Steven Moffat: the BBC thought Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant weren’t sexy enough

The stars of Sherlock and Doctor Who may have droves of female fans nowadays, but it wasn't always the case...

Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant can hardly cough nowadays without sending their ardent army of female fans into a frenzy, so it’s hard to imagine a time when anyone deemed them “not sexy enough”. 


But according to Sherlock and Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, that’s exactly what the BBC were concerned about when first casting Arthur Conan Doyle’s super sleuth and Tennant in his breakthrough in Casanova.

Speaking yesterday at the Hay Festival, Moffat revealed that the Beeb had initial reservations over both leading men:

“They said of casting David Tennant as Casanova, ‘Damn, you should have cast someone sexier’. With Benedict Cumberbatch, we were told the same thing. ‘You promised us a sexy Sherlock, not him.'”

Both Cumberbatch and Tennant have gone on to set many female hearts a-flutter, with Tennant enjoying enormous success as the tenth Doctor and in Broadchurch, while Cumberbatch’s fans even have their own nickname, the Cumberbitches (although Cumberbatch himself prefers “Cumberpeople”).


The Sherlock actor made the leap to major movie star in 2013, appearing in Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave and August: Osage County, although Moffat went on to acknowledge the drawbacks of his global success…”It can be quite annoying too if you’re scheduling a damn show.” Anyone patiently awaiting the fourth series of Sherlock will probably agree!