In Depth

Sherlock: fans tantalised by hint of Moriarty's return

Twitter teaser promises 'biggest mysteries yet' and hint of a return for Moriarty in new Sherlock

The game is once more afoot for millions of fans after the BBC confirmed the return of its hit series Sherlock via Twitter.

The announcement came after the launch of a mysterious hashtag campaign, #221back, which revealed at 2.21pm yesterday that a 2015 Christmas special would be followed by a three-episode series.

"Miss me?" #Sherlock, the hit @BBCOne drama, will return for a Special, followed by a series of three new episodes. #221back

 

— BBC One (@BBCOne) July 2, 2014

Series creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss also gave hints about what is to come. Gatiss promised the episodes would enter "deeper and darker water than ever before", while Moffat said "the very next thing to happen to Sherlock and John is the very last thing you'd expect."

The tweets also suggested that Moriarty, Sherlock's arch-nemesis, could return from the dead to play a key role in the new series. The most recent episode ended with an image of the master criminal accompanied by the message, "Did you miss me?"

"That sound you can hear is the whole of Sherlock fandom simultaneously exploding with a combination of excitement and frustration," said Metro, referring to the programme's passionate online fan base.

Speculation centres on whether Moriarty will really return, or if he "is reaching out from beyond the grave via some diabolical scheme automatically launched in the event of his death".

The Guardian called the promise of the villain's return a "tantalising prospect", but also cautioned that writer Moffat "has not been averse to misinformation in the past".

On its TV blog, the paper helps the writers out with some story and casting advice. It suggests adaptations of The Boscombe Valley Mystery and The Man with the Twisted Lip, and offers Rupert Grint, Eddie Redmayne, and Cillian Murphy as candidates for supporting roles.

But Sherlock fans can be as demanding as they are helpful. The Daily Mirror has compiled a list of the "seven things fans need from the Christmas Special". Along with Moriarty's resurrection, they include an increased role for Louise Brealey's Molly Hooper and the return of cunning dominatrix Irene Adler.

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