BBC’s “Sherlock” is returning this New Year, Jan. 1, with a special one-off episode to the delight of all the merry Sherlockians and Holmesians alike. However, it’ll be a rather chilly Christmas for the fans, as the dynamic duo are set to be haunted by the spectre of “The Abominable Bride,” a ghost of a murdered woman in her wedding gown walking the cobbled streets of a cold, foggy Victorian London. She is the avenging ghost bride.

The story is set in 1895 and is a reference to the quote -- “Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife,” a case mentioned by Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan-Doyle’s short story “The Adventure of The Musgrave Ritual.” The trailers and publicity stills released so far indicate a return to Doyle’s roots.

According to series writer Mark Gatiss, who plays Sherlock’s elder brother Mycroft Holmes in "Sherlock," the special episode is a classic Sherlock Holmes murder mystery with a ghost thrown into the mix to give it a gothic flavour. The special is also having a theatrical release in four territories, including U.K. and the U.S. in January.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who has won the hearts of viewers worldwide as the definitive Sherlock of our times, cuts a fine suave figure of a 19th century English gentleman. The “Star Trek: Into Darkness” actor uncannily resembles the late Jeremy Brett, who is still held by many as the definitive Sherlock Holmes. And with his well-combed and noticeably shorter hair, three-piece suit and frock coat, Cumberbatch is a far cry from the more sleep-deprived devil-may-care look that he sports on “Sherlock” episodes set in modern-day Britain.

The late 19th century Victorian Sherlock may be more handsome and a bit conservative and uptight, but the eyes are the same -- icy-cold eyes which hint at a sharp intellect but also conceal, very carefully, a vulnerability which makes Cumberbatch’s Holmes more human.

It is a pleasant surprise to see how convincing Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who plays Dr Watson, look as late Victorians. The set decorations are subtle and transports one to a bygone era filled with steam engines and top hats and pocket watches without looking too operatic. Gatiss told that the dialogue was written to be more formal; befitting the era. However, Gatiss adds that it isn’t “a museum piece” and is “just as fast, funny, silly and exciting as the regular show.”

In the end it is the direction and above all, in a Sherlock Holmes tale, the actors who make or break the story. And from the little glimpses offered in the trailer, there appears to be no reason to be apprehensive. Cumberbatch and Freeman have the same odd-couple chemistry that “Sherlock” fans love.

There is no sign of a Victorian Moriarty though. He does not appear in the cast list as well. Perhaps he’s lurking around somewhere, amid all the fog and steam-filled streets, keeping an eye out for a certain tall gentleman in possession of a deerstalker hat and a pipe between his lips.

Watch the latest trailer for “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride,” -


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