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updated: 1/22/2014 8:58 AM

'Sherlock' makers sticking to abbreviated seasons

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  • Louise Brealey, left, plays Molly Hooper and Benedict Cumberbatch is Sherlock Holmes in Season 3's "The Empty Hearse" episode of Masterpiece's "Sherlock," which aired on Sunday on PBS. Steven Moffat, co-creator of "Sherlock," said the show is a hit in China and many other countries.

      Louise Brealey, left, plays Molly Hooper and Benedict Cumberbatch is Sherlock Holmes in Season 3's "The Empty Hearse" episode of Masterpiece's "Sherlock," which aired on Sunday on PBS. Steven Moffat, co-creator of "Sherlock," said the show is a hit in China and many other countries.
    Associated Press/PBS

 
By Lynn Elber, Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. -- The makers of TV's "Sherlock" say even a lobbying effort by British Prime Minister David Cameron wouldn't persuade them to produce more episodes each season.

But "Sherlock" co-creator Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue tweaked Cameron anyway for lack of effort. It's been more than a month, they noted, since he visited China and was asked by fans there to press for more of the popular mystery series.

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He praised the drama and told Chinese viewers who submitted the request to him online that he would try. But Cameron has yet to contact them, Vertue said this week.

A droll Moffat added: "David Cameron, calling you on that, mate. ... All of China, they're waiting."

The British-produced modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective has been a worldwide hit. It made its third season U.S. debut last Sunday on PBS, with husband-and-wife team Moffat and Vertue and star Benedict Cumberbatch on hand to promote it.

Fans have to make do with just a handful of episodes -- three this season -- as the show's in-demand makers and cast, including Martin Freeman and newcomer (and Freeman's real-life partner) Amanda Abbington, see to other projects. That includes the "Doctor Who" series for Moffat, "The Hobbit" franchise for Freeman and a string of films for Cumberbatch.

"No, it's a waste of time, sorry, China," Moffat replied when asked if "Sherlock" might be expanded to more episodes. The nine that have aired since 2010 are the equivalent of cranking out nine movies, he and Vertue said.

But why apologize to the Chinese and not devotees elsewhere?

"Well, China were the ones who went to the top and asked," Moffat said.

He and Cumberbatch, who said he appreciated the fervor of fans, agreed they are committed to keeping "Sherlock" going indefinitely.

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