06/14/2012 02:23 pm ET Updated Jun 14, 2012

'Sherlock' Star Benedict Cumberbatch Says 'Downton Abbey' Criticism Was A Joke

Benedict Cumberbatch was just kidding about "Downton Abbey" not deserving the Golden Globe, according to the "Sherlock" star.

In a new interview with TVLine, Cumberbatch said "it's like people don’t have any sense of irony or a brain," in regards to his comments to "Downton Abbey" (and "Sherlock") producer Rebecca Eaton. The New York Times ran an interview with Cumberbatch in April 2012 and the "Sherlock" star said Eaton came up to him at the January 2012 Golden Globes ceremony with her new award for "Downton Abbey" and "taunted him affectionately.

"I just looked at it and went: 'Begone, woman. Bring it back when it says "Sherlock Holmes" or Steven Moffat or myself -- someone else who's more deserving than the second series of "Downton Abbey.''"

Cumberbatch told TVLine there are various indicators that he was joking
, including the fact that he's friends with several "Downton Abbey" cast members and creator Julian Fellowes.

"First of all, I knew it was the first [season] that it was getting awarded for, so that was the first part of the joke," Cumberbatch told TVLine. "The second part is that Rebecca Eaton, the executive producer on 'Sherlock' and 'Downton,' is a friend. The third, and probably the most important, is that Julian Fellowes has known me since I was born. Dan Stevens is one of my good friends -- one of my closest friends in England -- as is Michelle Dockery. There’s just no way I would say something like that without it being tongue-in-cheek."

Cumberbatch said he was mortified about the "PR disaster" that ensued following his comments. "I can tell you I’m a huge fan of 'Downton,' and what I said was quite, quite clearly -- to most intelligent New York Times readers -- a joke."

For more from Cumberbatch, click over to TVLine.