Sherlock will return to BBC One for a third three-part series this winter.
This news summary will be updated regularly as more details are revealed. Rumours and unconfirmed reports will be marked with a *.
Executive producers: Beryl Vertue, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
» “The delay is completely insignificant as far as the [airdate] is concerned. It was just to fit around Benedict Cumberbatch’s schedule. We’ve got two scripts in second drafts. I haven’t started yet because I’m still finishing up with Doctor Who. We’re fine. The production delay means nothing at all. I was never going to present over the summer in the UK so this doesn’t affect that at all.” (Steven Moffat)
» “Moriarty’s a one-shot deal in the original [books]. I don’t want [Sherlock] to turn into a show that’s about one villain and one hero.” (Steven Moffat)
» “Hopefully there’ll be a shift [in the Molly/Sherlock relationship]… he’s asked for her help and he’s let her in in that way.” (Louise Brealey)
» “We’ve got a good beginning, got a stormer of an end and we’ve got a stunning development in the middle… We want three must-see films.” (Steven Moffat)
» “[Moriarty is] not going to be in [Series 3].” (Steven Moffat)
» “Between Dr Who AND Sherlock I’m like a nerd-secrets-piñata. If struck with a stick by a chubby child I’d spew Geek treasure.” (director Colm McCarthy)
» “I think they’re talking about [airing Series 3 in] the winter. Around Christmas but I’m not quite sure when.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)
» “Molly and Sherlock are not going to happen the way Tumblr thinks it will happen. Wait ‘til you see what [Molly] does this season.” (Sue Vertue)
» “I don’t think I said you wouldn’t be seeing me [return as Irene Adler]. I said there are other key characters they’re introducing.” (Lara Pulver)
Episode 1: ‘The Empty Hearse’
Filming begins: Monday 18 March 2013.
Official synopsis: “Two years after the devastating effects of [Series 2’s finale] ‘The Reichenbach Fall’, Dr John Watson has got on with his life. New horizons, romance and a comforting domestic future beckon. But, with London under threat of a huge terrorist attack, Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave with all the theatricality that comes so naturally to him. It’s what his best friend wanted more than anything, but for John Watson it might well be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’! If Sherlock thinks everything will be just as he left it though, he’s in for a very big surprise…”
» Teaser: “Rat.” (Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss)
» “We know what we’re doing. If Sherlock Holmes is going to fake his own death, it better be the best faked death of all time. I think it’s pretty good.” (Steven Moffat)
» “There’s certain things about ‘The Adventure of the Empty House’ which feel set in stone because that’s how Sherlock comes back, but at the same time we feel free to invent and to introduce new stuff to it. I always found it a little unlikely that Dr Watson’s only reaction was to faint for instance – as supposed to possibly a stream of terrible swear words.” (Mark Gatiss)
» “‘The Empty House’ is a good starting point…” (Mark Gatiss)
» “I don’t think people will be disappointed [by the Series 2 finale explanation]… I’m looking forward to how people react to it.” (Louise Brealey)
» “Fainting might not quite cut it [when Watson discovers Sherlock is still alive]” (Martin Freeman)
» “Even we on reading the script aren’t quite sure [how Sherlock survived in Series 2’s finale]. Mark Gatiss is a clever fellow.” (Martin Freeman)
» “You are in for an absolute stonker. It’s going to be a treat. It’s a terrific episode.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)
» “Amanda Abbington joins … in a role that significantly impacts upon the lives of John and Sherlock.” (BBC)
» “[Mark Gatiss], Steven Moffat and I all know what happened [during Sherlock’s fall in Series 2’s finale]. It’s kind of an agreement between the three of us. It’s not like poor Mark was handed a poison chalice, ‘Go on, sort that lot out!'” (Stephen Thompson)
» “[Sherlock] cunningly avoided the pavement – that really is the only way to avoid dying. There’s only a limited number of ways he can do this. He’s got to interrupt his fall before he hits the pavement.” (Steven Moffat)
» The episode is set in November. (Steven Moffat)
» “We did a few false shots. There will be things that people saw [being filmed on location] that have nothing to do with it. That’s the way we handled it.” (Jeremy Lovering)
» “[Sir Arthur Conan] Doyle skirted around it, but this is a different world. You can’t just lie to your best friends about being dead.” (Mark Gatiss)
» “Now things are moving on, with John Watson getting married. Sherlock, being the way he is, wants everything to stay the same. But real life is flowing around him.” (Steven Moffat)
» “…there’s a reunion that doesn’t go as planned…” (Benedict Cumberbatch)
» “The first episode of [Series 3] is explicitly about the London underground … because I love [Doctor Who story] ‘The Web of Fear’.” (Mark Gatiss)
» “[Mary Morstan] becomes this kind of third wheel. I’m sure Mary won’t be particularly liked by [fans], but I hope that on the whole people really like her, because she’s a great character and she has some fantastic secrets.” (Amanda Abbington)
Episode 2: ‘The Sign of Three’
Writer: Stephen Thompson, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Director: Colm McCarthy.
Guest cast: Amanda Abbington, Helen Bradbury as Emma, Nicholas Asbury as The Landlord, Oliver Lansley, Yasmine Akram as Janine, Alistair Petrie as Major Sholto, Georgina Rich as Charlotte, Trixiebell Harrowell, Wendy Wason as Robyn McDonald, Alice Lowe, Ritu Arya as Gail, Tim Chipping, Laura Dale as The Girl, Alfred Enoch as Bainbridge, Will Keen plays Colonel Reed.
Official synopsis: “Sherlock faces his biggest challenge of all – delivering a Best Man’s speech on John’s wedding day! But all isn’t quite as it seems. Mortal danger stalks the reception – and someone might not make it to the happy couple’s first dance. Sherlock must thank the bridesmaids, solve the case and stop a killer!”
» Teaser: “Wedding.” (Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss)
» “Lovely day for a wedding.” (Sue Vertue)
» “…you find out a lot more about why he is the way he is, you have little hints of back story which just remind people that he grew up – he wasn’t just born Sherlock.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)
» “There’s a lovely arc there [with Mycroft] which gives a lot more insight into them as brothers and where they came from. There is a really interesting glimpse of the hold they have over each other which hasn’t really come to light until this series.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’
Official synopsis: “A case of stolen letters leads Sherlock Holmes into a long conflict with Charles Augustus Magnussen, the Napoleon of blackmail, and the one man he truly hates. But how do you tackle a foe who knows the personal weakness of every person of importance in the Western world?”
» Teaser: “Bow.” (Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss)
» “I think we’ve got a climax to [Series 3] that will have people just as frustrated as they ever were.” (Steven Moffat)
» Episode title for Series 3 Episode 3 will be cryptically revealed during BBC One’s repeats of Series 2. (BBC)
» “You’ll be watching the end of the last episode thinking, ‘They wouldn’t stop it there?! They wouldn’t stop it there?! Oh my God, they wouldn’t stop it there?!’” (Steven Moffat)
» [Charles Augustus Magnussen] is a businessman – he’s not a mad chaotic villain… He is so measured and precise – he is like a shark, a terrifyingly perfect predator of our age.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)
» “It’s particularly important you end on a fantastic third one and the third episode in the third series is stellar. Everyone’s work on it is great and it’s a Steven Moffat special which is always good, but they are all so good! I was very, very excited when I read this one – it’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read.” (Martin Freeman)
» “Lars Mikkelsen is fantastic, he is a brilliant villain. For those who will miss Moriarty, which is totally understandable, we have another fantastic nemesis for Sherlock and John – he does it superbly.” (Martin Freeman)
What are your hopes for Series 3? Let us know below…