Matt Smith wanted to be cast as Sherlock Holmes's sidekick Doctor Watson before he landed his starring role in Doctor Who, it has been revealed.
But writer Steven Moffat said Matt was considered too "barmy" for the role, and it was given to The Office's Martin Freeman instead.
He told The Sun: "We'd already cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and the very first person we saw for Dr Watson was Matt, who came in and gave a very good audition."
He revealed: "He didn't have a chance in hell of getting it because he was clearly more of a Sherlock Holmes than a Dr Watson."
Moffat, who penned both the new series of Doctor Who and Sherlock, said: "There was also something a bit barmy about him - and you don't actually want that for Dr Watson. You want somebody a bit straighter.
"But he gave a very good account of himself and you could feel the effort in him clamping down on his barminess in order to do the audition."
The meeting took place just a few days before Matt successfully auditioned for Doctor Who.
More than seven million people tuned in for Sunday's cliffhanger end to Sherlock - and show bosses have now confirmed there will be a second BBC series.