Maybe the BBC should make viewers wait two years for every show they bring back. It certainly seems to have worked for Sherlock, which has been officially announced as the broadcaster's most watched drama series in the UK since 2001, when the current ratings measurement system came in.
Consolidated viewing figures (including seven days' worth of catch-up on set-top boxes) show that an average of 11.82 million people tuned in for the recent third series of the detective drama.
In fact, first episode The Empty Hearse – in which fans finally discovered (sort of) how Benedict Cumberbatch's detective survived his rooftop plunge – was watched by a staggering 12.72 million, which will put recent ratings big hitters like Call the Midwife and Hayley's Coronation Street farewell in the shade, even when the final numbers are in.
“Making a series we love this much is its own reward," said Sherlock producer Sue Vertue, "but this figures news doesn't hurt.”
Fans will be hoping the wait for the next season isn't as long as the last, and at a recent screening of the final episode Vertue gave them some hope, promising "We're working on dates".