‘Sherlock’ Special Promised By Moffat, Historical Holmes Gets A Dickensian Makeover

Stephen Moffat has confirmed that an upcoming Sherlock special will be set in the Victorian era.

Moffat – co-creator with Mark Gatiss (who plays Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, on the BBC show) – set the confused minds of Sherlock‘s fans at rest at a recent SXSW panel, amid gossip sprung from images which appeared last month of Benedict Cumberbatch (Holmes) and Martin Freeman (Watson) filming in period costume around London. There had also been a teaser image of the duo in Victorian garb released without comment.

As the Inquisitr reported, the Christmas special of Sherlock will indeed be set well over 100 years earlier than its current time-frame, sitting comfortably within the Victorian era in which Arthur Conan Doyle originally had Holmes sleuthing.

“The special is its own thing. We wouldn’t have done the story we’re doing, and the way we’re doing it, if we didn’t have this special. It’s not part of the run of three episodes […] It’s Victorian.”

Conan Doyle first introduced Sherlock Holmes to the reading public back in 1887 and one of Holmes’ abilities – as described in the four novels and 56 short stories the author wrote until 1927 – was to successfully adopt any disguise. This, combined with Moffat’s own expertise in adapting his work to different eras (given his writing for Doctor Who), has no doubt lent to the current Sherlock show the perfect opportunity to give fans something special, with a Dickensian extra flourish.

As the Guardian reports, the Sherlock special will not replace the normal three-episode run of the modern show, due to return to screens in January 2016. Rather, sometime in December 2015, if not New Year’s, avid viewers of Oscar-nominated Cumberbatch in Sherlock guise will be treated to a special, more authentic version of their favorite spy. Indeed, The Independent reports that Moffat is “very pleased” with the resultant Sherlock special.

It’s been a long wait for fans of Sherlock. The last season occurred in January 2014, beginning with “The Empty Hearse” episode’s reply to Season 2’s cliffhanger death of Sherlock, revealing his actual survival, but not quite giving a firm reason, only multiple hypotheses. “The Sign Of Three” then dealt with Watson’s marriage to Mary, and Season 3 ended on “His Last Vow,” which saw Sherlock exiled from the United Kingdom following his murder of the villainous Magnussen, and viewers were faced with the terrifying possibility of Moriarty still being alive. That’s a long cliffhanger.

Not much has been revealed as to plot for the fourth season, besides the script’s ability to move much of the cast to tears. What is certain, is that no fan of the super sleuth will be missing the Sherlock Christmas special. Indeed, that’s elementary, my dear.

[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]