It's been one year, six months, and 18 days since the last episode of BBC's Sherlock hit TV screens — and one year, six months, and just under 18 days since fans started asking when the next series would air. To date, it's all remained frustratingly vague, with everyone repeating ambiguous metaphors about "doors remaining open." But a behind-the-scenes figure just hinted that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's Sherlock could be back sooner than any of us realised.
You'll recall Speedy's Sandwich Bar & Café, situated just to the right of one 221B Baker Street. It's more than an exterior for the show: Watson and Mycroft have met there, according to TimeOut, while RadioTimes says that the café even fed the cast during filming. And its real life owner, Chris Georgiou, told TimeOut that he often receives letters addressed to Sherlock at his establishment.
But anyway, back to Sherlock. TimeOut profiled Speedy's Café as part of its London on screen series, and owner Chris Georgiou let a little something slip that he possibly shouldn't have. "I probably shouldn’t be saying this," he told the magazine, "but I’ve heard they’ll be coming back for a fifth season." Can someone please start a GoFundMe to pay Georgiou's non-disclosure legal fees?
Admittedly, it's possible that we're all getting a little carried away with this fairly non-committal statement in our desperate hunger for a bit more Sherlock. But Georgiou does have a behind-the-scenes connection to the series, though, and would inevitably be informed if more filming was due to take place at his café.
However, the statements from cast and crew to date have barely committed to the existence of a fifth series — Steven Moffat told the Radio Times, "Nobody has ever closed the door on Sherlock", which is about as definite as anyone has got.
So I guess a hint from an insider like Georgiou is cause for hope. Of course, he doesn't specify where he heard about a new series, so it's entirely possible he read the speculation on the Internet like the rest of us. I'd suggest you don't get too excited, but I'm keenly aware it's probably way too late for that.
Earlier this year, this very website rounded up all the rumours and hints to date about Sherlock Series 5. The feature suggested that one of the reasons for a possible delay is Cumberbatch and Freeman's absurdly busy schedules (they're both official members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for a start, which is something of a commitment). Another reason a fifth series could be taking so long is that the show's creators Moffat and Gatiss also have their own project to focus on — an adaptation of Dracula.
In addition, Cumberbatch and Freeman had a bit of a disagreement via a major media publication, as co-workers do. Freeman told the Telegraph back in March that Sherlock was "not fun any more" thanks to pressure from fans, while Cumberbatch told the Radio Times: "It’s pretty weak to blame that on fans."
However, this does not mean Series 5 is not happening. Listen, Sherlock literally came back from the dead at the start of Series 3. Isn't a fifth series more probable than that? Exactly.