‘Sherlock’ creator hints at ‘tragedy’ to come in season four

Detective drama will return for a festive special in 2015 followed by three new episodes in 2016

Fans should brace themselves for “tragedy” in series four of Sherlock, the show’s co-creator Mark Gatiss has warned.

Filming on the next run of episodes begins early next year, with a Christmas special set to air in 2015 followed by a trio of new episodes in 2016.

“You can always expect tragedy as well as adventure; that’s just how it goes,” Gatiss – who co-created the hit detective drama with Steven Moffat – told RadioTimes.com.

However, Gatiss declined to confirm whether this “tragedy” will include the death of John Watson’s wife, Mary, who is killed off in the original Sherlock stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

“It should be clear by now that while, of course, Doyle is our absolute God, we have gone quite a long way away [from them] as well,” Gatiss said. “We’ve introduced Sherlock and Mycroft’s parents – I don’t think they’ve ever been seen in any adaptation – so there are lots of surprises to come.”

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is being tipped for an Oscar nomination for his performance in Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, which opened in cinemas on November 14. His co-star, Watson actor Martin Freeman, will be seen next on the big screen in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which is released in cinemas on December 12.