Martin Freeman has the best quote yet in new Sherlock teaser – but is this the ‘first’ time Holmes and Watson meet?

New footage apparently shows the first (19th century) meeting between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Why are Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's characters starting afresh?

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Stuff Christmas. Each passing day means we’re just a Victorian whisker away from the Sherlock New Year’s Day Special.

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In time honoured tradition, the BBC keep releasing just enough clues to keep us guessing. A new teaser for the Victorian special apparently shows the first ever (19th century) meeting between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson – and dear John immediately gets the better over his remarkable companion.

“You’re not a soldier, you are a doctor,” Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock says to Watson chidingly. Cue classic Martin Freeman Watson comeback…

“I’m an Army doctor, which means I can break every bone in your body while naming them.

We’d argue that’s even more satisfying than a punch in the face. Sticks and stones and all that…

Sherlock and Watson first meeting

Interestingly, the clip also suggests that writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are starting afresh when it comes to the relationship between Holmes and Watson.

This feels like a first meeting: Sherlock tells Watson in the morgue “You’ll do”. That’s not the kind of exchange you have with someone you’ve been working with for years is it? Contrast this with the first meeting in A Study in Pink.

See? Watson’s friend Mike Stamford (played by the always obliging David Nellis) pops up in both clips. He even looks to be wearing the same glasses…

However, other trailers have made it appear that the partnership is fully established: remember the references to previous Sherlock cases, aka “The Dog One”?

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Maybe the Victorian special is planning some time travelling of its own, back and forth through the history of Holmes and his bone-breaking/naming ‘sidekick’. If that’s so, where does Mary Morstan comes in?