Up until now, Sherlock creator Steven Moffat has been reluctant to label the impending Victorian episode as a “Christmas Special,” and we now know why. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will return in January of 2016, as confirmed by a new trailer and photos from Sherlock: The Abominable Bride.

The BBC confirms that the new Victorian-set special will air on the same day in the U.S. and U.K. on Friday, January 1, a first for the series. Not only that, but the fourth season will commence production in early 2016 for an unknown airdate.

So reads the official description provided by PBS for Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, along with a few new photos:

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) return as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the acclaimed modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories. But now our heroes find themselves in 1890s London. Beloved characters Mary Morstan (played by Amanda Abbington), Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) also turn up at 221b Baker Street.


When last we heard, showrunner Steven Moffat had plotted through a potential fifth season of the series, while the fourth was projected to shoot sometime in 2016. Along with the surprise resurrection of Season 3 finale “His Last Vow,” Moffat also specified that Sherlock Season 4 would likely see increased roles for the women of the series, particularly Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), potentially adding new female characters into the mix as well, as part of “Sherlock’s gradual humanization.”

You can check out the latest trailers for the Victorian Sherlock special above and below, but might we garner any hints of the fourth season from The Abominable Bride?