The 40-year-old actor has portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's much-loved sleuth Sherlock Holmes in the BBC adaptation of the author's work since 2010, alongside Martin Freeman as sidekick Dr. John Watson.

Sherlock has gained a global fan base thanks to the first-rate acting and thrilling story lines, with Benedict's sarcastic and eccentric detective one of the main draws.

And now a new poll has revealed that 29.7 per cent of people have voted Sherlock their favourite BBC television character of all time.

After the news was announced, Benedict said he was "honoured" by the result, adding: "Who would have thought a high-functioning sociopath could be so popular... all over the world?"

Sherlock also topped another section of the survey, with the character's death fall at the end of the 2012 series coming first in a poll of top iconic BBC moments.

Other moments to make it onto the list included Colin Firth emerging from the lake as Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and Ricky Gervais' The Office character David Brent's infamous awkward dancing scene.

Benedict's Sherlock was followed in the poll by Doctor Who's The Doctor, who got 17.6 per cent of the vote in the favourite TV characters survey, followed by Idris Elba's Luther with 12.4 per cent.

Joanna Lumley's portrayal of Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous was the top-ranking female character in the list, with 8.1 per cent placing her in sixth position.

BBC Worldwide's Paul Dempsey said after the poll results were announced that it demonstrates "the love and affection audiences have for our shows around the world".

More than 7,000 people, ranging in age from 18 to 64, from seven countries including Australia, America and Japan, were questioned for the survey.