I wrote this in depth and occasionally very excitable report on the train back from the Edinburgh TV Festival where I met Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Sue Vertue, Beryl Vertue and Andrew Scott:

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THURSDAY 23rd AUGUST 2012

I arrived in Edinburgh for the MGEITF at around 12pm, after an enjoyable 5 hour journey during which I caught up on my RPs on my mobile phone and watched 3 episodes of Supernatural. I walked from the train station to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre where the festival was being held and checked in to receive my delegates pass and welcome pack. The first thing I did was drop my case off at the cloakroom as I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to our apartment till later. Then I had a little walk round the large reception area which was scattered with chairs and tables and free tea/coffee stalls where people could sit and chat or work on their laptops whilst waiting for lectures to start. This area was always really busy at any time of the day, people coming and going, standing around networking with other industry professionals.

I found a table and sat down to look through my welcome pack when I suddenly caught sight of someone on my immediate right. I did a double take and realised it was Steven Moffat! I’d only been in the room about 10 minutes and already I’d had my first Moffat sighting! He was standing talking to someone then they both walked away. It was only a brief sighting but I have to say I almost freaked out immediately. It kind of filled me with a bit of hope for further sightings though, if he was just wandering around like a normal person instead of the living legend that he is.

Shortly after that I went to my first lecture (and I have to say I can hardly remember anything about any of the other lectures except the Sherlock one so don’t ask me to give details). Anyway, there were three lecture rooms downstairs (just off the main room) and three upstairs and each of them lasted for one hour with a half hour break in between so you could get drinks and go to the toilet etc. There were lectures going on in every single room at the same time, so you had to choose which one you wanted to attend.

The one I’d picked was upstairs and I’d just come out of it an hour later when I spotted Sue Vertue! She walked past me and was on her way to the toilet so….I kind of followed her. (Yes, I followed Sue Vertue to the toilet and I know how weird that sounds but I DON’T CARE! I kind of needed to go myself anyway).

So, I went to the toilet and when I came out of the cubicle she was coming out at exactly the same time, it was kind of weird, and we both washed our hands at exactly the same time, at which point I looked over her and smiled. She smiled back, then when she’d done she left. Naturally I followed her again, knowing that she would lead me to the Moff. She rejoined the Moff over by one of the lecture theatres and I lingered at a safe distance pretending to look at my phone but occasionally glancing over at them basically just excited and wondering how I was ever going to get the opportunity (or courage) to actually speak to them, especially since they always seemed to be speaking to other people and I didn’t want to go over and interrupt.

After they’d stood around talking for a while they started to go back downstairs. I was really tempted to follow them and just follow them around for the whole day but I thought if they noticed me and realised I was doing it they would think I was completely weird and it would ruin any chances I had of ever being able to make friends with them (and get a job working for Moffat). So I tore myself away and went into my next lecture which was upstairs again.

After that I met up with my Mum and told her about my wonderful Moffat experiences, much to her general bemusement and she told me she still didn’t have any idea what he looked like, which I was suitably outraged over. I didn’t see them again for the rest of the afternoon and it wasn’t until later that night I had my next experience.

There was a drinks reception at the National Museum of Scotland from 7:30pm till 9:30pm. We arrived about 7:45pm and it was still relatively quiet and no sign of the Moff & Co. I got a beer and drank it really quickly, instantly grabbing another one and beginning to glug that back too as I was quite nervous. I wasn’t particularly interested in talking to anyone else but I just wandered round the room endlessly, glancing around just in case I’d missed them. But I hadn’t. They arrived about 8:30pm and I downed my second beer reaching for a third. I knew that I had to go and speak to them. A party was a perfect opportunity and everyone was networking. I watched them for about 20 minutes and a few other people came up and spoke to them.

Finally I knocked back my third beer and grabbed a fourth (they were all free by the way otherwise. There’s no way I’d be drinking that much if I had to pay for it). I hadn’t really considered what I was going to say to them because I’d already imagined it in a thousand different ways and hadn’t yet decided which way would be the best. In the end I went for the casual approach. Steven was stood slightly further back talking to two other people. Sue and Beryl were stood on their own so I targeted them first.

