ACTOR Sir Ian McKellen revealed a picture of himself as Sherlock Holmes as he prepares to play the fictional detective.

Mr Holmes, based on Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel A Slight Trick Of The Mind, will follow the detective in his final years, with the 75-year-old former Bolton School pupil aged using make-up.

He posted the photograph on Twitter and wrote: “Over 70 actors have previously played Sherlock Holmes. Now he’s 93 years old and it’s my turn”.

The film, which also stars Laura Linney, sees the sleuth grappling with the loss of his powers and living in seclusion by the sea with his housekeeper and her young son, who help him attempt to solve his final case.

Sir Ian, patron of Bolton Little Theatre, said: “Sherlock Holmes at 93 is retired, still solving mysteries but here’s the sting — he also keeps bees.

“So many splendid actors have already played the part but none of them had Bill Condon directing. I’m the lucky one, and I’m excited.”

Filming on Mr Holmes began last week.

Sir Ian has also starred as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and Magneto in the X-Men series of films.