With just a week to go before filming commences on March 18 2013, this morning the cast and crew of Sherlock met in London to perform the traditional read-through of the script of the first episode of Series Three to be shot.
Production Designer Arwel Wyn Jones was the first to reveal what was about to occur via his Twitter, with a bit of a tease:
‘This morning I have the great honour of attending the first read through of this series! Anyone fancy tagging along?’
This news was swiftly followed by confirmation of attendance by other sources connected to the project, including staff from BBC Drama, with Mark Gatiss stepping into the breach at 11:20GMT:
‘#Sherlock read-through. It begins!’
After a couple of hours, reaction began to emerge from the read-through, with BBC One’s Twitter account being the first to break with the above picture of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
‘#Sherlock read-through over, plenty of surprises in store for series three!’
But what actually happens at a read-through?
The read-through of a script is the first major step in production of a project for the cast. It’s attended by all those who have speaking roles, as well as the producers, writers, the director and others such as financiers and backers for the project. For the actors, it’s the first time they sit together and play through the words on the page, allowing them to begin to gauge reactions, interactions, and start to take their first steps in defining their performances. As such, there’s no rehearsal beforehand. Another member of the crew, usually the writer or director, narrates the stage direction in the script so the attendees are able to follow the plot as it unfolds.
For Sherlock, the read-throughs always take place the week before filming begins, with the other days set aside for the cast to prepare and rehearse more fully ahead of the start of filming. As each episode of the series is produced separately from the others - effectively treated like a film in its production methodology - there is a read-through for each the week before that episode begins filming.