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By Kate Smith
18th July 2016

It's been a big couple of years for Benedict Cumberbatch - marriage, baby, Oscar noms, and becoming more than Sherlock Holmes. On his 40th birthday, we take a look back at how this razor-cheek-boned Brit became a household name.

And what a name it is! Some might say a good deal of his notoriety is due in part to his distinctive name and all the adorable pseudonyms it engenders. My favourite is Bumblebee Cabbagepatch. Ben’s (I’m sure he’ll forgive me) full name is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, and he comes from a long line of Carlton Cumberbatchs. He’s been kind to his son though, giving him the surname Carlton. Both his parents are actors, and appeared as Sherlock’s parents in the TV show.

Benedict Cumberbatch began acting in 2002 but didn’t catch serious notice until his role in Steven Moffat’s reimagined Sherlock Holmes series in 2010. Despite being extremely popular, ‘Sherlock’ has only managed 4 seasons in 7 years, though this might actually be a direct result of the sudden demand it bestowed on its two leads. Martin Freeman is now enjoying mainstream Hollywood too, appearing recently in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’. Cumberbatch will be joining him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as he’s soon to appear as the lead in a standalone 'Doctor Strange' movie.


Since 2010, Cumberbatch has appeared in some seriously excellent films, along with some massive blockbusters. The thriller ‘Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy’ in 2011 was followed by ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy; ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ preceded ’12 Years a Slave’, ‘The Fifth Estate’ and ‘August: Osage County’... and in 2014 Cumberbatch gave the performance that should have won him an Oscar as Alan Turing in ‘ ‘The Imitation Game.’ Peppered amongst all this film work were excellent TV roles (‘Parade's End’) and voice appearances (‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Penguins of Madagascar’).

Cumberbatch has only really become an entertainment power player in the last few years, which is surprising. Anyone who’s watched him will claim he has a kind of magnetism or energy that makes him distinctive. Paired with one of the most recognisable voices in the industry, his presence makes him both a sought-after villain and a complicated hero. Along with some great projects, there’s sure to be Academy Awards in his future.

RELEASE DATE: 27/10/2016
RUN TIME: 1h 55m
CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch
Tilda Swinton
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Rachel McAdams
Mads Mikkelsen
DIRECTOR: Scott Derrickson
WRITERS: Jon Spaihts
Scott Derrickson
C. Robert Cargill
SCORE: Michael Giacchino
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