Sherlock is returning for a new three-part series, probably on New Year’s Day 2017.
And with the demise of Andrew Scott’s chilling Moriarty (or so we are supposed to think) there’s a new baddie in town – and he’s played by Detectorists and Marvellous star Toby Jones.
“About the only thing I’m allowed to reveal is that I’m indeed a baddie,” Jones told RadioTimes.com of his character. “I think that even, I’d say, I’m really bad.”
The new series sees Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) back on British soil once again as Watson and his wife Mary (Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington) ready themselves for parenthood.
Write Steven Moffat has said that Jones’s character is “one of Doyle’s finest villains” but, with so many baddies popping up in the 56 short stories and four Sherlock Holmes novels, one can only hazard a guess as to his identity. Not that fans haven’t tried.
One possible candidate is Jephro Rucastle, the antagonist from The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Another is John Clay, the enterprising bank robber from The Adventure of the Red-Headed League.
The most likely, however, seems to be Grimesby Roylott, the evil stepfather in one of Moffat’s favourite stories, The Adventure of the Speckled Band. Roylott kills people with the aid of his venomous snake and a spark of stunning ingenuity.
Three years ago Moffat said he would love to adapt The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
“If you haven’t read the The Speckled Band, go read The Speckled Band,” he told the audience at San Diego Comic Con in 2013. “It makes no sense at all, but there’s something exciting on every page. I read it when I was very young, and I thought, ‘It doesn’t get better than that.’”
Before his Sherlock turn you can see Jones in The Secret Agent this Sunday (17 July), BBC1’s tense three-part adaptation of the Joseph Conrad classic about the owner of a soft-porn emporium who gets caught up in terrorist intrigue in Victorian London.
Jones’s character is a troubled and unpleasant man called Verloc. In the book he is called Adolf but the producers decided, for understandable reasons, to change his first name to Anton.
“I think it would be very distracting if you called a character Adolf,” said Jones.
The Secret Agent starts on BBC1 at 9pm on Sunday 17 July