Sherlock season 5: Steven Moffat, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and the BBC on whether show will return

Will busy Hollywood schedules get in the way of Sherlock returning? 

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The Independent Culture

The fourth season of Sherlock has all-too-quickly concluded, leaving fans reeling over numerous unanswered questions and an unquenched thirst for more mystery-solving. 

Unfortunately, a fifth season of the BBC drama is all but certain, mainly thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s hugely busy schedules. 

Despite both actors saying they would like to return, there’s an increasing amount of doubt over season five. So, what have the show runners said so far? 

Steven Moffat, one of the show’s creators and writer, said at a recent screening: “If this is the last time - and I’m not planning on it to be, but it might be - it is possible that we could end it.”

He continued: “We couldn’t have it ended it on any previous series because they always ended on walloping, great cliffhangers."

Previously, Moffat has hinted season four could be the end of Sherlock but has consistently remained optimistic, saying back in July: “I would be moderately surprised if this was the last time we ever made this show. But it absolutely could be.”

Benedict Cumberbatch, meanwhile, has previously gone out of his way to rubbish rumours the show would not be returning. Speaking to AP, he said: "We love doing the show and all I'll say about it is that we're all very busy… For now, it's not going to happen again at the same regularity that it has been happening.”

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More optimistically, he added: "But we'll see, we'll never say never and when it's right, and if it's right, we'll do more.”

The most pessimistic member of the cast remains Martin Freeman, who told Radio Times: "Truly, I don't know how long it will go on. But these days we want everything yesterday, we're never sated, we want what's next, what's next, what's next. And I think, 'Wow, there's hours of telly you haven't watched yet,' you know? So let's just enjoy them.”

Even with all the uncertainty, the BBC remain as optimistic as ever, with RT claiming a BBC source believes another series definitely won’t take place next January but is “reasonably hopeful” regarding a new series the following year.

Chances are the broadcaster may be rethinking plans to commission another series: the last episode saw Sherlock's audience drop to an all-time low for the show, overnight ratings seeing under 6 million people tune in. However, much of this may have been due to the episode leaking early in Russian.