The star of BBC’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, has admitted in an interview with MTV News that he is aware of some of the racier fan-fiction out there, and that he finds some of it quite flattering.

The relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson has long been the subject of homoerotic theories, something to which the actors have alluded, though they downplayed any sexual element in the relationship.

That, however, has not stopped the flourishing of fan-fiction online. When asked by MTV interviewer whether Mr Cumberbatch had read any of these, he said: “I am startlingly aware of it.”

“I don’t go seeking it,” he added, “but Martin Freeman, who was an absolute luddite on the first series, suddenly came back from New Zealand… and he had this beautiful Mac with him and said, “Hey, look at this Tumblr”… And I said, “What? Tumblr? What?” He knows more about it than I do and he was showing me some of them. Some of it is really racy, un-viewable even on MTV.”

Admitting to enjoying some of the fanfiction, he said: “It’s cool… I suppose my bodily proportions are quite flattering. I’m ripped, doing something I wouldn’t normally do with my body, or having done to it, involving Watson. So that’s as far as I’ll hit about that one, but it’s all there on the web if you want to find it.”

He said he was amazed at the ‘level of artistry’ involved in the fan-fiction. “People have spent hours doing it.”

Which is not bad news for the series, as a third series has been commissioned by the BBC.