BBC’s Sherlock New Year’s Day special
|Over 8.4 million people tuned in on New Year’s Day to watch The Abominable Bride when Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr Watson (Martin Freeman) investigated another case.
In this one-off special, there was a particular scene where Sherlock and Watson use BSL to communicate to deaf actor Tim Barlow who works as a character actor in TV and film productions. Jill Hipson, who is also deaf and a BSL teacher, went to both Benedict and Martin’s houses to help them learn their sign language lines – and even got to join them on set.
Jill shared her experiences in an interview with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People: “The BSL scene is a very short one, but it took five hours to film. I thought they’d set up cameras at different angles but they filmed it over and over again from different points to get close-ups of the actors’ faces and hands. It was an education in itself watching the actors performing the same scene again and again, trying to get everything the same each time. When they’d finished filming the stars from all angles, they stripped the set and turned the camera round to film my friend Tim from the front. It was very interesting working with actors. Facial expressions are very important in BSL as they replace tones of voice. Most people loathe role-play in BSL classes but actors aren’t afraid of expressions and they don’t feel shy ‐ these people got straight on with it, it’s their day job. I will always remember this work as one of the highlights of my BSL teaching career.”
If you would like to see the episode, it is still available on iPlayer, The BSL scene starts at 26 minutes.