Benedict Cumberbatch's father was thrilled when the actor landed a role in 'The Hobbit'.

The 'Sherlock' star made his father proud by scoring the role of sinister dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson's big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved classic because he used to read the book to him as a child.

Benedict told HELLO! magazine: ''It was the first ever story that I properly remember and my dad used to do all the characters when he was reading it. Such fantastic memories. He was over the moon when I told him I'd been cast.''

The 36-year-old actor physically portrays the dragon - which has been re-worked using CGI technology - as well as voicing the film's menacing villain, the Necromancer.

Benedict was encouraged to pursue his dream by his parents, who are both actors, and thinks their decision to send him to posh boarding school Harrow is responsible for his current success.

He explained: ''I was cast in so many amazing plays at Harrow and encouraged by some incredible teachers to blossom as an actor that there came a point where there was really nothing else that I could imagine doing.''