It's been one of television's best-kept secrets, and it turns out Andrew Scott's had to remain tight lipped for, well, a very long time...
According to the Sherlock actor, producers always had Moriarty's return in the pipeline and it wasn't much of a challenge to persuade the 37-year-old to reprise his Bafta-winning role as the psychopathic nemesis to Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock:
"They didn't have to convince me to come back because we knew all along Jim Moriarty would return. That's what we always planned to do," he told the Daily Star Sunday.
Sherlock's nemesis had previously looked to be a goner after he turned the gun on himself on roof of St Bart's Hospital during the series 2 finale. But viewers tuning into the closing moments of series 3 earlier this month caught a glimpse of Moriarty appearing on every television screen in Britain with the message, "Did you miss me?"
Speaking about the years of hype ahead of the show's third outing, Scott recalled, "I kept getting asked if Moriarty would ever return and I said they could assume whatever they pleased. It was always a question that was probably left unanswered."
But while co-creator Steven Moffat has since revealed that he and Mark Gatiss have already plotted out the whole of series 4 and 5, Scott is wary of overexposure for his chilling villain: "I think it's very important with Moriarty that you don't overuse him. I think the reason he's been a success is because he has a mystery."