Stolen wallet almost cost star Sherlock role

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Sherlock star Martin Freeman has revealed that he almost missed out on the role of Dr John Watson – because he was grumpy after someone stole his wallet on the way to his audition.

The Hobbit actor co-stars with Benedict Cumberbatch in the modern-day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, which returns to BBC1 on New Year’s Day.

Mark Gatiss, co-creator of the detective drama, told the Radio Times that Freeman’s wallet was stolen on the way to his audition.

Freeman, who had never read any Arthur Conan Doyle before going up for the role, said that because he “wasn’t in the best frame of mind” he gave the impression that he did not want to be in what would become a hit show.

He told the magazine: “I’ll admit maybe I was a bit stressed. But a week later my agent rang and said, ‘Listen, this Sherlock thing, they’re sort of under the impression you weren’t that into it.’

“And I said ‘Oh... I am really interested. Please call them and let them know that I am interested.’

“I wasn’t being blasé about it at all. I just wasn’t on my best day.

“So I came in again, read with Benedict (who plays Holmes) and it instantly worked, it seemed to me. ... I thought he was a fantastic actor and there was something about our rhythms, similarities and differences that meant that it just happened.”

Freeman, whose real-life partner, actress Amanda Abbington, stars as his new love interest in the next instalment, said that the drama was “writing for grown-ups, where you’re not having to cheat the audience”.

Season three of the hit drama, in which fans will find out how Sherlock faked his own death, begins at 9pm on BBC1 on Wednesday.