While it might be difficult for "Sherlock" fans to imagine any actor other than Benedict Cumberbatch playing the role of the detective, the English actor recently said in an interview that he nearly turned down the opportunity.

His reservation, Cumberbatch explained, stemmed from the fact that the character of Holmes was an iconic one, and therefore, it was bound to get a lot of attention.

"This was before I had had any significant success [but] I knew there would still be a lot of focus on it. And while I had done work, it wasn't stepping into the populist limelight like playing a character like Holmes. So I did have a pause for thought," Cumberbatch said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Before "Sherlock," Cumberbatch had acted in a number of projects, but none that would bring him under the limelight as Sherlock did. After playing a plethora of minor roles on television, in 2004, Cumberbatch scored a major leading role in television movie "Hawking," where he enacted the role of Stephan Hawking.

He then followed it by taking part in projects such as the "Atonement" and "The Other Boleyn Girl."

And, when the opportunity to play the role of Sherlock Holmes presented itself, Cumberbatch convinced himself to give it a shot after witnessing the passion and commitment of the "Sherlock" crew.

"I thought, If I'm going to do this, if I'm going to step into the limelight with a large leading role of iconic status, then I might as well do it these people," he said.

"They know what they're doing and I completely trust them. I felt like I was being asked to join the family and have some fun. There was nothing businessy about it. And that's how to operate it."

Season three of "Sherlock," created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, ended on a shocking note after it was revealed that Mary Watson was an assassin, and Moriarty's return in the last scene.