Sherlock’s Christmas treat, Many Happy Returns, hits over 1.5 million views on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button

There's been an amazing response to 'Many Happy Returns'. It vividly demonstrates that we're all enjoying TV in different ways now."Mark Gatiss
Date: 31.12.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.55
Category: BBC iPlayer; Drama
Many Happy Returns has been viewed over 1.5 million times across BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button with millions more watching on YouTube. The mini-episode was an early Christmas treat for viewers and fans in the lead-up to the much-anticipated third series of Sherlock.

Mark Gatiss, writer, co-creator and executive producer of Sherlock, commented: “There's been an amazing response to 'Many Happy Returns'. It vividly demonstrates that we're all enjoying TV in different ways now. Four-and-a-half million viewers on YouTube, one-and-a-half across BBC Red Button and BBC iPlayer! And just for seven minutes of 'Sherlock'. Happily, there's another 90 minutes coming on BBC One, New Year's Day!"

Many Happy Returns debuted on BBC iPlayer on Christmas Eve and was available on BBC Red Button on Christmas Day. Written by the writers, co-creators and executive producers of Sherlock - Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat - the seven-minute drama follows a series of seemingly unconnected crimes stretching from Tibet to India to Germany. Sherlock Holmes has been gone for two years. But someone isn't quite convinced that he's dead…

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman as John Watson and Rupert Graves as Inspector Lestrade, it was produced by Hartswood Films.

Victoria Jaye, Head of TV content, BBC iPlayer, said: “We're delighted that the audience in their millions enjoyed the Sherlock mini-sode we commissioned exclusively for BBC iPlayer. The art of a powerful drama mini-sode is delivering a story that entertains in its own right, as well as builds excitement for a new series. As we develop BBC iPlayer to be a primary entertainment destination, we'll be offering more 'made for BBC iPlayer content' around our big brands, as well as originating entirely new formats exclusive to the service.”

BBC One’s much-praised, multi-award-winning drama Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, returns for an eagerly awaited third series on 1 January at 9pm with the first episode, The Empty Hearse, finally answering the question on everyone's lips: How did he do it? And how will John take the news that his best friend faked his own death?

Sherlock is written and created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock is produced by Sue Vertue and the executive producers are Beryl Vertue, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for Hartswood Films, Bethan Jones for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Jo Pearce is the executive for BBC Online.