Merry Christmas Sherlockians! Yes it seems the festive season has hit early as the BBC have confirmed that a special episode of ‘Sherlock’ will be airing next year, ahead of series four in 2016. The news was first announced by producer Sue Vertue who tweeted the first image of Sherlock and Watson, along with a cheeky script tease.

The image showed stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in strangely Victorian style dress, which puzzled fans considering the series is set in the present day. It also had Freeman’s Watson sporting a rather fetching new moustache.

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But a few eagled eyed fans also noticed the rather epic photoshop fail which had a chunk of Cumberbatch's shoulder missing. The photo was later replaced with a new image featuring Cumberbatch’s shoulder thankfully in tact.

Vertue’s original tweet also included the caption ‘'#221back #Sherlock #notkidding’’, while she also revealed there had been script a read-through earlier in the day. The producer is married to ‘Sherlock’ co-writer Steve Moffat who created the series alongside Mark Gatiss.

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Last week Gatiss told the Radio Times that fans should expect “tragedy as well as adventure,” from the series’ fourth season. However the writer also dismissed star Martin Freeman’s assumption that Watson’s wife Mary would be killed off at some point.

“While we play fast and loose with the original stories, we generally follow the trajectory of what Conan Doyle did," Freeman told The Telegraph . “So [John] gets married, and then Mary dies – so at some point presumably she’ll die.”

SherlockSherlock and Watson as we're used to seeing them

But thing’s aren't so straightforward in Gatiss’ adaptation, "Just because it’s in the stories doesn’t mean it’ll happen in the series because there’s an awful lot of changes and an awful lot of places to go and things to do," the writer said.