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Categories: Features

Lucinda Holt looks at the phenomena that is Benedict Cumberbatch…

At the moment when I think about British actors the first name that comes to mind is Benedict Cumberbatch.  He seems to be the actor everyone is talking about right now.

It all started with a little BBC show called Sherlock, though I must admit I was a little dubious watching it at first.  In my mind Sherlock Holmes was a Victorian detective and the idea of him using modern technology irked me a bit.


After watching the first episode I realised how wrong and narrow-minded I had been.  The show was fresh and the use of modern technology made it better!  Cumberbatch’s Holmes was fun and purely Byronic.  He was rude and arrogant but also very likeable, I knew I was watching something special.

Of course three series later and he is a huge star, you can’t go anywhere without hearing someone mention “that Cumberband bloke”.  The world and Internet went crazy for him, and I think I could write a whole book on his legions of fans dubbed ‘Cumberbitches’.

Born in 1976 to actor parents Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, Cumberbatch became interested in acting from a very young age.  After studying at Harrow he went on to study drama at the University Of Manchester before joining the prestigious London Academy Of Music And Dramatic Art.

No stranger to the stage, Cumberbatch has starred in many classic plays such as Terence Rattigan’s After The Dance and the highly praised Frankenstein, which saw him nightly change parts with Johnny Lee Miller. In August 2015 he will tread the boards again as he plays the titular character in the ever-popular Hamlet.

Cumberbatch has been a familiar face on television over the years with roles in the Hugh Laurie comedy Fortysomething, playing Stephen Hawking in Hawking and the popular mini -series To The Ends Of The Earth with Sam Neil.

In 2012 he earned his second Emmy award for playing the lead in Ford Maddox Ford’s famous tetralogy of novels Parade’s End.  In February of this year he appeared in the children’s classic Sesame Street, an appearance that went viral within seconds of it airing.

A highly talented actor with a wide range, Cumberbatch has played a multitude of parts in many top films including Starter For Ten, Atonement, War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Gary Oldman.  His role as John Harrison AKA Khan in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness saw his star rise even further as fans went crazy for his chilling performance.startrek

He also played WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, a film that was highly controversial with Assange himself describing it “a massive propaganda attack”.  Although the film didn’t break any records, it gained many fans and really showed the world that Cumberbatch wasn’t afraid to take risks.

This year saw him star in several Oscar nominated films such as August: Osage County (he also sings for the soundtrack), the highly praised 12 Years A Slave and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.

With a velvety voice to rival that of Alan Rickman and the late George Sanders, it seems only natural that Cumberbatch would voice several projects.  His portrayal (and motion capture) for the dragon Smaug has earned him nothing but praise.  He has also been part of several popular radio performances including Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and the award winning comedy Cabin Pressure.

Always very genuine and charismatic, Cumberbatch has become a bit of an icon to many.  His kind, warm-hearted personality and classic good looks have seen him dubbed ‘The Thinking Woman’s Crumpet’ and his fandom seems to continuingly grow daily.

In November this year we will see him play the German Enigma code breaker Alan Turing in the much-awaited The Imitation Game.  The buzz around this film has seen plenty talk about Oscar and BAFTA nomination and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see Cumberbatch nominated.

With fans eagerly awaiting the fourth series of Sherlock, it appears Cumberbatch is very much in high demand.  Be it stage, television or film, I think it’s safe to say Benedict Cumberbatch will go on to remembered as one of the British greats.

The Spread

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Posted on May 12, 2014

One Response to “I Think I Have Been Cumberbatched!”
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  1. Avatar Belinda says:

    I agree that he’ll be regarded as one of the greats. Like Paul Schofield or Alec Guinness. He’s as great at comic acting as he is dramatic and can also be a very physical athetic actor. So he;s got it all really. Plus a voice to die for.

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