Sometimes Sherlock wakes up to find John watching him sleep. He still gets shy when he sees it. Maybe even blushes a bit.

Softly, Softly: The BBC’s 2009 LGB Research Commission and The Johnlock Conspiracy


(Note: This post WILL CUT OFF in the Tumblr app on mobile devices because it is too long. If you want to view this post on a mobile device, you must open it in your mobile device’s web browser.

Alternately, there is an EPUB version for e-readers and iOS devices — I recommend using the iBooks app and NOT the Kindle app because it doesn’t recognize all the formatting — or a MOBI version for Kindle e-ink readers.)

[Updated June 19, 2014: Added entire section “In his novels, Gatiss revealed a protagonist to be queer halfway through the story just so it wouldn’t be labeled a “gay” story from the outset.”]


We live in an incredibly diverse and culturally rich society and the BBC has a responsibility to reflect and celebrate this diversity in all the content that we make and broadcast. […] And that is why, when I volunteered to chair the Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Working Group at the BBC, I agreed to commission the study we are publishing today. […] The BBC has an absolute obligation to serve all our audiences as best we can. Not only to understand them and how they watch, listen and surf our content, but as importantly to more fully comprehend what they expect from us and how we can then to try and deliver against their expectations. There is also an element of promoting better citizenship through the research we undertake with our audiences – by ensuring that audiences are fairly, authentically and equally portrayed the BBC can be part of the solution to a more inclusive and better informed society.

Tim Davie, September 30, 2010 (x)(s-a-t rebloggable link)

When the great gay script comes in, I shall definitely be commissioning it.

Ben Stephenson, commissioner of Sherlock (x)(s-a-t rebloggable link)

I always thought that what Russell [T. Davies] did in Doctor Who was extremely ground-breaking, in a slightly more subversive way than it looked like. It never occurred to me that [the representation of gay characters] was too on the nose; what he did brilliantly was introduce incidentally gay characters — obviously as well as some more in-your-face ones. One of my favourite stories is [the episode] Gridlock: there’s an elderly couple of ladies who are together, and it just sort of passes by, and that’s the way—softly, softly.

That’s how the revolution happens, as it were: you just become aware that people are incidentally gay.

I think when the day comes that you have a big detective show where the first half hour was this man at work, and he’s a maverick, and all the usual things… and then we went home and his boyfriend says, ‘Are you alright?’, [and] it was just a thing… then something would have genuinely changed. I think the problem still is, [being gay] becomes the issue. I think the thing with gay characters is that it has to be an issue, as opposed to being part of everyday life — which of course, as we all know, is what it is.

Mark Gatiss, February 2012 (x)(s-a-t rebloggable link)

I’ve argued in the past that Sherlock has obviously been a homosexual love story between John and Sherlock from the unaired pilot forward and that the BBC is in on it, but that’s largely been a logical extrapolation I’ve made. Until now, I’ve only been able to point to things like the show itself and related BBC media (e.g. the Timeshift documentary), the structure of character and narrative arcs, the historical precedent of literally coded language in queer culture (and in Moffat’s works in particular as well) and why it’s not plausible that Moffat and Gatiss are keeping it a secret from the BBC. I have also argued that that the BBC and the showrunners would want to make television history.

But understandably, that’s not convincing to a lot of people. I’ve always had a positive impression of the BBC in regard to LGB issues, but that’s only my impression. It’s tragically reasonable of people, queer people in particular, to feel cynical, because we’ve seen such slow social progress until fairly recently. Where I’ve seen huge strides in the portrayal of LGB characters on television, and in the progress of LGB rights in general, one could still easily get the impression that broadcasters will always cave to homophobia and I couldn’t blame them. “The BBC would never do it” is one of the most common arguments against The Johnlock Conspiracy, even among those who “want to believe.” And I can’t really argue with cynicism, particularly when it comes from older queer people who have experienced more disappointments in this area than I have, or other queer people who have just lead harder lives than I have. People are cynical for good reasons.

Until today, all TJLCers have had to point to are shell casings, but no smoking gun. We have skulls-and-tea's quote project, and we've made deductions based on things people involved with Sherlock have said, but there’s been nothing to dispel the greater cynicism some feel. Until today, we couldn’t prove that the BBC cares about LGB issues. We couldn’t prove that homophobia isn’t a significant influence on BBC programming. We couldn’t prove that the BBC wants to make LGB television history. And we sure as hell couldn’t tie it directly to Sherlock.

Well, I’m happy to tell you that all ends today. As it turns out, skulls-and-tea is an excellent arms dealer: she found the closest thing to a smoking gun that we’re going to get.

Don’t get me wrong: the writers will never admit to TJLC before it happens, because they always lie about spoilers. That degree of confirmation won’t come to pass, and most of us don’t want to be spoiled anyway.

But a curious thing happened in 2009.

In January 2009, the BBC saw the pilot of Sherlock.

As many with eyes and ears have pointed out, that pilot is pretty gay. And upon seeing this pilot, the BBC liked it so much they decided they wanted a 90 minute format instead of a 60 minute format. They allocated a TON more money toward it, and Moffat and Gatiss went off to rework everything. So far, this is all common knowledge.

