Cumberbatch's dying rabbit analogy

Benedict Cumberbatch has likened Sherlock fanatics to a child accidentally squeezing the life out of its pet.

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Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock on New Year's Day

Benedict Cumberbatch has likened Sherlock fanatics to a child accidentally squeezing the life out of its pet.

Sherlock, co starring Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson, returns to BBC One with its hotly-anticipated third series on New Year's Day.

Metro reports that the star told The Independent's Radar magazine: "They don't teach you how to deal with that.

"I had a friend who once squeezed her rabbit too much until it started to squeal and she thought it was kind of going, 'I love you', when it was really saying, of course, 'You are the reason I'm dying'.

"But what I love about the show is that there are lots of people who weren't outside the hotel today equally excited to see it and are just waiting for it as a quality piece of television."

The comments come as Benedict appeared on Jimmy Kimmel's show in the US to promote new film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and ended up reciting racy R Kelly lyrics from the singer's new Black Panties album.

Wearing a dark suit and keeping a serious face, the thespian delighted the audience when he recited: "Bodies so freakin' soft / I can't wait to turn you on / You got me like la la la la ... baby."