Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are just about to return to BBC this New Year with Sherlock Series 3 and with such a climactic end to the second 3 part season, creators Mark Gatiss (Coreolanus, Donmar Warehouse) and Steven Moffat (Twelfth Dr. Who) have got a lot of explaining to do in the first episode when it airs in late 2013/early 2014. However, if the first two series of the hit, modern-day BBC adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes are anything to go by they should pull it off with a modicum of genius and aplomb.
While the BBC hasn’t as of yet announced the official air date for the new three part adventure, our best guess is that it’ll be the first three Sundays after Christmas, which was the case with the second series in 2012. That would put the first of the 90 minute shows down to air on Sunday the 29th December, with episode 2 going out on the 5th January 2014 and the final episode on the 12th January 2014.
To give everyone a feel for what’s to come, the Beeb has released the first image for the new series, which features Martin Freeman (The World’s End) as Dr. Watson sitting alone in a cafe in London with Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness) as Sherlock Holmes looking in at him through the window, just out of Watson’s line of sight. If you haven’t seen the second series yet, you might want to look away now as spoilers are about to ensue.
The image is a clear reference to Sherlock’s rise from the grave and the significant explaining he needs to do to tell Dr. Watson why he had to fake his own death. The mystery of how he he managed to pull it off should also come to light, which is bound to be pretty genius, a bit like a much cooler, inverted Jonathan Creek disappearance trick. Jumping off a roof isn’t exactly an easy process to survive, while appearing to all intents and purposes to be dead.
The first episode of series 3 is called The Empty Hearse, and it has been written by Mark Gatiss. The upcoming crime at the heart of the next adventure hasn’t been released yet either, but we do know that the episode will need to deal with the awkward news that John Watson has managed to fall for Mary Morstan while Sherlock has been off pretending to be dead. It’s based on the Arthur Conan Doyle original, The Adventure of the Empty House, from The Return of Sherlock Holmes series published back in 1903, in which Holmes also surprises Watson with his return from the ashes.
The second episode of Sherlock Series 3 has been revealed as The Sign of Three, written by Stephen Thompson, and the final episode, His Last Vow, has been written by Stephen Moffat.
If you missed any of the episodes from the first two series, you might want to check iPlayer in the run up to the air date of the 3rd series in the hope that the BBC will replay them. If that sounds like too much left to chance, both of the earlier series have already been released on DVD.