Benedict Cumberbatch, the ubiquitous Sherlock star, found that you can always rely on friends to keep your feet (rather crudely) on the ground. Presenting him with the GQ actor of the year award, Dan Stevens, star of Downton Abbey, said that his pal had a face like a “startled otter” and recalled:
“I first met him when he was the hyper-intelligent Stephen Hawking. He then gave a genius turn as the hyper-intelligent University Challenge captain in Starter for Ten. For years since he’s been a hyper-intelligent super-sleuth, a hyper-intelligent Star Trek baddie and we all eagerly anticipate his hyper-intelligent Alan Turing. He must be a truly sensational actor because, in real life, he is thick as pig s***.”
Even for an actor with a hit rate as good as his, Benedict Cumberbatch has had a superlative year. The 38-year-old returned to the small screen in the third series of BBC’s Sherlock, went blockbuster for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, put in an epic performance in 12 Years A Slave and next month excels alongside the cream of Brit talent as Alan Turning in Enigma-code biopic The Imitation Game.
Then there’s the small matter of his forthcoming starring role in Hamlet at the Barbican, the announcement for which caused a frenzy of excitement, sold out and became easily the most in-demand British theatre production of all time. Now, following his Emmy for Sherlock, Cumberbatch has gone one better and takes centre stage once more, with his Actor Of The year prize win at the GQ Men Of the Year awards.
Collecting his award, Cumberbatch said: “This is wonderful. I’d like to thank James McAvoy for not being available. But seriously, it’s an embaressment of riches. I’m in one of those extraordinary rooms with extraordinary people. Thank you Mum and Dad for rearing me. Wait, what century am I in? I’m going to leave the stage now because I drank a lot and I need the loo.”