And they always scared me a lot. I hope there will be lots of new monsters coming to rival them for scariness.
Q: Hello, Mr Gatiss! I wanted to ask, as a massive fan of The League of Gentlemen, did you ever think that it wouldn’t catch on due to its dark plot and obscure humour? And did you ever expect the cult following that it developed? Thank you.
A: Well, we never set out with a kind of mission statement. We just did the comedy that made us laugh. So when we started, we started live as a stage act, and then obviously we were aware that people who were coming to see it seemed to like it. And then we won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh festival in 1997, which gave us confidence that the radio series and the television series would be popular. But you could never tell. We couldn’t tell it was going to go on and be as successful as it was.
Q: I’m hosting a dinner party; how is special stuff best prepared and served?
A: Raw. With basil on it.
Q: Can you tell us about Wolf Hall? Absolutely adore the novel can’t wait for the series
A: Well, that’s what it is! It’s an adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s winning novels. And I play Stephen Gardiner in it, who is Thomas Cromwell’s arch-enemy. I had a lovely time making it over the summer. But I just sort of popped in and out over a period of many many many weeks. Mark Rylance (who plays Cromwell) is extraordinary, and he was in almost every day of the shoot. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to see it.
Q: Hello Mark! I absolutley loved your “A History of Horror” series on the BBC a couple of years ago, and I know you are a huge fan of the genre yourself (friday night is horror night, after all).
As a fellow Northerner, I wanted to ask if you felt there was something about the region which makes it the perfect place for horror. What with Dracula and Whitby, the bloody history of York, and the wealth of ghost stories all across the region. Is there something inherently spooky about the North?
A: Yes, I think there is. I used to get annoyed with people who talked about the North / South divide, but the older I get, the more I think the North is very different.
It’s definitely darker, in every respect. And I think there’s something in the soil, in the water, which gives people a different aspect.
I don’t think it’s an accident Dracula chose to come to Whitby.
Q: What do you think is the most interesting difference between British and American fans and you you’ve experienced them?
A: When I was in San Diego for Comic-Con, I was overwhelmed at how positive American fans are. British fans are, for the large part, very positive too, but I was very impressed and I was touched by how sunny and positive American fans are.
Q: Since loads of people are asking about your life’s work, I just want to ask about your life, if you’re willing to share. How do you take your tea or coffee? What’s your favorite breed of dog? Also, what’s it like to write Mycroft and also be Mycroft? Is there a method to get into character? Do you set yourself up for difficult lines or things to do? I already know you like to torture Benedict with long monologues.
A: I take my tea white, with no sugar, strong. I only drink decaffeinated coffee, after getting heart palpitations during the shooting of Sherlock, and discovering I was drinking far too much coffee.
My favourite breed of dog is Labrador. I have one.
Ehm – well, sometimes if I’m writing an episode, I try not to put myself in it, and get persuaded to do so. but it depends really. It’s very useful, because I can change the lines on the set without having to ask anyone’s permission, which is very good!
And, hem, yea, it’s nice to do both. Sometimes it’s equally nice to just perform it knowing it’s someone else’s words.
It’s difficult with Sherlock as I’m there almost the whole time, and I have to go from behind the camera, to go and get changed, to go to the producer’s chair so sometimes it’s nice to have a clear division and then other times it’s nice to go between the two.
Q: What’s the weirdest thing that you have ever done/that’s happened to you?
A: Well, I once spent a summer in a haunted house. In Leeds.
That was a very – I mean, I was very skeptical because I’ve always wanted to see a ghost, and I thought it wouldn’t really happen to me. I was raying in a friend’s room while he was away for the summer holidays, and it was just me, just me in a four-story Victorian house, in the attic room. And all kinds of odd little things started to happen. There was a very strong smell of tobacco smoke. The atmosphere was sort of charged, like a room had been full of people. And then one night I woke up and all the lights was on. And it was the middle of summer, and it was so cold, I could see my breath in the air.
The next day I rang him up, and we were just generally chatting, and it was obviously something in my voice, and he said “are you okay?” and I said “I just didn’t sleep very well’
And there was a pause, and he said “Did you see it yet?”
And there was a pause, and I said “What do you mean?” and he said “I think it’s haunted,” and I said “Well, I think so too.”
Well, when he came back, we started asking around, people had lived in the house before. And all, separately, had said that room had a strange effect on them. And after I moved to Bristol, my friend Roger continued living there, and he had someone ‘round whom everybody said was a bit psychic (funny story this) and he hadn’t filled them in at all.
And then after dinner, this friend excused himself and said “May I have a look round the house?” So he went up to the top of the house, he came back about 10 minutes later, and he asked if anything odd had happened there. And Roger kind of skirted around it, saying maybe. And this guy said that something happened in that room atop the house.
He said there was someone waiting on the threshold of the room. And they’re still there.
I haven’t been back there. It’s 97 Archery Road, in Leeds. I wonder if there’s somebody in that room now? Let’s find out.
Q: Hi Mark! Huge fan of your work! Also, I love the idea of you and Steven getting drunk together early on in your friendship and trying to pitch bringing Doctor Who back to BBC executives…
But now I’m curious: what’s your drink of choice?
A: oooh! Well, actually, you know, your tastes change as you get older. I’m very fond of bitter now. I never could stand it, but I quite like it now. So I like Bitter now. It’s a beer. And I’ve always had a soft spot for Guinness, I have to say.