What isn’t common knowledge is that in April 2009, as Sherlock was being reworked, the BBC commissioned a working group to research LGB portrayals, which focused on the following topics: how LGB portrayals are the BBC’s responsibility given its Royal Charter; how people feel about LGB portrayals; how to present those portrayals to BBC audiences; how to do LGB portrayals right; how far the BBC wants to take LGB portrayals; and how the BBC can do more to encourage its showrunners to include both incidental and landmark LGB portrayals. Their report is what skulls-and-tea found. It’s hundreds of pages, and all very telling.

If I could summarize the research in one sentence, it would be this: “We’re doing pretty gay, but we could do gayer.” In fact, it seems the BBC aims to be the gayest. But we’ll get there.

Sherlock began filming in its new format in March of 2010. A Study in Pink aired at the end of July. In September 2010 the working group finished compiling its written report, and Ben Stephenson, the drama commissioner who commissioned Sherlock, began speaking publicly and enthusiastically about how the BBC, thanks to its funding structure, is the only network that can afford to take risks in its dramas when it comes representing the full diversity of its audience.

Today, you don’t have to take our word for it when we tell you the BBC would enthusiastically sign on for TJLC. Take the BBC’s word for it: TJLC is exactly what their research ordered.

Don’t want to read hundreds of pages? Of course not. Instead, skulls-and-tea and I are at your service.

So. Want to see some more?

Table of Contents

Reference: what the study evaluated, in its own words.

  1. The BBC is not funded like other broadcasters: it is not beholden to advertisers and thus can afford to have moral convictions and take risks. And it knows this.
  2. Specifically, the BBC does not directly aim to please an international audience, nor do Moffat and Gatiss.
  3. The BBC feels its Royal Charter not only requires that the BBC deliver LGB portrayals, but that the BBC celebrate them and work to fight homophobia.
  4. BBC research states that the majority of their audience is not only comfortable with LBG portrayal, but wants more and better LGB portrayals.
  5. The BBC was already perceived as fairly LGB-friendly even prior to 2009’s research commission.
  6. The BBC has officially dedicated itself to authentic LGB portrayals.
  7. The BBC has consciously chosen to portray LGB intimacy despite the reaction of uncomfortable heterosexuals. It intends to make comfortable those it can make comfortable, and acknowledges it cannot reach all of them.
  8. The BBC wants to air “landmark” or “watercooler” LGB content that becomes “culturally iconic.” They are pressed that Channel 4 is perceived as more LGB-friendly than the BBC, and they want to out-gay them.
  9. BBC LGB research indicates that in their dramas specifically, LGB “watercooler moments” must be given “sufficient depth and time to unfold.”
  10. The BBC understands that LGB people are sick of tragic endings.
  11. The BBC understands that “landmark content” entails visuals of LGB intimacy.
  12. BBC LGB research lead it to resolve not to queerbait before Sherlock was ever accused of queerbaiting.
  13. The BBC is not messing around. They are taking steps to ensure they are progressing in terms of their LGB content.
  14. The BBC has explicitly stated its intent to work with LGB writers to ensure authentic LGB portrayals.
  15. Mark Gatiss has stated that the BBC has never kept him from doing something he wants to do.
  16. In his novels, Gatiss revealed a protagonist to be queer halfway through the story just so it wouldn’t be labeled a “gay” story from the outset.
  17. Gatiss and Moffat have stated they never disagree on Sherlock, and Moffat has written two other homosexual AU versions of Holmes and Watson.
  18. Ben Stephenson, the man who commissioned Sherlock, would absolutely have commissioned TJLC along with it. In fact, TJLC would have been a huge positive factor in his decision.


Postscript: What about transgender people?


Read More

asortofbookevent, the epically long thing in question. Skimming or skipping is a very acceptable response to something so long but we were talking about it and here it is— I think reading up to the read more is probably sufficient to get the gist of things


sketch commission for marlonbookcase! consulting husbands on the case


sketch commission for marlonbookcase! consulting husbands on the case



but look at how cute sherlock’s thinking face is




J: “I know - I’ve noticed.”


J: “I know - I’ve noticed.”



Hmm…I wonder what happened here.




Hmm…I wonder what happened here.


(Source: islandunderworld)


"So we stood hand-in-hand, like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us." -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Sign of the Four"


"So we stood hand-in-hand, like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us." -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Sign of the Four"

(Source: benedics)




a plus-side to being my friend is that you can come to my house in your pajamas and i will not judge you because i will also be in my pajamas

(Source: owenhartofficial)

http://221beemine.tumblr.com/post/93034941228/lemmonysnippets-the-real-paradox-of-the-show-is →


The Real Paradox of the show is that John has decided to love and accept Sherlock just as he is—terrible and “weird” bits and all. Well, he’ll push him on his behaviour towards other people but doesn’t think he needs to be ‘fixed.’ And to him that means also accepting that…

(Source: jawnlock-shipper)


a few balletlock/ rugby sketches