British actor Benedict Cumberbatch nearly missed out on the lead role in hit Tv show Sherlock because the programme's producers feared he was not sexy enough.

Cumberbatch has become a small screen favourite since landing the role as the genius detective in the Bbc's modern re-imagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous stories, and amassed an army of female fans.

However, the Star Trek Into Darkness actor nearly missed out on the coveted job, as show bosses were looking for an actor with more conventional good looks.

Scriptwriter Steven Moffat compares Cumberbatch's casting with that of David Tennant in the Bbc's 2005 mini-series Casanova, saying, "They said of casting David Tennant as Casanova, 'Damn you should have cast someone sexier'. With Benedict Cumberbatch, we were told the same thing. 'You promised us a sexy Sherlock, not him'."

However, Moffat is convinced the casting of Cumberbatch and co-star Martin Freeman is the key to the show's success, saying, "The show would have been a much smaller thing without those two playing the parts."