Sherlock: BBC vs PBS versions – A Study in Pink

I just love the show. And when I was watching it on PBS (Sunday night, 9pm EST.  The last time I watched Sherlock Holmes was the Granada series with Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke… sigh!), I along with a number of other fans who were all sharing a stream on Twitter (#sherlock_pbs), noticed some cuts in the PBS showing. Not just one episode, but all three. Soemtimes it was no biggie, but other times it was leaving out some important information. So much that I spent some time taking notes on the differences Not just seeing, but observing (haha, little Sherlockian humor there).

While PBS just finished re-airing the first season, they still have it online for the rest of this month. And there might be some of you out there who have it recorded.

Below are the differences that I caught. There’s bound to be some edits that I overlooked, but I thikn I got most of them, including some major gaps that PBS left out.

Just to say, I love PBS. Have for years.  There’s just some things that they do that do not make sense.

Am I over doing it? Maybe, but then again I love this show (and Sherlock Holmes stuff in general).  It was mostly a fun little project for me.

WARNING!!! Spoilers!

If you haven’t seen it, the killer, and his modus operandi, are revealed at the end.  You have been warned.

A Study in Pink

  Below is the end of the intro as it was/is seen on the BBC


While the rest of the cuts don’t affect the US’s release of the Sherlock DVD nor the Netflix streaming version, this one change still exists.


John investigates Sherlock

After Sherlock and Watson’s meeting, shot of the Millenium wheel, then to John in his apartment. He sits on his bed and pulls out his phone. Looks at the message that Sherlock had sent earlier:

“If brother has green ladder arrest brother.  SH”


then goes over to his laptop and does a search for Sherlock Holmes:


Importance — Somewhat.  It makes a little more sense when John tells Sherlock the next day “I looked you up on the internet last night.” when they meet at 221B.

Sherlock and John leave for Lauriston Gardens

A few seconds of Sherlock and John leaving 221b by cab as it stops at the intersection.


 Importance — Minor. Just a couple more seconds more after John closes the cab door.

Meeting Donovan

Sherlock meets up with Donovan. After Sherlock’s line of commenting that he knew she did not come home the night before, she stops him and points to John.

Donovan: Who’s this?

Sherlock: Colleague of mine, Dr. Watson. Dr. Watson, Sally Donovan. An old friend.


Donovan: Colleague? How do you get a colleague?



[Turns and asks John] Donovan: Did he follow you home?

John [to Sherlock] “Would it be better if I just waited…?”

Sherlock [sherpily]: No [He lifts up the crime scene tape over John’s head.]

Donovan: Freak’s here. Bringing him in.

Importance — Somewhat. Gives more of an introduction to Sgt. Donovan.

Meeting with Lestrade

After Sherlock heavily implies that Donovan and Anderson of having an affair, he and John enter the building.

They go through a couple rooms to meet with Lestrade.

Sherlock [pointing to a lab suit to John]: You should wear one of these.

Lestrade [to Sherlock, seeing John]: Who’s he?

Sherlock: He’s with me

Lestrade: But who is he?

Sherlock: I said he’s with me.


John [holding a suit, to Sherlock] “ Aren’t you going to put one on?”

Sherlock doesn’t answer, just looks at John with a “I don’t do that” look on his face.


Sherlock [to Lestrade]: So where are we?

Lestrade: Upstairs.


“I can give you two minutes” says Lestrade as he leads Sherlock and John up the stairs.

“May need longer” says Sherlock.

Importance — Somewhat. Sets more of a tone to the type of person Sherlock is:  He follows his own rules.

John leaving the crime scene

After Sherlock says the serial killer’s mistake was “PINK!”, the police got to finishing up the crime scene. John hobbles down the stairs.


and out to where he came in near Sgt. Donovan.

Importance — Minor.  It does show that he loses Sherlock totally as Sherlock had already ran off without waiting for him.

John finally arrives home after a detour

John gets out of the car after meeting the mysterious man in the warehouse, and goes to knock on the 221B door 


Importance —  Minor.  Though it’s always good to see more of John 🙂

Sherlock and John head towards Northumberland Street

Sherlock and John leave 221B and go by foot to Northumberland street. Sherlock thinks aloud as to who the killer could be:


John: Where are we going?

Sherlock: Northumberland Street’s a five minute walk from here.

John: You think he’s stupid enough to go there?

Sherlock: No, I think he’s brilliant enough. I love the brillant ones. They’re all so desperate to get caught.

