Sherlock Holmes shipped to North Korea
Sherlock Holmes was shipped to North Korea to educate audiences on the outside world

The British government sent hit TV series Sherlock Holmes to North Korea to "encourage change" in the country, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the detective and Martin Freeman as his sidekick, was shown as part of the Pyongyang International Film Festival in 2012.

The FCO bought the "rights to BBC Sherlock Holmes Series" for £287.33, according to documents released via a Freedom of Information request.

It is not known whether it was the whole series or a single Sherlock episode that was screened.

Although in the first episode of the third series, Holmes identifies a British minister and peer as a North Korean spy, who wants to blow up Parliament.

The film festival is part of a cultural exchange programme in North Korea that aims to give audiences a different perspective to the outside world.

A FCO spokesman said: "Most North Koreans have never seen anything other than domestic, Soviet or Chinese films."