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The new series of 'Sherlock' finally has an air date

Tom Huddleston

At last! We have a firm date with Benedict Cumberbatch. The new series of 'Sherlock' has been years in the making, largely because since the show first aired in 2010 Cumbers has become an Oscar-nominated megastar and his sidekick Martin Freeman has been busy making some also-fairly-popular films about dwarves. Well, three years after the last full series (and one year since that slightly ropey one-off special) the wait is finally over. In time-honoured 'Sherlock' fashion, the new series is set to begin on January 1, 2017, offering precision-tooled comfort viewing to nurse the nation's hangover.

So what do we know about the new series? Well the first episode is titled 'The Six Thatchers', presumably referring to guys who make roofs rather than half a dozen clones of the former PM (we know 'Sherlock' can get a bit scary, but that'd be going too far). The second instalment is called 'The Lying Detective', which may or may not refer to our hero, and may or may not refer to him telling falsehoods and/or reclining in some fashion. We know Toby Jones is in it, playing a villain said to be familiar to fans of the books, and we know it's going to be pretty dark and intense because this trailer is full of doom, gloom and glowering.

Showrunner Stephen Moffatt has implied that this series might be the last. At the start of production last spring his official announcement read: 'Ghosts of the past are rising in the lives of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and terror and tragedy are looming. This is the story we’ve been telling from the beginning and it’s about to reach its climax.' But frankly we don't want to think about that right now.

Actually we'd be stunned if this really is the end - the cast and crew seem to get as much of a kick out of making 'Sherlock' as we do watching it, so we're sure they'll find some excuse to come back. And hopefully this time it won't take three long years.

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