Martin Freeman has joked that Benedict Cumberbatch is like a shadow-boxer, because they have both signed on for the same role.

The Sherlock stars will both portray William Shakespeare’s doomed king Richard III, although Martin will portray him on the West End stage while Benedict will play the same character on television.

“He’s some weird shadow-boxer,” Martin joked.

The 42-year-old admitted he is thrilled with the prospect of returning to the stage in Jamie Lloyd’s production at the Trafalgar Studios in London, as part of the Trafalgar Transformed season from July 1.

“It’s really good, really exciting but a little bit scary at this point. It’s a fantastic role and I’m very excited about working with Jamie Lloyd,” he said.

He also brushed off any potential comparisons between his work and Benedict’s.

“His is considerably after mine. It’s just one of those things, you know,” he said. “Parts gotta land when they land, you can’t always control that. It’s not like it’s a new character… It’s had a fair bit of history before us.”

Meanwhile, Martin has confessed that “silly swearing” helped him relax on new drama Fargo, but the actor, who plays an insurance salesman sucked into a life of crime, admitted his on-set expletives surprised the Canadian locals.

He said: “I swear quite a lot on set if I mess up. And I realised, ‘No, they’re not really into this’. I would carry on, though. Not in any way trying to offend anybody, but that’s me… It lightens the load for me if I do silly swearing. It makes me slightly more relaxed.”

Fargo continues on Channel 4 on Sundays



– Press Association