Holmes and Watson
Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his partner in crime detection, Dr Watson (Martin Freeman) BBC

The return of Sherlock Holmes has emerged as the winner of the most talked about TV moment in 2014, according to users on Twitter.

The research was carried out by Telegraph Hill, a social strategy agency, who offer "smart content that engages new audiences for brands and broadcasters".

With a staggering 639,000 tweets, the first episode of season three of BBC's modern-day take on Sherlock HolmesSherlock generated the largest discussion about TV on social media.

The episode, The Empty Hearse, came after a two-year long wait after a cliffhanger ending from the last season, which saw Sherlock Holmes jumping off the top of the Royal London Hospital, apparently dying on the streets, before being seen watching his own funeral.

Twitter was abuzz after learning from the episode that Holmes would be returning despite his apparent death in the last series.

The tantalising answer to how Holmes survived was revealed to over 9.2 million viewers in January 2014.

Game of Thrones
The death of Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell (Pedro Pascal) in Game of Thrones beat Doctor Who in the Twitter chat stakes HBO/Sky Atlantic

The episode reveals that Holmes used a large inflatable crash mattress and a huge team of volunteers to cover up any questions from his unknowing partner, Watson, about how Holmes had faked his own death.

The shocking death of Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell in Game of Thrones, grew the second most tweets with over 400,000 comments. Doctor Who was left only in eighth position, with the arrival of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, generating 178,000 tweets.

Chris Moon, Telegraph Hill's head of insights and analytics, commented that Twitter has been a revelation in changing the way people are watching TV across the world.

Moon told The Sunday Times: "Viewers don't want to feel isolated when their hearts beat while watching great TV. They want to feel part of the drama and connected to other who feel the same."

He describes Sherlock Holmes' storyline as one of the "big moments" that "connect us as a nation and have become major events on sofas across the country".