Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss has let slip some new details about the opening instalment of the forthcoming third series, which will see the detective return from the dead after surviving a seemingly fatal fall from a hospital roof.
Episode one, The Empty Hearse, will involve scenes set on the London Underground rail system and is influenced by the recently rediscovered missing Doctor Who adventure The Web of Fear, says Gatiss.
The BBC revealed this week that the Patrick Troughton Who story has been recovered and restored to its former glory after having been lost for 45 years, and Gatiss marks it out as having had a significant influence on him – and Sherlock.
"I am obsessed with the Tube and I think it all comes from that story when I was a kid," said Gatiss at the launch of the recovered Doctor Who adventures. "The first episode of Sherlock is explicitly about the London Underground for exactly that reason – because I love The Web of Fear!"
Exactly what Sherlock will be doing in the winding tunnels of the Tube network remains to be seen but it is very possible he will be running from – or indeed after – some of late villain Moriarty’s vengeful henchmen.
The original Arthur Conan Doyle story, The Empty House, which resurrects the great detective after his apparent death at the hands of his enemy, sees Moriarty’s right-hand man Colonel Sebastian Moran attempting to assassinate Holmes, forcing the detective to lay low until he can turn the tables on his adversary.
Gatiss was clearly excited, not only by the chance to use his love of the iconic London Underground in one of his own creations, but also by the return of the two second-Doctor stories, which also include The Enemy of the World.
"I can't really believe it," said Gatiss. "Every single avenue seemed to have been exhausted – to have two virtually complete stories out of the blue is absolutely incredible.
"This is such a gift in this anniversary year – it's amazing timing."