The episode offered fans several different versions of how Cumberbatch's brilliant sleuth Sherlock Holmes survived the fall that appeared to kill him at the end of Season 2.
The BBC quoted "Sherlock" co-creator Steven Moffat as saying the premiere's high ratings are "a tribute to the team who work so hard, and with such pride, on the show, and, of course, to the genius of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."
"It's proof that audiences will show up if you give them what they want -- though we can't throw Benedict off a roof every week," Moffat said.
Season 3 of "Sherlock" will debut in the United States on PBS Jan. 19.
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