Sherlock star Martin Freeman admits that he’s far from perfect as a parent. He told the Sunday Times that when son Joe, 14, and daughter Grace, 11, were younger he called them “little f–kers” and hit them.

He said: “When they were very young. I smacked my kids, yes. And it’s not like a victory. It’s not, ‘Oh, I must be doing something right But I have done it. When it is route one to something they need to understand and I cannot rationalize with them. Also I was impatient and at the end of my rope.”

He shares his children with ex Amanda Abbington, and said both hitting and calling names was against house rules. The Hobbit star said: “I’ve always been open about my shortcomings as a parent, because I’m a pretty good dad. A demonstrably loving father. And I’m not even sure I shout more than others, but I admit to it more than almost anybody. And, well, I’m doing a f–king show about it.”

Freeman is out promoting Breeders, an FX comedy about the trials and tribulations of raising kids.