John: Why?

Sherlock. Appreciation! Applause! At long last the spotlight. That’s the frailty of genius, John, it needs an audience.

John: Yeah

Sherlock: This is his hunting ground. Right here in the heart of the city. Now that we know that his victims were abducted, that changes everything. Because all of his victims disappeared from busy streets, crowded places, but nobody saw them go. Think! Who do we trust, even though we don’t know them? Who passes unnoticed wherever they go? Who hunts in the middle of a crowd?


John: Don’t know. Who?


Sherlock: Haven’t the faintest. Hungry?

Then they enter the restaurant.

Importance — Important.  Sherlock ask key questions about the type of person they are looking for.

Flashback audio

In Baker Street, Sherlock, John, Lestrade and the Scotland Yard crew discover the pink phone is with them…somewhere. Sherlock then flashes back to his earlier questions.

This is a different kind of edit. While the video isn’t cut, there’s audio that is missing. Sherlock’s above questions are repeated.





Importance — Important.  For the same reasons as above.  Of course, they had to cut out Sherlock’s flashback audio because they had cut out that previous scene.

Sherlock leaving with the Cabbie

Sherlock exits the cab and follows the cabbie’s lead to one of the buildings.


Back at 221B, John is about to walk out the door, realizes he doesn’t have his cane and goes back to get it.  And then the computer beeps that the pink phone’s GPS was connecting again.


Importance – Minor.  For John, it shows that he was still relying on his crutch even though Sherlock had already proved to him he didn’t need it.

Sherlock and Cabbie enter a classroom

Cabbie – So what do you think? It’s up to you. You’re the one who’s going to die here.


Sherlock: No, I’m not.

Cabbie: That’s what they all say. Shall we talk?

Importance — Minor.  Does show off more of Sherlock’s confidence.  Never can have too much of Sherlock!

 The real reason why the Cabbie is killing random people

Cabbie: I’ve outlived four people. That’s the most fun you can have with an aneurism.

Sherlock: No… No, there’s something else. You didn’t just kill four people because you’re bitter. Bitterness is a paralytic. Love is a much more vicious motivator. Somehow, this is about your children.



Cabbie: Oh…You are good, aren’t you?

Sherlock: But how?

Cabbie: When I die, they won’t get much, my kids. Not a lot of money in driving cabs.

Sherlock: Or serial killing.

Cabbie: You’d be surprised.

Sherlock: Surprise me.

Cabbie: I have a sponsor.

Sherlock: You have a what?

Cabbie: For every life I take, money goes to my kids. The more I kill… the better oof they’ll be. You see? It’s nicer than you think.

Sherlock: Who’d sponsor a serial killer?

Cabbie: Who’d be a fan of Sherlock Holmes? You’re not the only one to enjoy a good murder. There’s others out there just like you, except you’re just a man. And they’re so much more than that.

Sherlock: What do you mean… more than a man? An organization… what?

Cabbie: There’s a name that no-one says. And I’m not going to say it either. Now enough chatter.

Imporatnace — Very!  It explains why the cabbie was murdering the other people.  And how the Cabbie knows of (shhh!) Moriarty.

John looks for Sherlock

Cabbie: Shall we?

Cabbie [with shots of John running down the hallway looking frantically for Sherlock]: So what do you think? Can you beat me? Are you clever enough…to bet your life.


Imporatnace – Somewhat.  The Cabbie continues to play mind games with Sherlock.  And like I said earlier, you can’t have too much of Sherlock… or John :).

After the cabbie gets shot

The sound effect of Sherlock throwing the pill on the floor is cut out.

Sherlock: Ok… tell me this. Your sponsor. Who was it?


Importance — Fairly.  As like Sherlock’s questions, this was also cut out because they had cut out the cabbie talking about his sponsor.

That’s it!  Or at least, the ones I caught.  There might be others.  I did not realize until the last one, “Hey! There’s a sound missing!”.  So there might be other little bits omitted for whatever reason.  It was fun, and a good thing I love the show so much other wise it might have driven me a little crazy. Especailly getting the right screenshots without them being blurry or the lighting being bad for that split second and you can’t tell what you are looking at.

It also took over a year to do this since I didn’t record it from PBS but rewatched their version live during the broadcast as well as online.  Once they took it down near the end of December 2010, I had nothing to go on, until they rebroadcast it earlier this year.  This episode is online at PBS’s site until March 1, 2012.

February 9th, 2012 by
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