Sir Arthur Conan Doyle secretly hated his creation Sherlock Holmes and blamed the famous detective for denying him recognition as a writer of historical fiction, according to historian Lucy Worsley.

In a new BBC2 documentary, the historian claims that Doyle handed in his first Sherlock Holmes novel in the hope that he would then be allowed to pursue his true ambition – writing historical fiction.

The legendary detective’s first novel, A Study in Scarlet, was rejected three times before being accepted by Ward Lock & Co in 1886.

The work was exactly what the publishers wanted, they called it “cheap fiction”.

Sherlock Holmes went on to appear in 60 original stories, making Doyle extremely wealthy but, according to Lucy Worsley, resentful that his success had distracted him from fulfilling his long-held ambition.

The historian told the Radio Times: “Perhaps Arthur’s biggest secret was the fact that he hated Holmes. He blamed his detective for stopping him from realizing his dream.”

According to Lucy Worsley Doyle “would have hated the fact that today, 93 years after his death, his historical novels remain unread, while his ‘cheap’ – but beloved – detective lives on forever on screens”.

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the first Sherlock Holmes book in six weeks between March and April 1886. The detective’s original name was Sherinford Holmes, but he eventually changed the names of the central characters to Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.