Sherlock could be back on screens as early as Christmas Day, with the BBC reportedly planning to fast-track new episodes of the hit series.

The cult detective show – starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman – returned on New Year’s Day two years after the second series ended on a cliffhanger.

More than 10 million people are thought to have tuned in to the third and final part of the new series, which again left viewers hanging, and The Sun reports TV bosses are keen to make Sherlock the keystone of its Christmas schedule.

An insider told the newspaper: “The BBC is desperate for a Sherlock Christmas Day special this year. It wants its biggest guns ready.”

Sherlock creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have revealed they have already begun working on ideas for a fourth and fifth series and yet another cliffhanger ending has left the door open for more episodes.

Viewers had to wait two years for the latest series with stars Benedict and Martin both busy working on Hollywood films such as Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hobbit in between.