17 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Sherlock

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Martin Freeman as John Watson in “Sherlock”. (Photo: BBC)

Martin Freeman is Why John Couldn’t Drive

If you thought the idea of Sherlock Holmes driving a car to Dartmoor during Season 2 was weird, don’t worry. So did everyone else. Come on, Sherlock does not seem like the kind of person who would ever drive himself anywhere, right? Seeing him behind the wheel felt wildly out of character. Well, it turns out that actually wasn’t supposed to happen.

As is right and proper and fitting with our idea of the Sherlock universe, John was supposed to chauffeur him around. However, there was a small problem with that plan: Martin Freeman didn’t know how to drive. In real-life, this isn’t that strange – you really don’t need a car in central London and unless you plan to travel outside of the city very frequently, they’re impractical and expensive. Some Brits never learn to drive at all. It’s much more common to do so than in the U.S.

Perhaps the Sherlock crew also finally realized John’s absence behind the wheel was weird by the time Season 3 rolled around, because we do finally see him drive a car in finale episode “His Last Vow.” But the episode commentary reveals that the entire driving sequence with him picking up Sherlock from a drug den was faked.

Freeman did ultimately learn how to drive in 2013, while filming the US series Fargo. (The non-car based transport options in Minnesota would have been much more limited for his character, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t have been able to avoid learning any longer.) So next time we see John driving around in Sherlock, we’ll know it’s legitimately Freeman behind the wheel.