It’s the role that turned him into an international phenomenon, but Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he initially came close to turning down ‘Sherlock’.

The English actor, who is currently juggling new fatherhood with playing the lead in ‘Hamlet’, admitted in an interview with CNN’s ‘Talk Asia’ news program on Friday (September 4th) that he had quite a few reservations about accepting the role of the ingenious detective because of the massive fame he thought the “populist role” would bring. He certainly turned out to be correct in that assumption!

SherlockBenedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in 'Sherlock'

“I was very wary having done roles which were challenging and terrific and, you know, kept a good career going,” he admitted. However, his mind was eventually made up because of the involvement of Mark Gatiss (who plays Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft) and scriptwriter Steven Moffat.

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“I was very wary about stepping into the limelight and the populist role like Sherlock Holmes but the minute I saw who was involved and read the script and the quality of it I thought I've got to do this,” he said.

The 39 year old, who is now a parent to a baby son (rumoured to be named Christopher Carlton) with his theatre producer wife Sophie Hunter, says he still hasn’t got used to being an international sex symbol, and finds the attentions of his army of (mostly) female fans, dubbed the ‘Cumberbitches’, flattering but rather mystifying.

“[It's] just truly strange,” he laughed. “I've been around a while now before this face which I've woken up with for 38 years now, a little bit longer, and I just go that's the way I look and the first sort of few years of my career nobody sort of battered an eyelid. I didn't cause any stares, wasn't on the front page of any magazines or in polls or in calendars or on coffee mugs or god knows what else.”

However, he’s determined to take his massive fame in his stride and appreciate the attention while it lasts. “This ain't going to last forever and hopefully my acting career will last at least as long as I last.”

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