Sherlock: Top 10 scenes of the BBC Show.

Sherlock: Top 10 scenes of the BBC Show.

by Amy Reith

Warning: this article contains spoilers for the first and second seasons of the BBC’s Sherlock.

The last three years have been a busy time for Sherlock Holmes. The Victorian Detective has been sent on a whirlwind through two high-octane Guy Ritchie films, brought to modern-day London for Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ modern adaptation and is now due to premiere on US screens in another modern adaptation, Elementary later this month. But with no plans for a third feature film, or a date for Elementary to be broadcast in the UK, the one promise of return we can focus on for Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero is the upcoming third season of the BBC’s Sherlock.

And what a season it looks to be. The first two have blown away television audiences Worldwide, wowing critics, winning numerous awards, including the supporting actor BAFTA for two consecutive years (for Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott respectively) and garnering a fan base to rival Doctor Who. Shooting on the third season is due to begin January 2013 with only an Autumn air date and three clues: ‘rat’, ‘bow’ and ‘wedding’ given to the fans to bridge the gap.

So in honour of the series (and to keep us going whilst we count down the days for season three) we have compiled the Top 10 of Sherlock moments from the first two seasons. Scenes that made you laugh, made you cry, made you hold your breath, scenes that kept you gripped and tied to your sofa.

So with no further ado, the Top 10 Sherlock moments!

10. Protecting Mrs. Hudson (Scandal in Belgravia)

In this first episode from season two, the sweet, kind, motherly Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) is assaulted by American agents searching for Irene Adler’s phone.  And how does our boy Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) react? By gallantly calling the fellow an ambulance before proceeding with the finest defenestration seen in prime time television in a long while and pitching him out of the window of 221b Baker Street. The perfect shot of Watson (Martin Freeman) consoling Mrs. Hudson whilst a black figure plummets into the recycling bins below is a testament to the show’s excellent writing and direction. Let’s not forget the final moment of the sequence in which Sherlock lovingly declares “Mrs. Hudson leave Baker Street? England would fall.” A scene which will make you laugh, wince and tugs on the heart strings as you watch the affection the two leads have for their landlady.

9. Return of the Deerstalker (The Reichenbach fall)

After five episodes and not one mention of ‘that’ hat, the season two finale saw the deerstalker take it’s place in the modern adaptation. As Sherlock ducks out of a theatre and avoids awaiting press by grabbing a waiting deerstalker to shield him, you could practically hear the Holmes die-hards breathing a sigh of relief. The subsequent use of a photo of him wearing ‘the hat’ to display the dangers of fame and the media as the episode moves on is a clever tie in for this sly nod to the original stories. Watching Sherlock debate the hat’s use: “How do you stalk a deer with a hat, what are you going to do, throw it? Some sort of death Frisbee?” Paired up with John complaints about his nickname: ‘confirmed bachelor’, is one of the episode’s best comic moments.

8. Irene Adler’s Entrance (A Scandal in Belgravia)

The scene that sparked over 100 complaints and made British actress Lara Pulver (of Spooks and True Blood fame) an overnight sex symbol. As Sherlock makes his plans to infiltrate the dominatrix’s home, Miss. Adler has other plans, walking in to meet him clad in only diamond earrings and a pair of beautiful high heels. Her self-described ‘battle dress’ leads the way for a fun scene in which Sherlock stumbles and stutters his way through a deduction before the pair (with the help of third-wheel John) fight off several armed assailants and ends with Sherlock being drugged by the feisty female. It was always going to be interesting how they would convincingly make this Sherlock, this self proclaimed ‘high functioning sociopath’ Sherlock who has spent three episodes acting seemingly asexual fall in love. And clearly falling for a lesbian, criminal dominatrix was the perfect way to do it. Pulver and Cumberbatch’s chemistry is fantastic and she has a more than capable presence to bring the infamous ‘Woman’ to life in modern London.

7. John and Sherlock’s staged fight (A Scandal in Belgravia)

Occurring only moment’s before the scene above, this sequence is one of the series finest at displaying the love/hate sniping and bickering that makes the relationship between John and Sherlock so watchable. The premise: Sherlock needs an injury to take solace at Adler’s house. The plan: getting John to leave him with a black eye. The witty writing and comic timing of both lead stars make this scene unforgettable. From John’s remark of “Whenever you speak I hear ‘punch me in the face’ but usually it’s in the subtext” to the final moment when they fly off screen in an almost slapstick performance, it’s guaranteed to make you chuckle.

