Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he almost turned down the role of iconic detective Sherlock Holmes.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly the Fifth Estate star said he needed time to think it through when he was initially offered the role in Sherlock as it would be such a huge role for the then relatively unknown actor.

"My reservation was, 'Well, this is a very iconic character, there will be a lot of attention on it' – this was before I had had any significant success. I knew there would still be a lot of focus on it. And while I had done work, it wasn't stepping into the populist limelight like playing a character like Holmes."

It was the passion of Sherlock creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss that made him sign up, "I thought, 'If I'm going to do this, if I'm going to step into the limelight with a large leading role of iconic status, then I might as well do it with these people. They know what they're doing and I completely trust them. I felt like I was being asked to join the family and have some fun."