Last night (Sunday 5th January) after dinner I sat down with the family to watch the second episode of the new Sherlock series, The Sign of Three, at 8.30pm.
On this occasion my intention was not to review it, but simply enjoy it for whatever it was. Whether that had a bearing on my reaction, I cannot say, but I enjoyed this episode far more than the opening one, despite it being as much comedy as murder-drama.
Of course, in large measure it was absurd tosh but then – as British television legend Bryan Cowgill once replied to a Thames Television colleague that had dismissed one of its own programmes as rubbish – “Yes, but it’s well-made rubbish … and you cannot get better television than that!”
However, on ‘factual inaccuracies’:
After the transmission of the first episode, the Twitter-sphere and media were awash with keen-eyed fans and viewers who delighted in trying to spot plot or factual ‘impossibilities’, e.g. the fact that Sherlock describes the travelling time between Westminster and St James’s Park tube stations as five minutes, when in fact – in real life – it is only two minutes.
I hope I’m not spoiling it for anyone who has recorded episode 2, or plans to watch it on BBC i-Player, but one of the intended ‘murder’ victims last night was a VC-decorated and badly disfigured Army officer whom I estimated was my age, i.e. in his sixties.
There were two ‘accuracy’ problems with this character.
The first is that, since WW2, there have been relatively few VC winners. To have been the age he is represented to be, this Army officer had to have won his VC in the 1982 Falklands campaign. The trouble with this is that only two soldiers, both of the Parachute Regiment, won VCs in the Falklands – Colonel ‘H’ Jones and Sergeant Ian McKay – and both did so posthumously.
The second is that, when the character is first introduced to the viewer, he is seen to have a badly-disfigured left hand side of the face and a gammy arm, with (again) a badly scarred – burned? – left hand. Later on, when ‘our boys’ have saved him from certain death, we see his left hand again as they congratulate each other … and it is not scarred at all.
I am just saying …