LONDON — The opening episode of the third season of “Sherlock” in the U.K. drew an audience of 9.2 million to the BBC on Wednesday, which repped a 33.8% share.

This was the highest ever audience for a season opener of the detective drama, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Season one’s launch in 2010 attracted an audience of 7.1 million, which repped a 28.6% share, while season two’s launch in 2012 was seen by 8.8 million, which repped a 31% share.

However, it is not the biggest ever audience for the show. Some 9.78 million watched last season’s finale, which saw Holmes, played by Cumberbatch, plunge to his apparent death.

Steven Moffat, “Sherlock’s” co-creator, exec producer and writer, said: “Thrilling news on overnight ratings for ‘Sherlock.’ 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.”