Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin FreemanSherlock is unlikely to return to BBC One this year it’s executive producer, Sue Vertue, has said.

The second series of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss modern-day update of the classic sleuth drew to a close last Sunday. Before the finale aired, The Reichenbach Fall, there was some debate as to whether or not a third series would follow. The BBC remained tight-lipped over the drama’s future while it was suggested the end of The Reichenbach Fall would not allow a new series.

However, following the episodes broadcast Steven Moffat revealed on Twitter that a third series had been ordered by the BBC along with the second. It was later suggested the third series would air later this year. However, Sue Vertue – Sherlock‘s executive producer, has dismissed the possibility of Sherlock airing this year. The producer wrote on Twitter ‘Sorry to be a killjoy but @steven_moffat didn’t actually mean S3 of #sherlock would tx before end of year. I think that is sadly unlikely’

The availability of lead actors Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch is likely the reason another series will not air this year. The actors have both been cast in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit – which will be spilt into two movies – with Freeman playing the lead role of Bilbo Baggins. Benedict Cumberbatch has also been cast in J.J Abrams forthcoming Star Trek sequel in which, reports suggest, he will play the villain of the piece.

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