Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the TV series Sherlock.
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the TV series Sherlock. Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films

The wait's nearly over for Sherlock fans

IT'S been a long three years between seasons for fans of the best British television show there is, Sherlock.

That was the last time a new episode within the show's usual time frame aired.

Fans got a one-off period piece episode, The Abominable Bride, last year and as good as it was, it wasn't quite enough for those who waited - and waited - to find out what actually happened to their beloved characters.

Well now the show is back and if the previews are anything to go by, co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have remained true to form in season four.

The world is bleak, the coats are dark and there is major trouble coming for the eponymous character of Sherlock, played with aplomb by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Cumberbatch's take on the famous literary detective is the most riveting part of the show and arguably the role that launched him to worldwide fame.

He has, of course, since gone on to acclaimed film roles in Doctor Strange, The Imitation Game, The Hobbit and Star Trek Into Darkness.

But back to Sherlock. His character can be expected to suffer this season because his nemesis Jim Moriarty is back.

Sherlock and his colleagues had believed Moriarty dead at the end of season two. Sherlock even went into hiding to destroy the master criminal's network.

But here we are in a new season with the same enemy, and Sherlock fans will love it.

Other old favourites have returned too.

Dr John Watson, played by Martin Freeman, returns as the straight sidekick to Sherlock's sociopath detective.

Watson's wife Mary, played by his former real-life partner Amanda Abbington, also returns.

She was revealed in the season three finale to be an assassin and spy. She also happened to be pregnant, and fans should expect a new little character to arrive early in season four.

There is at least one other new character who will win over Sherlock's patient fans. A bloodhound has joined the cast this time around and featured in the show's early promo shots.

The new episodes have retained the 90-minute formats of the previous seasons. I'd suggest savouring them.

Season four of Sherlock will be available to stream on Stan from Monday.