The BBC have announced that their award-winning Sherlock is returning to BBC1 on New Year's Day at 8.10pm with the 90-minute adventure "A Scandal In Belgravia" (which introduces Lara Pulver's character Irene Adler), described by the BBC thus:
Compromising photographs and a case of blackmail threaten the very heart of the British establishment, but for Sherlock and John the game is on in more ways than one as they find themselves battling international terrorism, rogue CIA agents, and a secret conspiracy involving the British government. But this case will cast a darker shadow over their lives than they could ever imagine, as the great detective begins a long duel of wits with an antagonist as cold and ruthless and brilliant as himself: to Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler will always be THE woman.
"A Scandal In Belgravia" (written by Steven Moffat) will be followed by two more feature-length instalments (Mark Gatiss' "The Hounds Of Baskerville" and Steve Thompson's "The Reichenbach Fall") over the next two Sundays. Paul McGuigan (Gangster No1, Push) returns to direct the first two adventures, with Doctor Who's Toby Haynes directing the finale.
Steven Moffat, co-creator/writer:
"Last time nobody knew about us and there was some scepticism about 'modernising' Sherlock Holmes. And now look at Benedict and Martin, they are so famous in those roles! So far the series has sold in over 180 countries worldwide, so it's a very big change. Well this year, knowing we were a huge hit, I suppose we felt let's do the three big things, The Woman, the Hound and the Fall.
Instead of making people wait years and years, we thought--to hell with deferred pleasure, let's just do it now, more, sooner, faster! That also means we see three different sides to Sherlock. We have Sherlock and love, Sherlock and fear and Sherlock and death. He definitely goes through the mill in this new series.
[Co-creator Mark Gatiss and I] are the biggest Sherlock Holmes geeks in the world. This has become such an enormous international hit, it's sort of preposterous, it's like our vanity project, it's our hobby. And yet everybody has joined in!
We think of them as films because they are ninety minutes long and once we knew we weren't doing hour long episodes they needed to be on that sort of scale. They have to have the size and weight of a movie.
I think the first series was more about John Watson being redeemed from being a massively traumatised war veteran into a bit of a hero. This year it's more about the forging of the mighty Sherlock Holmes.
We've almost forgotten how good the characters of these stories are. They're not just an old artifact that has become, by accident, venerated. They are in my opinion, without a doubt, the biggest hit in fiction, since their launch over a 100 years ago in the Strand Magazine, it's now a hit movie series and a hit television series right now and its down to the characters who are perfect, they are brilliant.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes:
"With series two we wanted to move the characters on, but at the same time you want to tick some of the boxes that made the first series so popular. Now John and Sherlock are established as a team, there are still a few 'I can't believe he's doing that' moments, but on the whole they form a united front. The characters are evolving, and they're facing some of their biggest challenges yet. I think if anything has changed, he [Sherlock] is gaining humanity.Martin Freeman, who plays John Watson:
I think the audience can expect three incredibly different films. The first episode is going to be about the heart, whatever that may be for Sherlock. The second episode is about horror and suspense and the third is going to be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and a thriller, so expect love, horror and thrills!"
"John [Watson] is not about to start doing deductions, but you kind of need John there, what he brings to 'the game' isn't the same as Sherlock, but it's kind of useful doing, as Mycroft says with disdain, 'the legwork'. John can do different legwork to Sherlock, but he'll do it all the same. It's pretty much more of that really, I mean there's only so much you can develop John's role in the deduction because then it's not Sherlock anymore. it has to be primarily about him, and that's the only way to do it, with John as backup.SHERLOCK returns on New Year's Day, BBC1 (HD).
All that I require, as an actor, and as an audience, is that it's good backup, that it's interesting and it's three-dimensional, because otherwise I can't see the point of being here, and I certainly wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't interesting.
I remember the first time I went on set, there was this beautiful slightly shambling, slightly chaotic, but classically designed room, that you can believe is a Victorian room. There are a lot of houses in London that look a bit eccentric, they're a mish-mash of designs and periods, and it's completely believable."