Comic actor Steve Martin was determined not to copy Peter Sellers' portrayal of INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU in PINK PANTHER, because he didn't want audiences to think he has taken the easy option.

The 60-year-old Texan star insists he would think of himself as a thief if his depiction of the bumbling French detective was a carbon-copy of Sellers'.

He says, "I didn't want to steal anything from Peter.

"I think the only thing I did that he did was karate chop once, half-heartedly, but I was careful about it and I felt after a while that it was coming from me and not channelling Peter."

Martin's only regret is that his Clouseau predecessor is not around to see the new film.

He adds, "I do wish Peter Sellers could see it, I really do. After all I'd be fine if somebody wanted to remake The Jerk."