Sherlock series 3: Fans react on Twitter

There was a flood of fan posts amid some critical and more amusing commentaries...

Over nine million people tuned in to watch the first episode of series three of Sherlock as it aired after much hype on New Year's Day.

Benedict Cumberbatch's lead was last seen jumping from the roof of St Bart's Hospital in the series two finale, "The Reichenbach Fall" but as trailers and pictures emerged ahead of the detective drama's return, it was clear he had not died.

Cue a flood of predictions, conspiracy theories and disbelief - plus a decent spattering of fan ecstasy that their hero is alive to solve another mystery. Last night's show promised to explain how Sherlock managed to elude death but even a cameo from acclaimed illusionist Derren Brown could not make things as clear as many fans were expecting.

Twitter was hit by a deluge of fan posts, discussing the as yet still unrevealed explanation behind Sherlock's death in the series two finale.

Some viewers noted that the episode had been targeted primarily at the show's already established fanbase - there was a cameo from Sharon Rooney as a Holmes conspiracy theorist and fan-club member and Benedict Cumberbatch's real-life parents appeared in the role of Sherlock's folks.

While many fans were taking Sherlock's return to detective mastery as a very serious matter indeed, there were plenty of light-hearted, jokey tweets flying around the Twittersphere. After all, the mystery surrounding the hero's death is still open to interpretation.

Was that other much-hyped BBC drama Doctor Who involved per chance?

Frankly, some people don't give a damn.