Benedict Cumberbatch is set be a new James Bond villain and is expected to sign up for the next instalment of the 007 franchise, which is due for release in 2014.

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A source told the Daily Express: “Benedict is considered perfect Bond villain material. Work on the next film will begin next year and the plan is for Benedict to be on board.

“He grew up watching Bond, so it would be a childhood ambition fulfilled. Playing a Bond villain is one of the plum roles in film history and he’d jump at the chance.”

The 23rd Bond movie, Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, is released next month while the next film – the one that will star Cumberbatch – is due out in 2014.

There are also plans for another Bond film in 2016.

Cumberbatch was recently cast as a baddie in the next Star Trek film and as the dragon Smaug in the forthcoming trilogy of Hobbit films, which also sees his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman in the lead role of Bilbo Baggins.