Sherlock series 3 Christmas broadcast confirmed as BBC unveils festive line-up

A Christmas date with Cumberbatch, a festive Doctor Who and Call the Midwife...and you can also watch Danny Dyer take over the Queen Vic

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Sherlock series 3 Christmas broadcast confirmed as BBC unveils festive line-up
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Christmas means Doctor Who and Sherlock on the BBC and much else besides.

The BBC has confirmed that the year’s biggest television mystery will be answered over the Yuletide period with the confirmation of the return of Sherlock in the Radio Times Christmas double issue.

This means the first episode, The Empty Hearse, will air sometime between December 21 and January 3 and bring to an end the desperation of fans longing to know how Sherlock faked his own death.

The BBC has given no indication of the exact date but fans with a fondness for speculation may be expecting a Sunday broadcast day given it's importance in the weekly schedule and the fact that both previous series of the detective drama aired on that day. That would mean it could air on Sunday December 22 or Sunday December 29.

It is understood that New Year's Day – a Wednesday this year – could also be under consideration as a broadcast date.

The announcement forms part of a slew of seasonal goodies including the first ever picture of the festive episode In The Time of the Doctor and a synopsis which explains that “Clara and The Doctor must go to a quiet backwater planet in order to learn what some strange signals mean for his very existence”.

Also featuring in the BBC’s Christmas lineup is the arrival of Danny Dyer as the new landlord of the Queen Vic in EastEnders and a Call the Midwife special.

Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss’ dramatization of ghost story The Tractate Middoth will air on BBC2 followed by a documentary looking at the work of its writer, MR James.

The Atlantis series finale will air at Christmas as a two-parter over the festive period on BBC1 And following last year’s Mr Stink, David Walliams’ next story, Gangsta Granny will air on the same channel.

Other shows to be given a Christmas special include The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special in which Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood give their tips in its last appearance on BBC2 before it moves to BBC1.

Other favourites include the  Top of the Pops 2 Christmas Special and the period will also see The Call centre’s Nev Wilshire will feature in Call Centre Christmas Choir.

Film premieres include Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, Gnomeo and Juliet, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Little Fockers and Megamind.