Sherlock's back for Christmas special plus 'shocking and surprising' three-part series
The BBC has revealed that hit detective drama Sherlock will return for a special, followed by “the most shocking and surprising” series yet.
Shooting on the special is scheduled to begin in January 2015 with filming for the three-episode series due to start later next year.
A series of tweets posted on the official Sherlock Twitter feed told fans that “after the briefest of exiles, Sherlock will return to face one of his biggest mysteries yet”.
Another picture of the super sleuth’s nemesis, Jim Moriarty, was posted, along with a caption pondering why his face is “being broadcast on every television in the land”.
A tweet yesterday confirmed the exciting news would be revealed this afternoon at 2.21pm, sending the show's dedicated fanbase into overdrive.
A series of mysterious tweets leading up to the announcement had seemed to suggest Moriarty could be back again, with BBC One posting: "'Did you miss me?' #221back. #Sherlock" with a still of Moriarty announcing his last return to the show during an episode where his face and a message reading "Miss me?" popped up on TV screens.
Later, BBC One added: "It's all gone dark... Something's coming... Or someone. Details at 2.21pm tomorrow. #221back #Sherlock."
Show co-creator Mark Gatiss also tweeted: "It's all gone dark... Something's coming... Or someone..."
TV bosses had already said the show would return and Freeman said in an interview at the weekend that a Christmas edition was being planned.
The writer and co-creator of the series Steven Moffat said: "A special, plus a new series of three episodes - it's a record-breaking run.
"Of course, it's far too early to say what's coming, but we're reasonably confident that the very next thing to happen to Sherlock and John, is the very last thing you'd expect ."
The hit detective drama, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson, was last seen on screens in January this year.
Since then, fans have been concerned by a number of rumours about the drama, including reports that the show will not be returning until 2016, and that it will return as a one-off special with no series.