Having starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the modern mystery series Sherlock for four seasons, Martin Freeman says that he just doesn't have fun making the show anymore - due to the fan pressure that comes with it.
Freeman may currently be riding on the success of his role as Everett Ross in Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, but let's not forget his huge part as John Watson in the BBC's reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes novels. Loosely adapting some of Arthur Conan Doyle's best-loved stories, Sherlock's 13 episodes have received critical acclaim and high hopes for a fifth season. However, rumors of strife between the lead actors are the least of the show's worries, as Freeman says he has lost his spark for Sherlock.
It may still be a hit for the BBC, but season 4 of Sherlock showed a slight dip in ratings and cast doubt on plans of a continuation. Speaking to The Telegraph, Freeman admits that the pressure of pleasing fans means that the show struggled under its own increasingly clever storylines:
“To be absolutely honest, it [was] kind of impossible. Sherlock became the animal that it became immediately. Whereas even with [the U.K. version of] The Office, it was a slow burn. But Sherlock was frankly notably high quality from the outset. And when you start [that high] it’s pretty hard to maintain that. Being in that show, it is a mini-Beatles thing. People’s expectations, some of it’s not fun anymore. It’s not a thing to be enjoyed, it’s a thing of: ‘You better f—ing do this, otherwise, you’re a c—.’ That’s not fun anymore.”
There was already a growing mountain of evidence that Sherlock might not be back, but Freeman has now gone and twisted the knife a little further as fans desperately look for clues of a fifth season:
"I think after series four [it] felt like a pause. I think we felt we’d done it for a bit now. And part of it, speaking for myself is [due to] the reception of it.”
Freeman had his breakthrough role playing Tim Canterbury on the UK version of The Office and has since gone on to have roles in the likes of Love Actually and The Hobbit. Now confirmed to reprise his role as Ross after the events of Black Panther, perhaps the star has just had enough of Sherlock's smaller scale compared to the Hollywood heights of the MCU. With Cumberbatch's role as Doctor Strange expected to get even bigger in Phase 4 and beyond, both men would struggle to find the time for another round of playing Holmes and Watson anyway.
That being said, Sherlock remains popular as creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have already teased more. Gatiss has said that season 5 is at least two years away, so who knows how Freeman will feel further down the line? However, if one of the main actors on a show has lost their love for a series, is there really any point in carrying on? The writing is on the wall, and with even the creators themselves pondering that it might be time to just leave it, Sherlock could be four seasons and out. If this the end of the road for the comedy casting of Cumberbatch and Freeman, at least the pair can look back at one of the best Sherlock Holmes adaptations out there and rest easy that the Sherlock is ending on a high instead of being milked for all it's worth.
Source: The Telegraph