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He might be one of the most popular detectives on TV now – but Benedict Cumberbatch has admitted he initially had doubts about taking on the role of Sherlock.

The actor was seen returning from the dead in the most recent series – which ended last Sunday with the surprise return of one of his most notable adversaries.

But as the US prepares to see the new episodes, which begin airing across the Atlantic this weekend – Benedict told US magazine Entertainment Weekly of his initial reluctance to play Holmes.

“My reservation was ‘well this is an iconic character, there will be a lot of attention on it’,” he explained.

And while I had done work, it wasn’t stepping into the populist limelight like playing a character like Holmes. So I did have a pause for thought.”

The actor added that he was eventually persuaded by those involved to change his mind.

“I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this, if I’m going to step into the limelight with a large leading role of iconic status, then I might as well do it with these people,” he pointed out.

“They know what they’re doing and I completely trust them. I felt like I was being asked to join the family and have some fun. And that’s how to operate it.”

Sherlock series 3 will kick off in the US on PBS on Sunday night.