I went over and said, “Excuse me…are you Sue Vertue?” (Obviously I knew she was but I needed a conversation starter).

“Yes, I am,”  she replied with a smile.

I smiled back. “I thought so.”  Then I turned to Beryl and said, “So you must be…Beryl…right?” She smiled and nodded, “That’s right.”

I grinned at them and shook both their hands in turn. “Pleasure to meet you,”  I said.

“What’s your name?”  Sue asked me.

I showed her my name tag and told her my name. “Nice to meet you too.”  I then told her I was a writer just starting out. She asked me if it was my first time here at Edinburgh and how I was enjoying it so far. I told her it was indeed my first time, that I’d come with my mother who worked in the industry and that it was her that bought me the ticket, and that I was having a great time so far.

We then went on to talk about writing and the TV & film industry in general, talking about how hard it was to get that first break and she told me I had to keep trying and not give up. I told her about the short film that I made and the fact that we went to Cannes Film Festival with it. I told her about my writing degree and said that I had tons of ideas and scripts, it’s just hard to get people to read them and to get them sold or commissioned. She was very encouraging and seemed genuinely nice and interested. Beryl was involved in the conversation too, as I was talking to both of them, although Sue did most of the talking. She told me a really funny story about her and Steven’s son and how he’s already started writing, and Steven reads his work and gives him tons of notes on it. Then suddenly Steven came over and put his arms round both of them and said, “sorry to interrupt guys, but we’ve really got to go, I suddenly realised we’re really late…”  And they were supposed to be going to a meal for a certain time which had already been booked, but Sue was still very nice and said, “oh Steven this is – “  And she indicated with her arm backwards to me. I stuck my hand out towards Moffat and told him my name. He shook my hand. I said I was a writer and a big fan of his work. He said, “Thanks very much, pleased to meet you,”  and I said I was attending the lecture tomorrow and looking forward to it and he said “oh good”, then I stepped back and said, “Right, I’ll let you guys get off, nice to meet you all.”

I wandered off back to my Mum and tried not to freak out as I told her about the conversation. I was a bit sad that they had to go so soon because I didn’t really get much time to talk to Moffat but I was really glad I went over when I did because if I’d left it any later I probably wouldn’t have had chance to talk to them at all before they left for the meal. I then went to the toilet and jumped up and down inside one of the cubicles to get rid of my fangirliness before re-emerging back to the party. Once they’d gone I wasn’t that bothered about saying too much longer, but we stayed till the end then went home.

FRIDAY 24th AUGUST 2012

My first lecture on the Friday was at 9:30am. I stood up with everyone else at the end to leave and to my utter surprise I discovered Moffat, Sue and Beryl Vertue had been sat behind me in the same lecture the whole time. I didn’t say anything to them just inwardly freaked out and hoped that they hadn’t seen me RPing on my Blackberry before the lecture started.

The second lecture I attended along with my Mum and we found some seats together and then guess what happened – Moffat and Co all walked into the same lecture. I swear THEY were stalking ME. I grabbed my Mum’s arm and was like “oh my God it’s them it’s them!”  And they sat ON THE SAME ROW as us…GAWWWD. They didn’t see us so I didn’t say anything to them, was just basically excited to see them again.

I saw them one more time in the main foyer standing around talking. I spied on them for a while then purposely walked past them, and as I did so, pretended I’d only just noticed they were there. “Oh hello again,”  I said with a smile and they smiled back and Sue said “hi” , then I asked, “did you have a good meal last night?”  Sue said, “it was very nice thank you yes,”  and Steven added “surprisingly so”  in typical Moffat style, then I carried on walking because I didn’t want to make it look like I’d gone over just to talk to them.

I didn’t see them again for the rest of the morning because I presumed they were getting ready for their own lecture at 3:30pm – the Sherlock Masterclass. I made sure I got there in plenty of time and waited right by the doors so that when they opened I could be one of the first in and get a decent seat. I ended up on the 5th row, which was perfect because I didn’t have to strain my neck by looking up at the stage but I was close enough to have a really good view.

