Martin Freeman may not be your typical Hollywood A-lister but the 42 year-old British actor has worked himself into two franchises that seem to magnetise particularly rabid fans. Freeman reprises his role of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at this weekend's eagerly-anticipated worldwide release and also looks forward to accompanying Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC crime drama Sherlock in January.

Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman Is More Famous Than Ever, But Has The Fans To Deal With.

His most recent roles as Watson to Cumberbatch's Sherlock and Bilbo have transformed the actor from a lowly salesman in The Office to global fame and the first name on fans' lips at comic-con events. However, the actor has revealed that he feels more famous for playing Watson instead of the plucky hobbit on a valiant quest.

Though The Hobbit, the first instalment of which grossed $1 billion, is more high-profile by far than Sherlock, Freeman told The Sun that fans of the former are "positively restrained." "In my life the strongest evidence of any fandom is Sherlock - Hobbit fans are positively restrained," said the surprised star.

Martin Freeman Adorable Scarf

Freeman attributes the fan passion to Arthur Conan Doyle's solid writing and excellent television production, saying "Sherlock is beautifully done, if I may say so myself. Even if I wasn't in it, I would like the show.

Watch The 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug' Trailer:

However, having such an avid crowd of fans means that occasionally Freeman's long-term lover, actress Amanda Abbington, bears the brunt of the hysteria and jealousy. In particular, Abbington's casting as Watson's love interest in the drama invoked so much hatred and abuse via Twitter that Freeman felt compelled to speak out for his girlfriend.

Martin Freeman Amanda Abbington
Martin Has Spoken Out To Defend Amanda From Internet Abuse.

Freeman described the tweets to Time Out as "ridiculous" and slammed his fans for such irrational behaviour. "To me, they're not fans of the show - they're fans of a show going on in their heads," he said, adding "Obviously I love Amanda and I want everyone to react positively to her; she plays a fantastic character and brings a hell of a lot to the third series."

He also hit back at claims that Amanda, 39, had been cast in such a key role only because he was in the series too. "She's known [show producer] Sue Vertue and Mark Gatiss for a very long time and they wanted her to be in it, which is fine by me," he explained. "She's a really good actor, I know how good she is and I know how easy she is to work with and I'm a big fan of hers as a craftsperson. So yeah, she's wonderful!"

We'll be able to see for ourselves in only a couple of weeks: Sherlock will return to BBC1 for a third series on the 1st January 2014.