Amanda Abbington admits she landed Sherlock role due to ‘nepotism’ and relationship with Martin Freeman


Amanda Abbington and Martin Freeman were together for 16 years (Picture: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington has admitted that she only landed her role on the show thanks to ‘nepotism’ and her relationship with Martin Freeman.

Abbington, 48, became known for her portrayal of Mary Watson, wife to Freeman’s Dr. John Watson in the BBC series, which ran for four seasons.

Though only 13 episodes were broadcast, the TV reboot of the Sherlock Holmes story, which saw Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, was immensely popular.

The show was aired over a period of seven years, with episodes often being more than an hour long, with some even reaching 90 minutes.

The Ms Selfridge actress joined the series in season 3, appearing in seven episodes from 2014 onwards until the show came to an end.

And, speaking to the Full Disclosure podcast, Abbington has said that she only landed the role because of ‘nepotism’ and her relationship with Freeman, 51.

Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch

Sherlock was on the air for 7 years, broadcasting 13 feature-length episodes (Picture: Hartswood Films/REX/Shutterstock)

She explained: ‘I was with Martin at the time, there was a lot of nepotism being banded around. It’s true, it was that.’

The show’s writers, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, were attempting to figure out who the best person would be to play Watson’s wife.

According to Abbington’s recollection, Gatiss and Moffat thought it would be best to have Mary Watson played by ‘the person who was going out with [Freeman].’

She continued: ‘It made sense. And we’d worked together on many things. It seemed like a natural thing, and I was over the moon because I loved that show.’

Mary Watson appeared in 7 of Sherlock’s 13 episodes (Picture: BBC)

Her comments come during a period of intense scrutiny for nepotism (specifically ‘so-called nepo babies’) within many industries.

Asked about her break-up with Freeman, the Dream Team actress said she and him were still good friends but found themselves unable to live with each other.

Abbington and Freeman met on the set of a film they were working on together in the year 2000 and began what turned out to be a 16-year relationship.

The couple had two children during their years together, before separating in 2016. Abbington later became engaged to daredevil Johnathan Goodwin.

Earlier this year, Steven Moffatt admitted he would write more episodes if Cumberbatch and Freeman wanted to reprise their roles.

Watch Sherlock on BBC iPlayer.

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