There was a presenter/interviewer who came on, then introduced them all onto the stage one by one, and for the first time I got to see Mark Gatiss and Andrew Scott, which was quite an exciting experience to see them in the flesh! They all sat down in comfy chairs and it started off by them showing a montage of Sherlock clips from both series. That was all rather cool. Then they began talking about the actual series itself.

Most of the things they talked about I had already heard them mention in other interviews or in newspaper articles but there were a few things which were new to me (none of which I can actually remember right now!). I was making an audio recording of the whole thing but later on I discovered it had only taped the first nine minutes! I think I must have knocked it and turned the damn thing off by mistake or something. But a lot of what they said has already come out and been posted on Twitter etc.

For a  start off, they pretty much confirmed that Moriarty is definitely dead and whilst they enjoyed some of the theories about how he could have survived, ultimately, he is basically dead and won’t be coming back.

About the Fall theories they also said the solution isn’t going to be something where you have to pause the DVD or zoom in or look at things millions of times. They said that despite the legions of dedicated fans, the average person will only have watched each episode once so the solution has to be something that even a casual watcher will be able to kick themselves and think “how did I miss that?”

They mentioned the fandom and that they enjoyed the amount of attention it was getting over the internet and they found it all very flattering. They even mentioned fan fics and Tumblr again and said that some of the fans are very “imaginative”  in making up stories getting the characters to do all kinds of unusual things with one another. It was quite a funny moment because everyone basically knew they were talking about all the slash & Johnlock etc.

Andrew Scott talked about how much he enjoyed playing Moriarty etc, most of which I’d heard before, then they played loads more clips from the show including the pool scene which is my favourite! And of course they gave away the three words that are clues for Series 3 – rat, wedding, bow and the internet basically exploded instantly.

We had some questions from audience members which I can’t really remember. None of them particularly stood out, apart from this one guy who put his hand up and admitted he hadn’t actually seen any of the show, and Moffat just said “get out” , it was really funny and they all started making fun of him saying “this man’s clearly an idiot”  and “where the hell have you been”  etc.

Someone asked them if they were worried they might run out of good source material because they’d used up all of the most famous stories in the first two series and Moffat & Gatiss both said the word “no”  at exactly the same time. Then went onto say there’s still absolutely tons of stuff they’ve not used from the 60 ACD stories and also added that they consider all of the adaptations to be canon too so any of that material can be appropriated and written into the show.

It was a really brilliant lecture and I wish it could have gone on all night to be honest. It did run about 10 minutes over, which was good. Afterwards there was a Sony drinks reception downstairs which my Mum and I had been planning to attend, all free champagne. But I was basically just stood there at the back of the room on Twitter talking about the wedding rat bow thing and trying to come up with some ideas. I figured I’d pretty much cracked the wedding and the rat when my Mum came over to me and said she’d seen Moffat and the gang in the foyer getting their photos taken by the press. I followed her out and we were just a tiny bit late and they were just leaving, but I managed to get a cool picture of Andrew Scott on my phone as he was just giving a few words for one of the reporters.

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We returned to the drinks reception and I had a couple of champagnes then went to the toilet. I was ages in the toilet because I was basically stood there texting and tweeting, then suddenly I got a text through off my Mum saying “your favourite people are here”  and I literally raced back to the reception where the whole gang had arrived and were stood around drinking champagne (including Gatiss and Andrew Scott)

I knocked back another champagne and was determined to speak to them again. My mum hadn’t met any of them yet so we went over to Sue & Beryl who were stood together and I introduced my Mum to her saying “this is my mum, the one I was telling you about last night,”  and then they shook hands and we told her we’d enjoyed the lecture, then asked whether she thought they’d win either of the two awards they were up for that evening. She said she didn’t think they’d win, and then my Mum talked briefly about her job and the industry in general before we moved away and allowed them to continue with their conversation.

I stood with my Mum for a moment and had more champagne then said “right, I need to go and speak to Mark Gatiss and Andrew Scott,” so I headed over. Mark was in the middle of a conversation with someone else and Andrew was stood next to him although he looked a bit bored and was just sipping on his champagne not really involved in Mark’s conversation with this other person so I decided to say hi to Andrew.

I was rather nervous about this because I suddenly realised he was rather unbelievably adorable but I just went over and said “hey how’s it going?”

