Season 4 of the hit BBC series. which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular detective and Martin Freeman as his partner Dr. Watson, just began filming and Rachel Talalay will direct the first of three feature-length episodes for the season. Her previous directing gigs include cult-hit “Tank Girl,” “Ghost in the Machine,” several episodes of “Doctor Who” and the upcoming indie “An Introvert’s Guide to High School.”
According to Variety, directors U.K., the association of British film and TV directors, reported in 2014 that only 13 percent of TV drama episodes in the U.K. were directed by women.
The lack of female directors was also an issue on another Britain to America crossover hit: “Downton Abbey.” Of the 52 episodes in that series, two women, Catherine Morshead and Minkie Spiro, directed five episodes each, making the series less than 20 percent female-directed.
On the subject of being one of only two women directors on the show, Spiro said, “The artists, like Michelle Dockery, Jo Froggatt, they all said, ‘What a breath of fresh air,’ and how useful it was to have a female voice for them to work with, especially on the more intimate scenes. So for example, a lot of sequences with Lady Mary and Anna are in the bedroom, and you…until I believe my episode, never saw her in underwear. It never gets looser or barer than the negligee, but the fact that Michelle felt so comfortable with me, and we were able to talk so frankly about their characters from a female perspective, I think helped her.”
In Season 3 of “Sherlock,” it was revealed that Watson’s wife, Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington), was actually a highly trained assassin and sharpshooter. Fans of the novels on which the TV episodes are based already have a few theories as to Mary’s true identity, so hopefully with the influence of a female director, we can also see a female character with a great arc on the popular series.