Idris Elba will return to Luther for a two-part BBC1 special next year

"Luther is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work"

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Luther fans can breathe a sigh of relief – the drama will be returning to BBC1 with a two-part special next year, the BBC has confirmed.

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The Wire and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom star has found time to commit to filming the two hours of drama in March for a broadcast sometime next year.

The special will pick up the story from the jaw-dropping conclusion to the last (third) series which aired back in July 2013. It showed Luther and the narcissistic killer and obsessive Alice (Ruth Wilson) strolling across Southwark Bridge together after another action-packed adventure which saw the death of Luther’s partner and best friend Justin Ripley (Warren Brown).

“Ever since we said goodbye to John Luther on Southwark Bridge, there’s hardly been a minute when I didn’t wonder what happened next,” said writer and creator Neil Cross. So I decided to find out. We’re putting the band back together; Luther is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work.”

The BBC confirmed the news at a showcase tonight, attended by director-general Tony Hall, where the corporation revealed its forthcoming drama projects.

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The confirmation comes a day after Fox announced a forthcoming US remake, and in the same week that Elba tantalised viewers by saying that he would like to see the character return. He told this week’s Radio Times that he was “desperately trying” to make a special of the show. And it seems he has now succeeded.