The Doctor Strange star, who is known for his quirky appearance, has become an unlikely sex symbol in recent years, but Sherlock creator Mark Gatiss reveals BBC bosses were unsure about Benedict's fan appeal when he was first considered as the modern version of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional favourite, Sherlock Holmes.

"When we presented Ben on his audition day, everyone at the BBC agreed he's definitely got to be in it," Gatiss, who also portrays Sherlock's quirky brother Mycroft on the show, told Britain's Sunday People newspaper. "And then they went, 'We were promised a sexy one though.' And we didn't say, 'Yeah he is sexy', we went, 'He's very good isn't he?'."

Gatiss admits it was the look of Benedict's nose which didn't sit well with producers at first.

"His nose was entirely wrong apparently," he shared. "We thought, 'If only we could get the nose right we might have something.'"

Gatiss then recalled their thought process as they watched Benedict audition: "'He was a weird man a few minutes ago, a sort of ginger weird person.' But that disappeared," he added, before comparing the Sherlock casting to that of Colin Firth in 1995 series Pride and Prejudice. "It was the thing that suddenly worked with Colin Firth with Mr Darcy."

Benedict was cast as the super sleuth for the first Sherlock season in 2010, and luckily, Gatiss reveals their leading man didn't take any offence to producers' initial concerns about his looks.

"Benedict to this day doesn't think of himself as sexy," he said.

The British actor has since firmly established himself in Hollywood with roles in hit films like The Imitation Game, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Marvel blockbuster Doctor Strange, while he also recently completed work on the fourth season of Sherlock, which also stars Martin Freeman as his sidekick, Doctor John Watson.

The new Sherlock episodes will air in early 2017.