It turns out that Martin Freeman may have accidentally let the cat out of the bag on this one (quick aside: why are people putting cats into bags in the first place?). Just a couple of days ago he got Sherlock fans hearts all a flutterin’ when he told The Telegraph that it’d looked “pretty likely” he’d be re-teaming with Benedict Cumberbatch and company to film some kind of holiday special in early 2015, “If that’s going to be a special — I’m speaking off-message here; if this was New Labour I’d get fired — I think that might be for next Christmas.”
Yay? That would still mean that nearly 2 full years will have passed between the start of season 3 and this apparent Christmas special. Actually, that’s pretty much the norm for Sherlock, whose first season premiered in 2010, second season in 2012, and third season in 2014. However, we had previously heard that a fourth season may take even longer to arrive, and they were hoping to make up for it by squeezing in a holiday special into Freeman, Cumberbatch, and show co-creator/executive producer Steven Moffat’s jam-packed schedules.
Well, now we know for certain that that’s exactly what’s happening. Taking to Twitter, using the handle Sherlock – #221back, BBC One has confirmed that Sherlock will return for a special followed by a series of three new episodes. As Freeman said, the special will begin filming this upcoming January while the rest of the season will shoot some time later in the year. BBC further teased/hyped, “We’re ready to unleash the most shocking and surprising series of #Sherlock yet. The only thing is to expect is the unexpected…”
And that’s it. No official confirmation that the holiday special will be for Christmas nor a general release window for the three episodes which will comprise the fourth season. After season 3’s ratings the only thing preventing Sherlock from coming back was the availability of all involved parties, Freemand and Cumberbatch with their movies, Moffat with Doctor Who. So, although it’s been widely assumed there would be a fourth season at some point it’s nice to officially know that it’s actually happening, even if may not even begin filming until over a year from now (for all we know).
By the time the show returns we will have a very assured response to Moriarty’s cliffhanger question posed in the most season finale: Yes, we really, really missed you. This game is so on.
Oh, btw, don’t expect any kind of conventional announcement from the BBC about any specific airdates. As you might recall, last November the network announced the UK airdate for the return of Sherlock “through the window of a hearse that made the rounds of some of Sherlock’s London shooting locations.”
I like you, BBC, but you…you’re crazy.