Benedict Cumberbatch knew instantly how ''important'' the Harvey Weinstein scandal would be for Hollywood.

The 'Doctor Strange' star was on set when news broke about sexual misconduct allegations surrounding the disgraced producer and he believes himself and all those who were on set at the time knew how life changing this would be for the industry.

He said: ''You could feel people going, 'This is important and this will change things.' And that's terrific. But having worked with the man twice ... Lascivious ... I wouldn't want to be married to him ... Gaudy in his tastes, for all his often-brilliant film-making ability. But did I know that was going on? A systematic abuse of women, happening through bribery, coercion, trying to gain empathy, to physical force and threats, physical and to career? No. No. That was the true shock. That this has just literally happened. And it's been covered up by an entire body of people through lawsuits and gagging and money - hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to silence victims and survivors.''

And it was a huge ''revelation'' for Benedict that the attitude to women is ''so deeply culturally ingrained''.

He added: ''That truly was a revelation. I have a film company. Our head of development is a woman. There are two women running the television side of SunnyMarch. Adam [Ackland, his SunnyMarch co-founder] and me are the only men in the office. Countless times I've brought up issues of equal pay and billing. And so to realise that this attitude is so deeply culturally ingrained - that was my rude awakening. We have to fight a lot harder.''

Following the allegations against Weinstein, Benedict's movie 'The Current War' - which was to be produced by Weinstein - was shelved and the actor isn't worried about how long it takes before it is released as he wants to ''step back'' as far away as possible from Weinstein and the allegations surrounding him.

He told The Telegraph newspaper: ''If it takes us not releasing our film for a couple of years just to be rid of that toxicity, I'm fine with that. [I want] to step back and be as far removed from that influence as possible, both as filmmaker and as human being.''