Benedict Cumberbatch was horrified to learn the code breaker he portrays in new movie The Imitation Game was forced to have oestrogen injections as punishment for his homosexuality.

The Sherlock star met with one of the late Alan Turing's former colleagues while preparing to play the World War Two hero, and admits he was stunned to learn how the British government treated the man who was largely responsible for the Allied Forces' win over the Nazis after discovering his secret sexuality.

Cumberbatch tells The Hollywood Reporter, "At the end of his life, he was given this sentence after being prosecuted for being gay in the '50s in England, and he was given the choice between two years' imprisonment or two years' chemical castration through sanctioned oestrogen injections. And he chose the latter in order to carry on his work."

The actor also discovered Turning's injections did not end after two years, adding, "I spoke to a colleague of his, who said the doctor gave him the opportunity to implant a slow-release device in his hip that was supposed to stop dosing him after two years, and well past the two-year sentence, Alan said, 'It's still dosing me'. That's not really cricket (just), is it?"