Sherlock ’s one episode special airs on Jan. 1 in the U.S. and the UK on Masterpiece on PBS and BBC One, respectively, at 9:00 p.m. local time. The 90-minute episode, titled Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, will be a stand-alone episode set in the Victorian era.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are back as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in a long-awaited one-off episode that will have to tide hungry fans over until the show’s fourth full series.
Set to air on New Year’s Day on BBC One, here’s what we know so far about the special – which is being held firmly under lock and key.
1) It’s set in the Victorian era
Of course, you knew this already – for this one-off special, the writing duo of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have gone back to the time of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.
While one of the charms behind the success of Sherlock has been the clever updating of the classic mysteries, it remains to be seen whether the whole thing works when you take that notion away.
2) It will somehow tie back into the main series
Now here’s a brainteaser worthy of Holmes himself. Despite the Victorian setting, Benedict Cumberbatch has said that “it’s a stand-alone story, but not without any relation to the series”.
Will we see the modern versions of Sherlock and John Watson somewhere in the special? Please don’t end it with it all being a dream or an opium-fuelled vision, Moffat.
3) The title is inspired by a reference in one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories
We now know that the special is called The Abominable Bride – a title which is a reference to a minor mention in Sherlock story The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.
The exact quote from the novel is: “the case of Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife”
And, well, that’s it – so we don’t have a huge amount to go off for plot, though Steven Moffat has frequently referred to the special as a ‘ghost story’.
4) The whole gang is back
Of course Holmes and Watson are here, played once again by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, but the rest of the cast are back too.
Amanda Abbington returns as Mary Morstan, Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Rupert Graves as Lestrade – it’s a proper Sherlock reunion.
What about Andrew Scott as Moriarty? The actor might have been busy filming Spectre, but don’t rule out at least a cameo appearance.
5) You can watch it in the cinema – if you’re old enough
If the TV feels just a bit small, you can experience Sherlock on the big screen too – plenty of cinemas across the UK are showing The Abominable Bride on New Year’s Day.
It’s worth noting that it’s been given a 15 certificate by the BBFC for “strong violence, drug references, suicide”, so any younger viewers might be better off watching from home (if they’re allowed).
Maxine J. Martin