THE Scottish creator of Sherlock has criticised TV executives for broadcasting shows in some countries months after they have aired in other nations.

Steven Moffat spoke out after US TV bosses disappointed Downton Abbey fans by announcing that the period drama will continue to be broadcast there months after it is aired in the UK.

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is experimenting with a shorter delay for Sherlock, with the new series beginning on PBS shortly after it first aired in Britain on New Year's Day.

But Sherlock's co-creator Steven Moffat said that any delay was too long.

"We can't expect a show to go out in one country and expect people in another country to wait more than a day. The world has changed utterly. We're going to be downloading all our television very, very soon, so the idea you have to wait is nonsense," he has been quoted as saying.

Some have argued that a delay encourages piracy, with fans desperate to watch it before they read spoilers about the plot online.

PBS president Paula Kerger has insisted the new series of Downton Abbey will continue to air in January.

"It would be very hard for me to imagine putting it anywhere else than where it has seemed to have found a strong audience," she said.