The results were awkward. It was so awkward, in fact, that the author of the story read by Cumberbatch and Freeman has publicly objected and apologized to the actors.
According to those in the audience, Cumberbatch and Freeman were reluctant to read the story — which features their two characters sharing a moment of romantic passion — but went along with the request made by journalist Caitlin Moran.
What did they have to read? Reports indicate that the story in question was written by a blogger and included passages such as the following:
Sherlock didn’t laugh, his chest felt tight. The woman had been no more boring than the rest of them, yet John had come home.
“Boring’s never bothered you before,” he said, taking a step closer.
Sherlock felt something unfurling within him, something he’d kept ruthlessly tucked away for a very long time. Hope was the least of it.
He closed the space between them and leaned his forehead down to John’s. John’s eyes remained shut but his breath quickened.
“John,” Sherlock murmured and he grazed his fingertips over the buttons of his cardigan.
John gave a shuddering sigh and leaned his forehead back against Sherlock’s, their noses bumped, cheeks grazed and then John lifted his hand to Sherlock’s cheek and their mouths crushed together.
It’s not surprising that this might be awkward for the actors to read. And it’s not like anyone bothered to get permission for the reading from its author, a woman who posts on the MildredandBobbin Tumblr page. That woman quickly offered apologies to the “Sherlock” actors and criticized the moderator.
To Martin and Benedict I would say: I am so sorry you had to do that, it must have been very uncomfortable and I’m absolutely mortified my work was shown to you. It certainly wasn’t done with my permission. I write for myself and my friends in fandom, it was never intended to be shown to you, let alone to be shoved down your throats …
To Caitlin? Thank you for spoiling something I found joy in. Thank you for humiliating me, taking my writing out of context without permission, belittling it and using it to embarrass actors who I deeply admire. Thank you for tainting the one thing sometimes that gets me through the day when I have two screaming kids, someone’s drawn on the walls in their own poo, and I have to drive through peak hour traffic yet again because my husband’s forgotten his glasses for work. Thanks for that support, Caitlin.
There may be two important lessons here: 1) Fan fiction has its place and this was not it. 2) Never mess with a fandom. They do not appreciate those who mock.
“Sherlock” Season 3 returns Jan. 1 in the UK and airs later the same month in the United States.