6. Grammar Correction (The Great Game)

The first entry from season one is this opening sequence of the final episode. Whilst it has little importance and reference to the following storyline, it is a nice sequence to show off Sherlock’s character and Cumberbatch’s performance as the oddly likable sociopath. He sits in a Russian prison, listening to the statement of a man facing the death penalty for murder. As the scene progresses, Sherlock’s aggravation at the man’s poor grammar increases and his corrections lead to this final memorable interaction: “Please help, I’m gonna get hung for this.” Sherlock’s reply of “Hung no…hanged, yes”

5. Buckingham Palace (A Scandal in Belgravia)

Sherlock in a sheet, John debating whether to steal an ashtray and plenty of jibes between the Holmes brothers are just a few of the reasons this scene has made it to number 5. From the lighthearted giggling of Sherlock and John at their circumstance, to Mycroft’s anger and finally Sherlock’s immature threat to drop his sheet, this scene is a pedestal moment for the show’s use of comedy. Whilst setting up the plotline of the episode it nicely reminds the audience of the state of the character’s relationships after the eighteen-month gap from season one and starts the tone on a light one: even if it doesn’t last for long!

4. Christmas at 221b (A Scandal in Belgravia)

Yet another entry from the second season’s first episode, this sequence brought many of the key characters together for a Christmas celebration. Sherlock, John, John’s short-lived girlfriend (Oona Chaplin), Molly (Louise Brealey), Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Mrs. Hudson all gather in the living room of 221b for present swapping and wine. The moment is spoilt by Sherlock who makes a personal deduction about Molly’s romantic intentions for the evening, only to showcase her unrequited love for him to the entire room. A horribly awkward scene to watch, although the extremely human apology he gives her will tug at your heart strings and brings Molly more central for her prominent role in the final episode. On another note: keep an eye out for Lestrade’s fantastic reaction as Molly reveals her dress to the room, little touches like this help make the show so addictive!

3. The Pool Scene (The Great Game)

This scene gave the audience the cliffhanger that they would be left with for eighteen months. The gripping sequence shows the first face to face confrontation between Sherlock and nemesis Moriarty: (Andrew Scott) not including the earlier sequence in which the Napoleon of crime turned up briefly as Molly’s gay boyfriend. From the red herring as John steps out of the shadows, throughout the conversation as Scott introduces a volatile, unstable, psychopathic Moriarty and until the final moments when they stand off with a semtex vest between them, it’s a scene in which you may just forget to breath. A fitting finale to an outstanding first season. The second part of the scene that featured in ‘A Scandal In Belgravia’ nicely brought the scene to a conclusion that seemed fitting for the characters and moved the storyline forward smoothly.

2. John and Sherlock meeting for the first time (A Study in Pink)

“The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221b Baker Street.” It’s very hard to find much else to say about this iconic scene in the show’s first episode. From Sherlock’s deduction of John: the first the audience sees in the series through to the moment he sweeps out of the hospital laboratory, it is a fantastic way to introduce the two characters who instantly strike up the chemistry that keeps their partnership and friendship going throughout the series.

1. The Rooftop Finale (The Reichenbach Fall)

Almost across the board this scene came out as a favourite. The sequence that seems to fly by in a whirlwind of anger, pain and sadness in fact lasts almost twenty minutes of the shows ninety minute running total. The final scene plays out in two parts: firstly the final confrontation between Sherlock and Moriarty. In the three main meetings between these two it’s always been difficult to determine which really has the upper hand and in this sequence it’s certainly no different. It comes to a dramatic conclusion when, left with seemingly no other choice to force Sherlock to jump of the roof of St. Bart’s Hospital, Moriarty puts his gun in his mouth and shoots himself. An unpredictable moment that at first seems out-of-character for the flamboyant, egotistical consulting criminal, but one that also seems to justly sum up his mental state and obsession with Sherlock. The second part plays out as Sherlock seemingly fulfills Moriarty’s demands to save John, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson, edging ever closer to the ledge. His final phone call with John is a tearjerker as he tries to ease his friend’s grief by confirming the lies spread about him.

Then he falls.

Special mention must go to the first investigation sequence from ‘A Study in Pink’, John meeting Mrs. Hudson (“DAMN MY LEG! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”) and the climax of ‘Hounds of the Bakerville’ that narrowly missed out on the top 10!

It’s fascinating that despite the audience knowing the ending of the series, people still scrabbled and strived to fit together the events that led up to Sherlock’s rooftop plummet. Even I will admit to watching it three times on BBC iPlayer to keep an eye out for any bits I missed. How is Molly involved? What about the rubber ball? Wasn’t it convenient John got knocked over? And is it really going to be as simple as that rubbish truck parked outside? Some of the many questions asked by fans of the television show. Unfortunately none of those questions will be answered until late 2013, but it’s one show I think you’ll agree is worth the wait!

Agree or disagree with our top 10? Do you have your own explanation for how he survived? Did we miss your favourite scene? Let us know in the comments box below!


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Amy Reith

Amy graduated from the University of Exeter in 2011. She now lives in London and works for Academy Award Winning production company Bedlam Productions. Amy also writes for
About Amy Reith 16 Articles
Amy graduated from the University of Exeter in 2011. She now lives in London and works for Academy Award Winning production company Bedlam Productions. Amy also writes for