In The Sign Of Three, when John enters 221B Baker Street, he finds Mrs.Hudson laughing hysterically. When asked, she replies telegrams. What was so funny about the telegrams?

JOHN: Mrs Hudson?

MRS HUDSON: Oh, hello, darling!

JOHN: You all right?

JOHN: I was – I was coming to see Sherlock, and I thought you were ...

MRS HUDSON (giggling): Go!

JOHN: ... possibly dying.

MRS HUDSON: Oh,sorry!

JOHN: What’s wrong?

MRS HUDSON: The-the telegrams!

JOHN: Sorry,what?

MRS HUDSON (giggling): Oh, sorry, dear!

Source for Transcript: Ariane DeVere

  • 4
    The telegrams seem to be explained in the very next scene. Sherlock reads from them as the Best Man. They were sent to their flat and she read them first and laughed at the bits that Sherlock felt difficult to read. She was probably imagining him trying to read things like "squishy cuddles" and "oodles of love." Indeed we do see her laughing while he's reading at the wedding. May 27, 2014 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


What was so funny about the telegrams?

The telegrams are actually short letters from guests who could not make it to the wedding, sending their wishes to the newlyweds.

SHERLOCK: First things first. Telegrams.
(He picks them up and shows them to the guests.)
SHERLOCK (quick-fire): Well, they’re not actually telegrams. We just call them telegrams. I don’t know why. Wedding tradition.

(Same transkript, next scene)

It is the best man's job to read them at the wedding.

It was my understanding that Mrs. Hudson was thinking about how Sherlock would have to read all those emotional letters, filled with words of endearment, out aloud, and the thought amused her.

He is a very rational character and has little empathy for such kind words, so he is probably the worst man for the job. In fact, he ends up skipping most of them because he simply finds them unnecessary and irritating:

SHERLOCK (reading the next card): “To John and Mary. All good wishes for your special day. With love and many big ... (he breaks off, then continues slowly) ... big squishy cuddles, from Stella and Ted.”

(He looks up, blinking rapidly. Greg sniggers and Molly smiles.)

SHERLOCK (reading the next card): “Mary – lots of love, ...”

(He breathes out an almost silent, ‘Oh’. John and Mary look up at him.)

JOHN: Yeah?

SHERLOCK (disparagingly): “... poppet ...”

(He loudly sounds the ‘t’ at the end of the word. John and Mary giggle.)

SHERLOCK: “... Oodles of love and heaps of good wishes from CAM.”

Then, after a moment he loses all hint of patience.

SHERLOCK (looking at the next card): Um, “special day” ... (he drops the card onto the table and looks at the next one) ... “very special day” ... (he drops that one, then continues working rapidly through the next ones) ... “love” ... “love” ... “love” ... “love” ... “lo...”; bit of a theme – you get the gist. People are basically fond.
(There’s some laughter from the guests.)

The guests end up finding this funny, mostly because they know how uncomfortable this is for Sherlock. This was probably also what Mrs. Hudson was anticipating and what was making her laugh.

  • Maybe I should have put my comment as an answer, seeing as how it was the same thing as this just five minutes earlier, but it didn't/doesn't answer the whole post. I was waiting for it to be broken up, while also trying to help out the OP in meantime. : ( May 27, 2014 at 22:04
  • I saw your comment just after posting my answer. The explanation was not really hard when you have seen the episode, because it was explained in the very next scene. I think you should still post your comment as an answer, it can not hurt to have two answers explaining the topic with different words.
    – magnattic
    May 27, 2014 at 22:15
  • And yes, I am also waiting for the post to be split, I am actually holding back my answer to question #2 until then to not contribute to the double question/double answer style.
    – magnattic
    May 27, 2014 at 22:16
  • 1
    I disagree about similar answers not being useful and would certainly upvote your answer if you decide to post transform your comment after all. If you really don't want to, feel free to edit the quotes into my question as you see fit.
    – magnattic
    May 27, 2014 at 22:54
  • 1
    Done and done. I think it's a fine answer and I'm glad we helped each other to flesh it out. I always want more points, but even more than that I want to get good answers out there. Glad to have collaborated. May 27, 2014 at 23:14

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