We’re not actually supposed to believe that there was no signal on
Sherlock’s phone, right? Network irregularities aside, either most
phones work in the lab or most don’t, and Sherlock would have
switched networks ages ago if this were a persistent problem easily fixed. Further,
he surely knew Mike’s phone-keeping habits already.
Pretending no signal is his first little manipulation of John, a deliberate attempt to extract something more from him. And that’s a quick decision being made in this gif. Notice how his eyes linger when he looks back down? So intrigued.
[I’m sure this is established already but it’s just occurred to me.]
Sherlock never needed a roommate. Either Mrs. Hudson lets him live at 221B for free or Mycroft pays for it. He had already moved in when he asked John, despite “together we can afford it.”
Here’s what happened:
Mike Stamford made friendly conversation with Sherlock in the lab, asking how he was getting on, etc. Sherlock mentioned he had moved to central London.
“Oh really?” Mike said, “How’s the new place?”
“It’s fine, nice enough rooms.”
“Rooms? You get a flatmate?”
“Ha. No. I would be a difficult man to find a flatmate for.”
Then Mike went to the park, saw John, brought John to the lab, Sherlock looked at him for 0.75 seconds and did the slidey, big pupils, toffee eyes thing, realized that Mike had misunderstood, and rolled with it.
77/11/26 or 26th November 1977. I googled it and the very first hit was something called the Southern Television Broadcast Interruption that happened on that date. This is it:
This video is titled “alien broadcast” or something, but it’s actually real footage of a real thing that happened on 26th November 1977 (a real hoax, done by people, not aliens). It was a broadcast interruption through the Hannington transmitter of the Independent Broadcasting Authority in the UK on 26th Nov, 1977. The interruption is generally considered to be a hoax, and the hijaker remains unknown. The interruption lasted 6 minutes, and took over the sound, leaving the video signal unaltered aside from some picture distortion. The speaker claimed to be a representative of the “Intergalactic Association”. It interrupted the news, then transmission returned to normal shortly after. Southern Television later apologised for a “breakthrough in sound”.
An explanation is given for how this security breach could have happened: “At that time, the Hannington UHF television transmitter was unusual in being one of the few transmitters which rebroadcast an off-air signal received from another transmitter (Southern Television’s Rowridge transmitter on the Isle of Wight), rather than being fed directly by a landline. As a consequence it was open to this kind of signal intrusion, as even a relatively low-powered transmission very close to the receiver could overwhelm its reception of the intended signal, resulting in the unauthorised transmission being amplified and rebroadcast across a far wider area. The IBA stated that to carry out a hoax would take “a considerable amount of technical know-how" and a spokesman for Southern Television confirmed that "A hoaxer jammed our transmitter in the wilds of North Hampshire by taking another transmitter very close to it.” However, like the Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion a decade later, the identity of the intruder was never confirmed.
** Which means they had planned the HLV broadcast signal interruption story line before they even made the props for ASiP **
After all that I went on to casually start reading about Max Headroom (a weird thing I actually watched on TV in the 80s when I was little and the satire and subtext of it were beyond me) and found the British made pilot, titled “20 minutes into the future”. Weirdly, it’s very very relevant, and I don’t know if this cabbie number clue was meant to point me towards this, but it did anyway. I pointed out shortly after TLD aired that “20 minutes” had been said quite a few times in TLD, and that it was probably important (also see this and this). Also, mentions of 20 minutes in TLD and elsewhere are almost without fail a reference to something that’s going to happen in 20 minutes time, that is, 20 minutes in the future, as if it’s a countdown to something. Culverton’s life will change in exactly 20 minutes. John asks Sherlock if he will be okay by himself for 20 minutes.
To tell you the short version for now… the movie “Max Headroom: 20 minutes into the future” is about an evil television network hiding a dangerous truth from it’s viewers. People are dying because of this secret, in a most violent and terrifying way. A journalist is working to uncover the truth, and while doing so has an accident and is “brain dead” at one point before resurrecting himself from a morgue and coming back to complete his mission - *spoiler* the hero (the journalist) finally uncovers the truth! And reveals it to all via a live television transmission.
I also like this parallel …The evil television network had taken the face of a dead man (the journalist) and used circa 1985 computer technology to animate his face so that he could continue to appear on camera in order to convince the public that he was still alive. Essentially, they turned him into a puppet.
The fact that we only see Moriarty’s head, and the unusual choice of backdrop for this shot of dummy!Jim which looks like it might possibly have been inspired by the amazing Max Headroom animation grid background..
…is all hopefully just a reference to the fact that someone was using Jim’s image to trick the public into thinking he was still alive when he wasn’t (even though in the movie he was actually still alive). Basically, the movie is about the media as a villain, hiding truths from viewers and brainwashing them, and a small band of rebel journalists (from within the evil media) who go on a mission to reveal this truth to the public. And they do reveal it, and the rebels win :) You can watch the movie here.