With Sherlock Season 4 not due to start filming until next year and not expected on our screens until early 2017, it's been a long sad drought for fans since season 3 ended back in 2014.
But, it's not all doom and gloom whilst we wait, for Sherlock series creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have managed to get the busy cast together long enough to film a very special Christmas Special (oh Moffat, you and your Christmas specials).
In case you've somehow missed it, here's the trailer:
What Do We Know So Far?
Apart from the fact that Martin Freeman has a wonderfully pimpin' moustache of course?
A New Backdrop & Setting
The Christmas Special will see Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) displaced from modern London into the Victorian era, 1895 to be exact (according to IMDB).
Fun fact: 1895 is an important year in the Conan Doyle chronology as it's the year in which Sherlock was killed off at the Reichenbach Falls, also described as his "best year". The number repeats throughout Doyle's stories and in the BBC's Sherlock.
"We’ve got, I think you can safely say, the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of a generation – we want to see them do it in the proper outfits, just once. That makes them the only two who've done both [period and contemporary] - apart from [Basil] Rathbone and [Nigel] Bruce, who we venerate, of course."
Moffat has claimed that the main motivation between going back to the Victorian era is to showcase Sherlock and Watson in their original costumes, personally I think he's just really got a thing for the Conan-era deerstalker hat.
Speaking of Doyle, the only Doyle story set at Christmas is The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, which involves Holmes and Watson investigating a missing jewel of the same name as said adventure. The jewel is found in the throat of a goose dropped by a man on the street, who did not know that the jewel was there. Holmes discovers that the man arrested for the theft has been framed, and they set off to find how the jewel ended up in a goose and catch the real thieves in the process. It's a fun little adventure, and it could be a nice adaptation if they keep it in the Christmas theme of things.
Sherlock Is Going to Be Nice?
"Sherlock is a little more polished [in the Christmas special]. He operates like a Victorian gentleman instead of a posh, rude man. He’s a lot less brattish." - Moffat
Maybe it's just me, but I find a polished gentleman version of Cumberbatch's Sherlock to be a little hard to imagine. The actor himself has expressed concern that fans won't like this change in attitude; after all, it's Sherlock's abrasive personality that forms the core of this character in the modern adaptation. But he's optimistically excited about the change too, and it'll be very interesting to see him take on a closer approximation of the Doyle Sherlock Holmes.
Wait, This Is the Moriarty Resolution?
Mark Gatiss, speaking in an interview last year, said that the Sherlock special will "solve the mystery completely". What mystery, you ask? Well I'll tell you.
When asked if this would be the last we would see of the well-loved villain, Gatiss responded: "Well, it's very hard to put a lid on Andrew Scott..."
So is Moriarty really still alive, or this this just a trick played from beyond the grave? Andrew Scott is down on the cast list for the special, but there's no indication yet as to what his role will be.
Also, how exactly this is going to work out when Moffat has said this episode will stand alone rather than being part of the chronology remains to be seen, especially with the Victorian era setting, but we expect great things.