Is Sherlock over or will there be a fifth season?

Writer Mark Gattis says he's struggling to pin down Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman


What can we expect from The Abominable Bride?

25 November 2015

Sherlock is among the highlights of this year's festive television line-up – and this year there is a special twist: the show's characters have been restored to Arthur Conan Doyle's original late-Victorian setting.

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The seasonal one-off will be entitled 'The Abominable Bride', and will be shown on New Year's Day. In a Sherlock first, it will air in the United States on the PBS network on the same day as the BBC broadcast. Even more excitingly for fans of the hit detective drama, the episode will be simultaneously broadcast in more than 100 cinemas. Viewers who can drag themselves out of bed and get down to their local multiplex will be treated to a special screening that will include behind-the-scenes footage and other bonus material.

So what can we expect from the Abominable Bride?

The BBC synopsis reveals that the episode will be set in 1895, although viewers are assured that some things remain "reassuringly" the same: "Friendship, adventure and, especially, MURDER..."

One Thomas Ricoletti is said to be "surprised" to see his wife in her old wedding gown just a few hours after she took her own life. Her ghost appears to be "prowling the streets" with a thirst for revenge. "From fog-shrouded Limehouse to the bowels of a ruined church, Holmes, Watson and their friends must use all their cunning to combat an enemy seemingly from beyond the grave and the final, shocking truth about...the Abominable Bride!" says the synopsis.

Joining stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the special are series regulars Una Stubbs (Mrs Hudson), Amanda Abbington (Mary Morstan) and Louise Brealey (Molly Hooper). Misfits star Natasha O'Keeffe will also play the role of "Emilia Ricoletti", believed to be the Abominable Bride.

The official trailer for the special suggests a gothic Victorian Christmas is in store, with creepy manors, dimly lit halls, a hooded order of brethren and plenty of nervous cries of "Who are you?"


Cumberbatch has said he thought the writers had "finally lost the plot" when he heard about the Victorian episode, but added that once they had pitched it properly he decided it was "absolutely brilliant".

Showrunner Steven Moffat has attempted to explain the effect of the time-travelling episode: "A lot of it when you look at it, you think, it really is the same show. It really is the same, and yet every single detail you're looking at is different."

Viewers will need to make the most of the special, however, as they face a long wait to see series four. Moffat has made a vague pronouncement that filming will begin in "April-ish" 2016, as producers scramble to co-ordinate a shooting schedule for the increasingly in-demand lead actors, but no other details have been leaked as yet.

The good news is that, even if they are a long way off actually filming scenes, Moffat and co know where they're going with series four, promising "dark stuff" for the detective duo.

"Obviously it's great fun and a Sherlock Holmes romp and all that – but there's a sense of things coming back to bite you," he told fans at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year.

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