Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have revealed the title of the second instalment in the new series as The Sign of Three, adding fuel to the idea that this could be the season in which John Watson finally meets his love match.
The title is a play on that of Arthur Conan Doyle novel The Sign of Four, which sees Dr Watson encounter the enchanting Mary Morstan, who he later marries.
Speculation that viewers might see John wed in series three began last August with the announcement of the three words – “rat”, “wedding” and “bow” – that Gatiss and Moffat say could define the episodes. And it resumed a fortnight ago after news broke that Freeman's real-life partner Amanda Abbington had joined the cast.
When asked today whether the new title was confirmation that Abbington would indeed be playing Freeman’s onscreen love interest, Gatiss and Moffat simply repeated the official quote circulated two weeks ago, that Abbington's is “a role that significantly impacts upon the lives of John and Sherlock”.
Fans of the original Sherlock Holmes stories will know that Watson’s marriage sees him moving out of the Baker Street rooms he shares with his friend. But they will also be well aware that clues dropped by Gatiss and Moffat can be deliberately misleading…
The Sign of Three is written by Steve Thompson, who penned series one episode The Blind Banker as well as the dramatic season-two finale The Reichenbach Fall.
Last month, Gatiss revealed the title of episode two of series three as The Empty Hearse, a possible hint at one of the elements that helped the detective fake his death.
Filming is currently under way on the first two episodes of series three, and is set to resume for the final instalment after a summer break.