He gave me like the biggest smile ever and said, “Hey, I’m great, how are you?”

“Great thanks,”  I replied, holding out my hand and introducing myself properly. We shook hands then I said, “I really enjoyed the lecture by the way.”

And he said, “Aww really? Thank you so much!”  I asked, “do you get nervous doing these kind of things or you cool with it?”

And he laughed and said, “Well it’s not too bad because the other guys tend to say more than me anyway and it’s not really a tough audience so…” Then I said, “hey you’re up for a couple of awards tonight aren’t you?”

And he said, “yeah, I hope we win, that’d be amazing. I think they want me to say something though.”

“Better not have too much champagne then,”  I laughed, then he laughed and slapped my arm in a playful kind of manner saying “You’re so right!”

He asked me what I was here for and I told him I was a writer. I glanced across at Mark and noticed he had pretty much finished talking to the other person so I took the opportunity to tap him on the arm and say “hello there!”  And he said, “Hello!!”  in a really over the top way.

And I said, “Can I just ask…how do you actually pronounce your surname, because I get it mixed up…”  (This wasn’t actually true, I just needed a general conversation starter).

So he laughed and told me it was pronounced “GAY-tiss”  and I said I wouldn’t forget it again, then he grabbed my delegates pass to see my name and purposefully pronounced it wrongly and we both laughed about it.

I told him I’d really enjoyed the lecture and he thanked me, then someone else came over to speak to him and our conversation was interrupted, but I moved straight over to talk to Steven instead, who was talking half heartedly to this one other person, but didn’t seem to mind too much when I interrupted. I decided to troll him almost immediately by announcing, “I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out your three clues already.”

His eyes kind of twinkled a little and he said, “oh I wouldn’t be so sure.”

“Well,”  I said, “I know my canon, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.”

“But you can’t trust us,”  he replied, “We could be lying. Purposely being deceptive.”

“Oh I know you are,”  I grinned. “I know you’re being deceptive but I’ve already worked out what your deception is you see, so it’s not a problem.”

“Oh do you think?”

“Yeah I think so…”  I insisted.

“Oh really?”  He raised his eyebrow.

“Yes really…”

“Well we’ll soon see about that…”

I laughed then and said, “Seriously though, good to meet you,”  offering my hand for him to shake again.

He kind of dropped his act for a moment and shook my hand saying “you too”  in quite a nice way, then I moved on because I didn’t want to seem too weird like I wanted to stand and talk to him all night (which obviously I did but still).

I went upstairs with my mum and we settled into our seats for the Awards Ceremony. I was really pleased that Sherlock won both of the awards it was up for! And it was a great opportunity for me to get some pictures of the gang as they went to collect their awards on stage. Because of the nature of the festival it wasn’t exactly the done thing to just take random photographs of them, or ask for me to have their photo with them. It would have been fine at a fan event but I was trying to pass myself off as a relatively normal person with just a general interest in the series. Sorry, Benedict who??

So yeah, I took some photos of them up on stage but because of the distance and the lighting and the fact that it was just on my Blackberry, not all of them turned out great. This was my favourite one:

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After the awards had finished at 7:30pm there was a bit of a gap between then and the party starting at 9:30pm, so we went back to our apartment to get changed and have something to eat. Tonight’s party was the big one, at the George Hotel (which was the hotel where most of the guest speakers and delegates were staying – including the gang, as I found out later).

We got there at about 9:45pm expecting to be one of the earliest but there were already quite a lot of people there. The party only seemed to be taking place in this one quite small room with very loud music and a busy bar. We only got one free drink per person so definitely not as glitzy as the previous night, and at first I was rather disappointed because there was no sign of any of the gang.

As the hours drew on I kind of gave up on the idea of them ever showing up and we were saying that they had probably decided to get an early night because Moffat would have to be up early for the Doctor Who premiere in the morning. We were sat on some sofas in the reception area as some of the party go-ers had spilt out into reception – it was much quiet and cooler and less busy in there, so much better for sitting down and having a quiet chat.