Q: You and Steven Moffat are such an amazing team. Thank you for the best shows on tv right now. Do you ever come to the States? Also, what is your favorite kind of tea?
A: I’ve just been to the United States, I’ve just been to New York and Los Angeles, and I had a wonderful time, as I always do! My favourite kind of tea is… strong traditional tea. If I’m feeling fancy, I would say, probably Lapsang souchong. If I’m feeling fancy.
Q: Which Sherlock episode was the hardest to write?
A: The Hounds of Baskerville.
Q: So, have you read Game of Thrones? Are you a fan of the series?
A: I haven’t read it, I’m afraid, no. But I am a fan of the series.
Q: Thanks so much for being here! Any chance you’ll get in front of the camera for Doctor Who?
A: Well, I’ve been in Doctor Who twice. So it might look a bit greedy if I did it again! But i’d be very happy to, if anybody asked.
Q: Is there a doctor or companion that you particularly enjoyed writing for?
A: I’ve enjoyed them all, I mean, they all presented a different challenge. I think I ended up writing four stories for Matt Smith, and I think I’m probably particularly fond of that partnership, except I suppose it was different each time, so it’s a politician’s answer, but I’m always looking forward to the next one – I did enjoy writing for Peter and Jenna, because I think Clara is particularly interesting this year, and I’ve always found it interesting when a Companion carries over Doctors, because you see the new Doctor through their eyes and you also see the Companion in a new light.
Q: I sent you a rude tweet last year, just wanted to say I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?
A: It depends what you said!
Hahaha! That means you’d have to tweet it again, and I’d get offended again.
Q: Have you ever considered running for political office?
A: Never. I have a lot of opinions, like everybody else, about politicos, but I’ve always resisted appearing on programs like Question Time, etcetera, because I know I’d be hopelessly out of my depth, and a lot of times when people appear on those programmes, they end up sounding exactly like what they are – a man in a pub with opinions.
Q: Ow do Mr Gatiss. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: Meeting and marrying my husband.
Q: Hello Mr. Gatiss, can’t wait for Robot of Sherwood tomorrow!
How did you feel when Sherlock won 7 Emmys?
What exactly was Hilary Briss selling? What is the ‘secret stuff’?
Thanks, and stay Local!
A: Well, we’re all delighted, a little overwhelmed, because we came 2 years ago and had 13 nominations and didn’t win anything – well we won 4 the week before in the Creative Emmys, so we thought our odds were better, but the fact that we won the most of any show overall was a great shock, so I have to say we were thrilled, I must say.
Special stuff. If you said that, you got it wrong. Well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? I’m still not telling after all these years.
Q: How do you connect the dots when you write a mystery, and what was the best advice you’ve ever received in regards to writing?
A: Writing mysteries is very hard. The best thing to do is start at the end and write backwards. That’s what Agatha Christie did, that’s what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did. It’s a bit like reverse archeology.
And the best advice I got was reading an interview with Douglass Adams, and he said that when he was at university, he had a group of about 10 friends who wanted to be writers, and he said that all of them decided to “got another job” in the meantime. And he endured years of poverty while getting started to write, and his friends who all got other jobs never wrote a word… So I think it’s worth just persevering.
Q: This is a local subreddit for local people. Are you local?
A: Of course I am.
Q: Have your vision and goals for Sherlock changed since season 1?
A: Not really. We’re basically just making the show we want to make. obviously, its huge global popularity is difficult to ignore, not that we want to ignore it, but the important thing is that we keep telling the stories we want to tell and growing the characters in new and interesting ways.
Q: What’s inspired the Robin Hood DW ep? Is it to further the ‘Men in Tights on TV’ agenda you’ve been pushing since TSOT?
A: As someone called ‘Em’, your use of ‘em’ as linguistic filler makes it seems as if all your comments are sort of reproachfully directed at me. My favourite so far is, “Em… because we are mean.”
Yes! It is. Plus Steven just asked me to do the Robin Hood Doctor Who episode.
Q: I could ask this to anyone but hell, you’re on here so why not. I’m heading to the UK this year, and apparently your winter is a bit of a burden. On average, how many layers does the average UK’ian wear in December? I am scared.
A: Never an undershirt, but then, one of the stranger things about visiting America is seeing people wearing undershirts when it’s blazing hot, I find it so strange. It depends on how sensitive you are, I’m afraid. London is rarely that cold, it tends to retain its warmth, so I think you’ll be ok with a shirt, a jumper, a coat, scarf, and gloves. Helmet… Iron lung… bustle coat… and furs. You’ll be fine.
Q: Would you rather travel through time or space? And why?
A: MMMM. That’s a good question.
I’d say… probably time, yes. And I’d go into the future. When I was a kid, I was always fascinated with history, so I would have always said the past. But I’d like to see the future now, to see if we make it, and to see what might happen in the future. That’s what I would like to do.
Q: Mr. Gatiss! Which League of Gentleman character was the most fun to play? Thanks x
A: Well, Mickey, as I’ve said, actually. It was based on a real person, unbelievably, but it’s always great to have that amount of fun with makeup and you know, the teeth and wig and everything. It’s a rare privilege, really, to be able to disguise yourself that much, and have that much fun with it. He was always my favourite to do.