The BBC has announced that the first episode of Season 4 of Sherlock will premiere on 1st January 2017.
The series will be shown on BBC One in the UK, and on PBS Masterpiece in the US.
Titles for the first two episodes of Season 4 have already been confirmed. Episode 1 is titled ‘The Six Thatchers’, leading to speculation it will be a take on Conan Doyle story ‘The Six Napoleons’, during which the detective investigates the theft of six busts of Napoleon Bonaparte. Episode 2 is titled ‘The Lying Detective’, and is thought to be loosely based on the Conan Doyle story ‘The Adventure of The Dying Detective’.
The premiere was announced on Facebook and Twitter using a teaser image which showed Holmes’ violin with a broken string. Actor Toby Jones, who played scientist Arnim Zola in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and voiced Dobby in the Harry Potter Franchise, will debut as a “legendary villain” from the Holmes stories in the series’ second episode.
— Sherlock (@Sherlock221B) October 26, 2016
Production of season 4 began in April this year. Series creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss have described the series as a continuation of the “same story” developed in previous episodes, suggesting that past cases could have an influence.
Earlier this year, star Benedict Cumberbatch suggested that Season 4 could be the show’s last, describing it as “the end of an era”. His (and co-star Martin Freeman’s) increasing involvement in other film and TV projects have led to long gaps between each series. Cumberbatch stars in Marvel’s Doctor Strange (which will be released on November 4th), and is expected to reprise the role in Avengers: Infinity War. Freeman is currently shooting thriller Cargo.
Cumberbatch suggested that the drama may have reached a natural ending point, explaining it could be “pretty hard” to immediately follow on from the ending of Season 4. He did, however, admit it would be “really galling” to not play the character of Sherlock Holmes again.
Watch the trailer for Season 4 below: