BBC Promotes 'Sherlock' Return With Hearse


The U.K. public broadcaster will air the first of three new episodes of the Benedict Cumberbatch show, entitled "The Empty Hearse," on Jan. 1, ahead of the U.S. return on PBS.

LONDON – A black funeral hearse with a floral arrangement spelling out the name "Sherlock" and the date 01/01/14 cruised around the British capital on Friday.

It was part of a BBC promotion heralding the return to U.K. screens of the hit detective show of the same name starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, respectively.

The London hearse also carried the hash tag #sherlocklives in the funeral driver's window.

The new season picks up two years after Holmes was last seen falling from a building in season two's finale, "The Reichenbach Fall."

The BBC aimed to ignite anticipation for the show's third season with the not too subtle publicity stunt for the first episode in the new three-parter, which is entitled "The Empty Hearse." The first episode will air Jan. 1 on the public broadcaster's flagship channel BBC One.

The season's second episode will air just later that same week on Jan. 5, with the third and final episode of the season scheduled for Jan. 12.

The drama airs on PBS in the U.S., with the third season scheduled to kick off there on Jan. 19.

The BBC had already flagged its intention to make the show a big part of its holiday programming in the U.K., but hadn't confirmed U.K. dates so far.