Sherlock 10th Anniversary: Behind the Scenes Set Secrets


There are a few little Easter Eggs in there. If you look at the floor and markings on the wall, there are scratchings on the floor where the toilet and the shower would slide out. If you look at the table and the bed, they look like they can slide back into the wall. The idea is that if they wanted to, they could just leave her in a completely empty space and that she would never have to leave it. The round grate on the ceiling echoes the bottom of the well [where Eurus put John and ‘Redbeard’] but also the depths of the island. She was right at the bottom, on the bottom layer, the most secure. We played with the idea at one point of making it feel like it was underwater and there was an element of that in some of the lighting.

I was obviously looking at a lot of reference from Bond movies. That was a real nod to [Bond designer] Ken Adams, because he’d passed away that year sadly.

Magnussen’s Mind Palace

Sherlock Magnussen mind palace His Last Vow

There’s a book [Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss] would reference all about helping your memory and it’s to do with associating things with particular memories. The weirder the thing you associate, the easier it is to remember it. So they told me to find weird and wonderful things! We had a fiberglass baby hippo in a dog bed in one corner, a rabbit pulling something out of a hat, rather than the other way around, a tree draped with gloves.

There was all manner of things on top of every corner of these ‘corridors of information’, including a painting of me at the end of one of them, which I don’t think you really saw. When we were doing The Sarah Jane Adventures years ago, we had a haunted house and there were things falling off the walls. We couldn’t let a hired painting fall in case of damages so I got one of the scenic artists to paint me as Rembrandt. That’s the one we knocked off the wall, so I had it, so I just put it in there as an extra bit of weirdness!

John’s Pilot Bedsit

Sherlock unaired pilot - John's bedsit set
Credit: Arwel W Jones

That was my favourite set from the unaired pilot. We were in the Coal Exchange in Cardiff that we were using downstairs for the therapist’s room and there was this little pokey room on the top floor. In the room next door they had that proper 1970s Sapele cladding, so I ripped that off one room and clad it around the one side. The tones of the bed covers and that Sapele and the lighting, it just felt like a miserable place, even though it had its own aesthetic.


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