Sherlock Holmes actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, has hinted that he's being lined up for several episodes of the new series of Doctor Who, fuelling rumours that he'll replace Matt Smith in the lead role.
Tomorrow sees the UK television première of Sherlock, the BBC's updated version of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, which were originally set in Victorian London, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr Watson. The series has been devised by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who also act as the show's executive producers. The three-part series is produced by Sue Virtue and filmed in Cardiff.
As well as Sherlock, Gatiss also works as a writer and actor on Doctor Who, for which Moffat recently took over as head writer and executive producer from Russell T Davies (Torchwood).
In an interview given to Digital Spy, to promote the drama, Cumberbatch hints that he may be appearing in several episodes of the 2011 series of Who, which has fuelled speculation that he could take over from Matt Smith as the Doctor.
Last week, it was claimed that Smith was preparing to leave the BBC's flagship science-fiction drama after completing his second series, to pursue a Hollywood film career.
However, a couple of days later, while at the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Final at Cowdray Park Polo Club, Karen Gillan – who plays the Doctor's companion, Amy Pond – told the Daily Telegraph that Smith wasn't going anywhere: "Matt will be sticking around. I think those rumours were made up."
Now, Moffat insisted to BBC News: "There is no vacancy. Matt Smith is the Doctor and he's been an astonishing success and - who knows - maybe he'll never regenerate again."
Smith, meanwhile, appears committed to the role, confirming recently that he loved playing the part, had no immediate plans to move on, seeing himself remaining in the part for "50 million years".
Indeed, in an interview in the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine, the 27-year-old actor says that he can't wait to start filming his second series, adding: "I'm going to push the part to its limit. I know what I want to improve, and I know where I want to take him."
Doctor Who and the Ride of the Valkyries
This weekend, as part of the annual BBC Prom season, Smith and Gillan are hosting the Doctor Who Prom, which, according to the Doctor Who News Page, includes "a selection of intergalactic music, including Murray Gold’s music from the TV show, plus a selection of classical favourites including Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, Mars from Holst's The Planets and Orff's Carmina Burnana".
The Doctor Who Prom will also include a specially written mini-episode of Doctor Who – starring Smith and Gillan – written by Steven Moffat.