Benedict Cumberbatch is set to star in Doctor Who's 50th anniversary next year, portraying the Doctor's arch enemy, The Master, according to the Daily Express.

The Sherlock star, who also appeared in Steven Spielberg's recent drama War Horse, will wage battle with Doctor Who star Matt Smith on the science-fiction series' milestone-marking show, if reports are to be believed.

There is further credence to the rumor in the fact that both Sherlock and Doctor Who are written by the same man, Steven Moffat.

It's fitting that the Doctor comes face to face with his ultimate enemy, The Master, for the 50th anniversary and it's felt Benedict is the perfect choice if schedules can work, program insiders told the Daily Express. Fans will love the idea of the man who plays Sherlock Holmes taking on the Doctor.

And Cumberbatch has previous with Doctor Who, having reportedly turned down the chance to take over the leading role following David Tennant's exit in 2009.

Benedict has often been asked about whether he would like to play the Doctor so it will be ironic if he now ends up being The Master instead, insiders said.

The Master, a renegade Time Lord, was last seen on screens played by actor John Simm in 2009.

Cumberbatch, 35, has gained acclaim for his modern-day portrayal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's much-loved  character, Sherlock Holmes on the BBC show.

He also had a role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the film for which Gary Oldman was given a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

Scheduling a Doctor Who could be difficult with Cumberbatch set to star in the upcoming Star Trek sequel and alongisde his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman in part two of The Hobbit.

Doctor Who began airing on the BBC in 1963, running through until 1989. The series was then revived, with great success, in 2005.