“Ten years ago, at 9.05pm on 25 July, something revolutionary happened. The initial few scenes of the BBC drama Sherlock, which began airing at 9pm that night, are nothing special. The first episode starts with a low-budget combat montage, interspersed with shots of Martin Freeman, tossing and turning in bed. Then he’s with his therapist, talking about life after the army. Then we see three apparent suicides, people crying and taking pills under duress. Then a press conference held by Inspector Lestrade, who insists: “There’s no link yet, but there has to be one.”
After he says this, a single word starts to pop up all over the screen, ping-ping-ping, and the assembled journalists carry out a gesture which now feels as unconscious as breathing. They pick up their phones.