'Sherlock' Draws Show's Biggest-Ever U.K. Audience in BBC Return

UPDATED: The drama, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, drew 9.2 million viewers with its season-three premiere.

Sherlock made its BBC return Wednesday, drawing the detective drama's biggest-ever overnight audience since its launch on the U.K. public broadcaster.

The New Year's Day episode, the first of season three, attracted 9.2 million viewers in the 9 p.m. to 10:25 p.m. time slot. That outperformed the series' previous ratings record for the opening episode of season two by nearly half a million viewers.

Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as famous detective Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as his sidekick Dr. John Watson, was the most watched show of the day on any U.K. channel, according to ratings data.

One report also said that it was the best performing drama of the Christmas period in Britain, beating the audiences for special episodes of Doctor Who, EastEnders and Downton Abbey.

The third season of Sherlock, which starts airing on PBS in the U.S. on Jan. 19, following Downton Abbey, once again has three episodes.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai