In a sly publicity stunt in London this morning, the BBC confirmed the UK airdate for the return of hit detective drama Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will be back as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson on January 1, 2014 on BBC One; they return to PBS in the States a couple of weeks later on January 19th. The first episode in the new three-part series is titled The Empty Hearse, and this morning just such a vehicle made the rounds of some Sherlock shooting locations in the British capital, sending Twitter wild – and bringing confirmation of the news from the show’s producers. The hearse wasn’t entirely empty, though, since it contained a funereal floral arrangement spelling out the New Year’s return date which sees the series pick up two years after Holmes was last seen plummeting from St Bart’s Hospital in Season 2 finale, The Reichenbach Fall. Here’s a pic courtesy of the BBC:

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