Mark Gatiss has confirmed Sherlock is unlikely to return until 2016 because of the busy schedules of its stars.

The co-creator of the hit BBC TV drama – who also stars as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft – told the Metro it will take two years to get the fourth series made, as Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are in such high demand.

Mark said: “Everyone wants to carry on doing Sherlock. It’s a simple matter of schedules – particularly Benedict and Martin.

“They’ve become superstars, which is brilliant, but we all want to carry on as long as we can.

“There was suddenly a kind of outraged response that it might not be back until 2016, but that’s precisely how long it always is. It’s always two years! But we’d like to return soon, of course.”

Writer and actor Mark admitted Benedict, 37, had managed to turn the character of eccentric detective Sherlock into a sex symbol.

He said: “Sometimes the right man and the right part comes along and they fuse.

“I think there is something about Sherlock Holmes, which has possibly always been the case – there’s a kind of unapproachability about him. He’s not interested in sex… apparently. So you immediately get that Mr Darcy thing going on.

“He can’t be tamed. It’s attractive. Those are the people we are attracted to – the ones that aren’t interested.

“I think it’s that and the combination of the Byronic looks that Benedict has – and the coat! – that’s made him into, possibly, the first sexy Sherlock Holmes.”