Star of Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch almost turned down 'cheap and cheesy' role

The British actor thought the part sounded like an excuse to make money

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The Independent Culture

Benedict Cumberbatch almost turned down the role of super-sleuth Sherlock out of fear that it could be “a bit cheap and cheesy”.

The British actor, 37, told an audience at a New York Bafta event he was initially dubious, but thought the part sounded “ really exposing, in a good way, because there would be a lot of focus on it”.

“I heard about it and thought that sounds like an idea to reinfranchise something to make money,” he said, before explaining that the quality of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ writing talents persuaded him to take up the offer.

“I thought I would read it and then I fell in love with it.”

It was just as well for the actor as the third series of Sherlock was the BBC’s most-watched drama for more than a decade, pulling in an average 11.8 million viewers when it aired in January.


Cumberbatch, whose most recent film 12 Years A Slave is up for several Baftas, was speaking at “In Conversation” with other screen stars invited to talk about their acting careers.

His role in the Bafta-winning Sherlock has catapulted him to worldwide fame and won him an army of dedicated fans who call themselves the “Cumberb***hes”.

Recently, he amassed even more devotees when he told The Times that his followers should be called “ Cumberpeople” instead.

“I won’t allow you to be my b***hes, it’s not even politeness,” he said. “I think it sets feminism back so many notches.”

Watch Sherlock's cast and crew discuss the third series