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Sherlock ‘Curly Fu’ Holmes finds large, devoted audience in China

The third season of “Sherlock” premiered in the U.K. on Jan. 2 and in the U.S. on Jan. 19. But one of the largest fan bases for the BBC program is far from the West, in China. Video trailer by BBC

Americans got to watch the Season 3 premiere of BBC’s “Sherlock” Sunday night on Masterpiece Mystery, almost two weeks after the U.K. television premiere. But Chinese audiences got to watch the episode only two hours after the British broadcast.

Several video websites, such as Youku.com, translated the episode after the broadcast in England, and within 24 hours, more than 5 million people had watched the latest adventures of the world’s only “consulting detective.”

“I am always super excited to see him on the screen and murmur, ‘Wow, so beautiful’ every single time,” Zhang Jing from Tianjin, China, told the Associated Press.

More Chinese fans watched the first episode on Youku.com in the first two weeks after the premiere (14.5 million) than the average BBC audience for first-run episodes (8-9 million), according to the AP’s report.

The AP reported that video websites in China are largely exempt from most censorship applied to Chinese television broadcasters and, therefore, can show more foreign programming considered “too violent or political for state TV.”

Fun fact: In China, Sherlock Holmes is known as “Curly Fu,” a nickname that nods to the character’s Chinese name “Fuermosi” and British actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s floppy hairstyle.

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