Ali G star Sacha Baron Cohen is taking to the big screen again, not as bumbling Borat, but as detective Sherlock Holmes.

The comic will co-star along Hollywood funny man Will Ferrell who will play his sidekick Dr Watson in this new version of the classic books. The pair will also be joined by Russell Brand as a Cockney villain hunted by Holmes.

Colombia Pictures boss Matt Tolmach predicts the film, which hasn’t been named yet, will be an instant classic.

“Just the idea of Sacha and Will as Sherlock Holmes and Watson makes us laugh,” he said. “They are two of the funniest and most talented guys on the planet and having them take on these two iconic characters is frankly hilarious.”

The film is being made by Judd Apatow, who produced Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall but may have competition from Madonna’s husband Guy Ritchie who is planning to give the Arthur Conan Doyle stories a gangland makeover.