Just over four years ago, I was commissioned to undertake a spot of guerilla advertising to promote the third season of Sherlock, that premiered on New Year's Day in 2014. The end of the last season saw Sherlock jump off the top of St Bartholomew's Hospital, in the episode 'The Reichenbach Fall'.
I was tasked with creating a chalk outline of Sherlock where he fell, and take pictures of it for BBC One's social media. In today's post, as we approach the final episode (ever?) of the fourth season, I thought I'd write about how we made it happen.
I had to pick up this life-sized stencil from Red Bee Media (Now Red Bee Creative) at Broadcasting House, and originally it was just two pieces - the body shape and the outline. Naturally, a life sized silhouette of Benedict Cumberbatch was not going to fit in my then tiny Skoda, so I had to snap Benny in half. And then in half again.
I then took him back home and reassembled him when everyone was out of the house (this was a top-secret project after all). I had to cut the stencil pieces down again with a sharp knife. This is where the 'blood' part came into play. Turns out I didn't know how to hold a knife sharpener (I do now). I now have a scar across two fingers to commemorate the project.
I was also given the spray chalk paint, and set about trying it on different pavements and paving slabs to ensure it would wash off the day after. Funnily enough, councils get a bit funny if you permanently mark their property.
So I was up and out of the house and at St Bart's for 9am on New Year's Day (considering this is the day after my birthday, I feel this is an impressive achievement). I spent a few minutes consulting my reference images to make sure the outline was placed in the correct position. Enthusiastic fans can get a little pedantic, so I had to make sure it was placed exactly as he falls in the show.
I didn't get any photos of the creation process as a) it was chucking it down, b) it was incredibly windy, c) I had a growing audience of tourists, and d) spray chalk is tricksy.
And here's the final result:
I was convinced I would get stopped by hospital staff or police (we had permits, it was legit), but it turns out no one gives a fuck on New Year's Day.
Just out of shot: Two tourists and a confused bus driver.
So it turns out I didn't need to worry about washing away the chalk paint the next day, as the rain did the job for me.
I shot some photos of the finished outline and sent them over to the BBC. And up they went onto social media.