The BBC have today announced the commissioning of a one-off special episode and a fourth season (comprising of three further 90-minute instalments) of their critically lauded detective drama Sherlock to be filmed in the not too distant future. Coming hot on the heels of the broadcast of the programme's (once again) acclaimed third season, the news acts as a metaphorical brush with which the production team can sweep away the constant queries regarding the Great Detective's on-screen future which have been thrown their way ever since the credits rolled on "His Last Vow".
As is the case with virtually any new Sherlock info, however, a "good news, bad news" situation presents itself at this juncture, since there's still going to be a fair old wait between now and the première of the four stories on BBC One. Martin Freeman recently tipped off the Radio Times to the possible existence of a future Christmas Special for the series, which could indicate that the Special will air on December 25th, 2015, but the broadcaster's press release provided little in the way of concrete evidence with which to back up this presumptuous hypothesis.
What did crop up in said press release were plenty of comments on what we can expect from Season Four courtesy of execs Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss as well as key figures from the Beeb such as its Drama Controller Ben Stephenson. Here's a round-up of their oh-so-infuriatingly vague teasers and tidbits:
- BBC PRESS TEAM- "After the briefest of exiles, Sherlock came back [in "His Last Vow"] only to face one of his biggest mysteries yet. Why is Moriarty's face being broadcast on every television in the land?"
- STEVEN MOFFAT (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)- "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..."
- MARK GATISS (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)- "Series Four! At last! It's always special to return to Sherlock but this time it's even more special as we're doing...a Special! Not only THAT, we'll then be shooting three more episodes which will take Sherlock and John Watson into deeper and darker water than ever before. The whole Sherlock team are terrifically excited to return for four new adventures. The Game is on - again!"
- SUE VERTUE (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)- "It's taken a little while to get the dates sorted as none of the boys are exactly sitting back twiddling their thumbs but there was unanimous goodwill to make this work, so we're thrilled that 221b is going to be inhabited again."
- BEN STEPHENSON (BBC DRAMA CONTROLLER)- "Steven and Mark are ready to unleash the most shocking and surprising series of Sherlock yet. The only thing to expect is the unexpected..."
Sherlock will return with a new Special (set to commence shooting in January 2015) in 2015, while the broadcast window for Season Four (which will shoot later in 2015) still TBC.