Article from Broadcast:
The New Year’s Day instalment of Sherlock tracked down a final rating of nearly 13m after it was watched by the UK’s biggest ever catch-up audience.
There have been a further 2.8m requests to watch the drama in its first seven days on iPlayer, meaning its true audience stands at around 15.5m.
The consolidated rating was the Hartswood Films drama’s best-ever performance, outstripping its previous high of 10.7m (33.1%) for the second series debut on 1 January 2012.
Sherlock’s 3.5m viewing boost is the biggest time-shifted audience on record, according to the BBC. It beat the Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas special, where 3.2m watched the ITV drama through their catch-up devices.
The sleuth’s third series debut also made it the BBC’s highest-rated drama outside of Doctor Who since 2002.
The news comes after Sherlock’s co-creator Steven Moffat confirmed at a Bafta screening on Wednesday that the drama will return for a fourth run.
Star Benedict Cumberbatch has previously stated there will be another series, but there is less certainty about a fifth outing.