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| Courtesy PBS Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the title character on "Sherlock."
‘Sherlock’ star Benedict Cumberbatch reflects on fame, show’s popularity

Contra Costa Times

First Published Jan 21 2014 02:47 pm • Last Updated Jan 23 2014 10:39 am

Pasadena, Calif. •The love for "Sherlock" just continues to grow.

PBS reported that ratings for Sunday’s Season 3 opener on "Masterpiece Mystery" hit a series high with an average audience of nearly 4 million viewers — a 25 percent increase over the 3.2 million who tuned in for the Season 2 premiere in 2012.

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Much of that can be attributed to the robust popularity of the show’s star, Benedict Cumberbatch. The British heartthrob dropped by the TV critics press tour here on Monday, but not before making his way past a clot of fawning female fans, who hours earlier staked out their spots in front of the Langham Huntington Hotel.

When asked by a reporter what it feels like to be the subject of so much adoration, Cumberbatch replied, "Guilt, first of all, because I was late and had to run past them."

Cumberbatch, who promised to get back to the fans after the media conference, humbly went on to say that he thinks much of his popularity is the product of the role.

"I think a lot of it comes with who [Sherlock Holmes] is," he said. "He’s an iconic figure."

Expanding on the subject, Cumberbatch said, "The attention is kind of extraordinary and a little bit unnerving. "They are supportive, loyal and, by and large, intelligent, and some of them, normal. … It means a helluva lot to me. I really get a kick out of it."

Still, he tries his best to maintain an everyday, typical routine.

"I still take public transport. I still go shopping," he said with a smile. "I don’t send minions out while I sit at home at the top of a tall ivory tower with guns pointed at the street."

And even though Cumberbatch continues to expand his résumé with more big-screen roles, he said he has no desire to step away from "Sherlock" any time soon.

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"I’m going to keep going on with it," he said. "I play enough other mad people as well, so I vary the palette. … I love it and find it invigorating. He’s really hard work, [but] I love him to bits."

Or as "Sherlock" co-creator Steven Moffat teased, the show "will continue until Benedict gets too famous."

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