Sherlock series 3 air date confirmed

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will return to screens on Wednesday 1 January for The Empty Hearse, the resolution of the dramatic Reichenbach Fall mystery

Happy New Year, Sherlock fans! The detective will be back from the dead on the evening of Wednesday 1 January, for series three opener The Empty Hearse, which will finally reveal exactly how Benedict Cumberbatch’s super sleuth Sherlock Holmes survived his dramatic tumble from the roof of St Bart’s Hospital in The Reichenbach Fall.


The news was confirmed in appropriate style by a funeral hearse driven through the streets of London this morning bearing the date of Sherlock’s return written in flowers alongside the now-familiar hashtag #SherlockLives.

Co-creators Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and co have so far kept a tight lid on exactly how Sherlock manages to outwit his arch nemesis Moriarty (played by Andrew Scott) and recover from what appeared to be a deadly plummet. While his faithful sidekick John Watson (Martin Freeman) was mourning his demise, viewers were afforded a glimpse of Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective watching over his own grave. 

While a veil of secrecy hangs over the exact events of series three, we do know of a new villain who will feature when the drama returns in January with The Killing actor Lars Mikkelson confirmed to play Sherlock’s “terrifying” new enemy, Charles Augustus Magnussen.

Trailer footage has also revealed Martin Freeman’s Watson sporting a bushy moustache and My Mad Fat Diary actress Sharon Rooney heading up a group of Sherlock superfans who are sent a message revealing their hero has survived. 

The return of the detective drama had previously been rumoured to take place on 29 December, a primetime Sunday night slot. It is not yet clear whether the second two instalments of the drama will continue running on Wednesday evenings or switch to a more desirable Sunday schedule after the New Year’s Day broadcast.