Benedict Cumberbatch says he tries to stay clear of fan theories and online conspiracies1 about Sherlock.
Ahead of the fourth series, the actor admits he loves how involved fans get in the BBC show but says he likes to keep his independence.
He and Martin Freeman return for three new episodes, starting on New Year's Day.
There are countless3 websites devoted4 to analysing the show's twists, reviewing episodes and predicting outcomes - but the actor says he doesn't delve5 too deep.
"I can't have too many voices and influences. I have to trust my directors and writers and actors to make what we're making.
"Reaction veers6 passionately7 in every direction with this subject and character. Some of that does get back to me - but hopefully that's the nicer stuff."
Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have written the opening episode of series four, named The Six Thatchers.
Benedict says the season is "darker than the previous three" and "goes to extremes".
"It tests the bounds of the relationships you've come to know and it redefines who those characters are.
"It starts off with a smile and gets dark as oil," he says with a smile.
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