"There's obvious resonance there..."
Digital Spy sat down to chat with brilliant British actor Toby Jones this morning, to discuss his surreally silly audio-story 'The Egg That Knew Too Much', currently available as a free download for Audible users as part of their Too Cracked For TVproject.
But, because it's us, we also discussed Jones's incredible turn in the most recent series of Sherlock, as chilling villain Culverton Smith - getting his take on the Jimmy Savile comparisons that trended on Twitter on broadcast night...
Your performance in Sherlock got a terrific response. How did you craft the character and what were some of your inspirations?
"Well, Mark Gatiss rang me and said he'd written this part with me in mind. Which is both a flattering thought, and then you read the part and you realise 'Oh, that's very not me, thanks so much, Mark' [laughs].
"Mark talked a lot about the source material, and we talked about various moguls and media figures, areas where larger than life figures meet everyday life. Sherlock itself is already quite heightened in style, and these figures can exist in a way they can't exist in The Bill - they couldn't exist in more earth-bound, less fantastical series than Sherlock.
"We talked about various figures in the media who were the inspiration for their adaptation of the character. We chatted about costume, orthodontics and weight.
"On one level it's very pleasing to play someone who's so loathsome who will do anything to cheat. There's a flash image where I win a charity race by pushing people out of the way, and there's something just laugh-out-loud funny about that. The character was meant to be very sinister, but there's also a Terry Thomas evil about him as well."
The character was based on a wide range of media figures, but the Twitter reaction really focused on one person - how did you feel about that Jimmy Savile comparison?
"I'm not sure it made me feel anything. I thought Jimmy Savile is one of the inspirations for the character. There's obvious resonance there. Our society is still wounded by a lot of that, by what happened in the '70s, '80s and beyond, by these figures that we were fed.
"I think it's inevitable that these are nightmarish figures in our culture. They continue to be nightmarish figures, because it's an area of shame. It wasn't meant to be Savile specifically at all, it draws on other people further back, who I could mention by name, who I'm not going to, who are also in that area."
Would you like to reprise Culverton Smith if the series does ever return?
"Well, of course! [laughs] I don't know if that would ever happen, but there's many characters that you'd like to return to and he's definitely one of them."
And, if not, he will exist beyond, in our imaginations, I'm sure…
"[laughs] Well, I hope so, yeah."
Speaking of imagination, what can you tell us about the Too Cracked For TV story you're reading?
"What appealed to me is it's about what we all dream of as citizens. We live our daily life, we follow our daily routines, and we're hoping - all of us - for some message that we are something special and extraordinary, that something is going to happen to take us out of our ordinary routine. In this case, something as routine as eating a boiled egg is the moment a message is received by the hero of the story. I love stories where something very ordinary is the portal into something fantastical."