The BBC TV drama Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, has been shown in North Korea in a bid to modernise the country.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) organised the screening “to encourage North Korea to be more open to the outside world”, reports the Mirror.

The 2012 screening was revealed after a Freedom of Information request showed the FCO paid £287.33 for “rights to BBC Sherlock Holmes Series”.

The document cited the programme as being shown at a film festival in the capital Pyongyang and the reason given was “encouraging change”.

An FCO spokesperson confirmed: “Most North Koreans have never seen anything other than domestic, Soviet or Chinese films.

“Participating in the film festival in 2012 was a small part of a cultural exchange programme we have with North Korea to show a different perspective of the outside world than they are normally shown.”

The Pyongyang International Film Festival is held every two years and allows North Korean audiences the rare chance to watch carefully selected Western titles.

So, we’re guessing Alan Carr’s Chatty Man will never make the list…

Sherlock is due to return to BBC1 with a special, possibly for Christmas 201, followed by series four.