Season 3 of BBC's wildly popular series "Sherlock," the modern day Sherlock Holmes is returning October 31, 2013 according to this countdown widget:

<div align="center" style="width:140px;border:1px solid #ccc; background: #070003; color: #FFFFFF;font-weight:bold;font-size:12px;margin-bottom:0px;padding-bottom:0px"> <a style="text-decoration: none; color:#F9F9FF;" mce_style="text-decoration: none; color:#F9F9FF;" href="" mce_href="">Sherlock Series 3 Countdown</a></div>

The long gaps between the seasons have driven fan hunger for information about the show to new levels, with Sue Vertue asking fans to refrain from spoilers and posting set photos:

Hi, Sue Vertue here.

As many of you are aware, we'll soon be embarking on our first London leg of filming for series 3. I'm also aware that there is quite a lot of speculation about where we're shooting when. I can't stress how much we the Producers and Benedict [Cumberbatch], Martin [Freeman] and the rest of the cast appreciate your love and dedication to our show - we'll endeavour to live up to your expectations for Series 3.

What I am nervous about is that our London shooting schedule is punishing and will really give us very little time to interact with you. The actors really hope you understand that.

Also, and I know this is probably asking a lot, the majority of fans and indeed ourselves would REALLY appreciate it if you didn't post pictures or spoilers or ideally our daily locations.

Thanks for your understanding. Sue x

The fan obsession with the show it understandable, Steven Moffat speaks of what makes the stories compelling, "Conan Doyle's stories were never about frock coats and gas light; they're about brilliant detection, dreadful villains and blood-curdling crimes -- and frankly, to hell with the crinoline. Other detectives have cases, Sherlock Holmes has adventures, and that's what matters."

sherlock holmes season 3 release date the empty hearse the sign of three premiere benedict cumberbatch martin freeman arthur conan doyle Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The tumblrs setlock and sherlockfilming have a whole slew of set photos including some with Benedict Cumberbatch (Holmes) hiding behind the distinctive Queen's Guard wearing a bearskin hat. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (Watson) were both spotted filming on the streets of Cardiff (Pics HERE). The fan site Sherlockology also has some interesting pictures and information about the upcoming season.

The reliability is somewhat dubious since BBC hasn't given an official release date. About six months ago it was believed that the next season wouldn't be released till 2014 to U.S. viewers because the production date was pushed back till March 2013. On the other hand, Cumberbatch mentioned a fourth season, "We've agreed to two more series but I could get into trouble for saying that. All I know at the moment is I'm doing these three [episodes of the upcoming series] and another three." This was denied by Steven Moffat though who said, "We were all in a state of shock at BBC drama," but he added "If everyone wants to do it there will be a fourth [series]."

sherlock holmes season 3 release date the empty hearse the sign of three premiere benedict cumberbatch martin freeman arthur conan doyle Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Doyle wrote a lot of books, with plenty of plots and the writers of the series are fairly creative themselves, so there's no reason we couldn't see many new seasons.

Warning: Major Spoilers And Season 3 Plot Speculation Below

sherlock holmes season 3 release date the empty hearse the sign of three premiere benedict cumberbatch martin freeman arthur conan doyle Credit: Mark Gatiss via Twitter

It has been confirmed that the first two episodes of the 3-episode Season 3 series have been filmed with the title for episode 1 given as "The Empty Hearse." The information comes from Mark Gatiss who writes, produces and plays Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother on the show:

Clearly the series will pick up where we left off, with Holmes having faked his own death following his clash with Jim Moriarty during 'The Reichenbach Fall'

The potential plots of the coming series appear like they might be based off the shorty story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Empty House."

One of the main highlights of the original story is Sherlock explaining how he managed to survive his presumed death in a struggle against the villain Moriarty. As fans will recall, the television version of Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) also appeared to have died at the end of Season 2. Of course, he's still alive, so finding out how that works will be an interesting part of the Season 3 premiere.

The plot of "The Adventure of the Empty House" involves a Moriarty lieutenant, Colonel Sebastian Moran, trying to take out a wax effigy of Holmes visible from the empty house across the street from 221B Baker Street. Although this obviously has no ill effect, Sherlock does make his public reappearance after a three-year absence. There is also a murder to be solved -- a young gambler is found shot to death in a closed room.

Episode 2 will be titled "The Sign of Three," written by Steven Thompson. Speculation is that the second episode will be based on the novel 'The Sign of Four' where Dr. Watson meets Mary Moirstan, whom he later gets married to. The rumors are fueled by the three hints given by co-creators Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Sue Vertue: 'Rat', 'Wedding', 'Bow'. The wedding is considered to be a reference to Watson's wedding and the introduction of his love interest, while bow is likely a reference to 'His Last Bow,' a World War I spy story by Arthur Conan Doyle which is not narrated by Watson and instead is in third person.

Rat could be a reference to 'The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire' where the following line appears, "Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson, ... It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared." There is also 'The Valley of Fear' and 'The Boscombe Valley Mystery,' where 'rat trap' and 'rat' are mentioned by characters.

Filming began March 18th 2013. oduction for episode 2 to conclude May 23rd, 2013 with episode 3 set to film a few weeks after. So basically the last episode is filming RIGHT NOW.

Which means we could have the next season in just another month or two if we hope very hard.

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