I decided to go on my phone. I was looking at Twitter when I noticed a tweet sent by Mark half an hour previously – a picture of him and Andrew out in some bar or restaurant. I put maximum zoom on the photo and spent the next 20 minutes investigating it SH style, trying to figure out where in the city they might be based on some letterings I could see in the background which I thought might be the logo or name of the venue. I was literally still in the middle of doing this when they all walked in immediately to our left and my mum nudged me and I almost died with excitement and actually turned to my mother and said “the Moriparty has begun”  and she was like “WHAT?!”

So anyway, it was 12:05am by the time they finally arrived at the party so God knows where they’d been or what they’d been up to but they were all quite drunk. I kind of followed them, pretending I was going to the toilet, and I realised there was another room downstairs with another bar in it, and there were actually two sections to the party. So after I’d been to the toilet (because I did actually go I wasn’t JUST following them), I went back upstairs to reception and grabbed my mother, taking her downstairs to this other bar area which was packed full of party go-ers (including the Sherlock gang of course).

I went to the bar and bought me & my mum a fresh drink, then sat down and I really quickly knocked back this pint of beer because I knew I had to go over and talk to them. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. First of all I approached Sue & Beryl who were sat down together. I said congratulations on the awards and they were both really pleased and I said to Sue, “because you didn’t think you were going to win did you?”  and she said no they were really pleasantly surprised, and I said “oh but you guys deserve it..”  and she said thank you.

Next I walked past Andrew Scott pretending I was just going somewhere else and I said “hi”  and he said “Heyyyyy” .

He noticed that I’d changed my shirt and said, “Oh wow, I love your shirt.”

I almost died but held it together and said, “Really? Thanks…”

And he said, “Yeah, good effort…”

Then we started talking about the awards and he said he was really pleased that they’d won.

I noticed that Steven was stood on his own so decided to take the opportunity to grab another chat with him. I went over, touched his sleeve and said…

“’Scuse me Steven…can I ask you a question?”

“Depends what it is,”  he replied.

“What is your favourite Sherlock Holmes story?”

“The ones I’ve written,”  he very quickly answered.

“Oh yeah me too,”  I agreed and we laughed, then he said, “Probably the Speckled Band.”

I nodded and asked, “D’you ever think you’ll do that one?”

“Who knows,”  he said. “We might do bits of it. Or we might not do any of it at all. Or we might do all of it.”  This was clearly a typical Moffat answer.

Then I told him the story about how I was a really big traditional Sherlock Holmes fan. He interjected to say that him and Mark were too. And I said I was aware of that and that they were both paid up members of the Sherlock Holmes society as was I. And I told him how originally I wasn’t so sure about the idea of doing a modern Sherlock Holmes and I initially didn’t want to watch the show until my parents persuaded me and now I really like it (HAHA ‘like’). He said he was glad and I said I was looking forward to the Doctor Who premiere the day after.

“Oh you are? Good…Good…I hope it’s not shit,”  he said.

“Oh I’m sure it won’t be…”

“No it won’t be actually.”

“So you’re pleased with it then?”  I asked.

“Yeah, yeah I am,”  he replied.

“You had a showing in London the other week didn’t you? How did that go?”

“It went really well actually yeah, great response,”  he answered.

Then I went on to tell him about the friend of my father’s who is one of the directors on Doctor Who and Moffat said he knew him well and that he was a nice guy etc etc, so that was quite good as it meant we both knew someone.

Finally I congratulated him on winning the awards and he cheekily said, “don’t you think we deserved it though?”

“Of course you did,”  I replied. “You should win all the awards.”

“My thoughts exactly,”  was his answer then I smiled and decided now would probably be a good time to end this particular conversation before I talked too much and came across as being too weird or completely bored him to death or anything like that, so I held out my hand for yet another handshake and said, “good to see you again…see you tomorrow…”

I went back to the table and told my Mum everything that had gone on. I noticed that Mark was standing on his own now so downed another beer before leaping up and heading over.

I said “hey” to Mark again and he remembered me from our conversation earlier about his name because he grabbed my name tag and repeated his mispronunciation of my surname. Then I asked him the same question as I did with Steven – what was his favourite Sherlock Holmes story. He immediately answered the Bruce Partington Plans, which made me laugh and I said “well of course,”  then he said “closely followed by the Red Headed League. What’s yours?”

“Yeah, Red Headed League is one of my favourites too,”  I replied, “But I also like Silver Blaze…and Charles Augustus Milverton…”

“Yeah Milverton’s a great story,”  he agreed, and we started talking about how he made such a good bad guy because blackmail can lead to many different crimes. He said it would be a really easy one to modernise too. I decided now was the perfect opportunity to tell him about my Sherlock script which is a mixture of Red Headed League, Silver Blaze and Charles Augustus Milverton. He asked me if I’d called it Silver Headed Milverton and I laughed and told him it was just called Silver Blaze and told him a bit about it, that it was using all their characters and it was a BBC Sherlock script etc. He seemed quite impressed and genuinely interested which I was pleased about.

Then someone came over and was saying she was going to be going to bed soon and saying goodnight to Mark. He said goodnight to her and said he’d be going to bed soon too. Then he said, “not sure I’ll get much sleep with all this lot going on though.”  Which was when I realised they must be staying at the hotel, “I’ll have to come down in my dressing gown and give them all a telling off…”

I laughed and said, “You should come down in your dressing gown and your pipe doing a Sherlock Holmes impression…”

He laughed and added, “Tell them all to get out of my living room…”

“Get out I have to go to my mind palace,”  I joked and he laughed again saying, “Exactly.”

I said it was really nice talking to him then moved away again to sit back down with my mother. I didn’t go over to any of them again because it would have seemed too pushy. We stayed for about half an hour then left. As we were walking past Andrew I said goodbye and he touched my arm (yay), and said it was great to meet me, then I quickly asked him randomly whether he’d ever like to be in a Doctor Who episode. He laughed and said, “Oh y’know I’d actually love it but I don’t think Moffat would ever ask me…”  and I said, “Aww I’m sure he would if the part was right for you…”  then he said, “well maybe who knows…” And that was basically it. We left the hotel and got a taxi back to our apartment.

SATURDAY 25TH AUGUST 2012

This morning was the Doctor Who premiere – the first episode of Series 7. It was shown in a big cinema and it was completely packed out. We were really quite lucky to get a seat at all and had to sit separately.

The episode itself was absolutely amazing and epic. Afterwards we were all sworn to secrecy by Moffat who came out onto the stage and was giving a Q&A session with the audience. The best question came from a 7 year old kid who asked whether cybermen could go rusty in the rain. Moffat concluded that they couldn’t go rusty in the rain, but that they could go rusty after long periods of time. It wasn’t exactly a very clear answer but then, no answers ever are where the Moff is concerned.

I didn’t get chance to talk to him because once the session was over he was led backstage and we all had to go out the normal exit and I didn’t see him or any of the gang for the rest of the day so that was it really.

To conclude everything, I just want to say that I’m really pleased by the way all my encounters with the gang went over the course of the festival. I think I got the balance right between being keen and eager but not appearing too obsessive or stalkerish. At least now I have made contact with them enough so that they’ll remember me in the future. I’ve set up my own (non-Sherlock fangirl) Twitter account so I can add them and follow them in a normal manner! Those are my thoughts on a professional level.

On a fangirl level, my thoughts are these: OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD I MET STEVEN MOFFAT AND MARK GATISS AND SUE VERTUE AND BERYL VERTUE AND ANDREW SCOTT AND AAAAAAAARRRRRGHHHHHH AND I ACTUALLY TALKED TO THEM AND ANDREW SAID HE LIKED MY SHIRT AND ME AND MARK LIKE THE SAME SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES AND I MADE JOKES WITH THEM AND STEVEN MOFFAT TROLLED ME AND AAAAARGGGHHHHHHH YESSSSSSSSS YESS YESSS YESSS YESSSS AKJKLDJGLKAJGJDlkfjlskdjglksjfalgjsd;gfkksdjgkjsifghsdhfsdjklgjslkfdgj !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sdgkdsjklfjsdljgksdjkghskdjfiewiorfjkxcvnnxcjbsjfkd !    ! k;lsd sdgfskl 93qr9uoijzg BEST THREE DAYS EVER EVERRRRRREEVERETRJALKGLJOIJIOGJOa

Right then. Thanks for reading.