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52 Things You Never Knew About Benedict Cumberbatch

So many facts, so little time.

1. He has a condition called heterochromia that means his eyes are different colours. His irises are a mixture of blue, green, and gold.

2. He was once held at gunpoint and kidnapped in South Africa. After being tied up, thrown in a car boot and driven to the middle of nowhere, he was released with no explanation for what had happened.

3. He isn't a fan of the term "Cumberbitches", which is what his fans call themselves. He said it "sets feminism back so many notches", and would prefer the name "Cumberpeople".

4. He voiced Alan Rickman (as Professor Snape) in an episode of The Simpsons in 2013.

5. He filmed his Star Trek: Into Darkness audition in a friend's kitchen on an iPhone.

6. During his gap year, he taught English in a Tibetan monastery.

7. He lives by the rule, ''Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, 'I'm possible.'''

8. He was once cyberstalked by a fan who live-tweeted his actions as he was doing them at home.

9. He gained impressive GCSE results but didn't do so well at A-level due to discovering "girls, pot and all sorts of other things".

10. He ate 4,000 calories per day to prepare for his part in Star Trek: Into Darkness.

11. He also deliberately lost weight for his role in Sherlock. He explained the reason was because he wanted to portray Holmes ''as a character with such high intelligence that it manifests itself in a physical, 'mind over matter' sort of way".''

12. His favourite comfort movie is Ghostbusters.

13. He's also an audiobook reader, voicing among other things, Shakespeare works and Sherlock Holmes.

14. He's also done voiceover work for Jaguar, Sony, and Google+ adverts.

15. Benedict dyed his hair for his role in Sherlock and Star Trek, but his hair is actually naturally auburn.

16. He's not exactly the biggest fan of the paparazzi. In fact, he once stepped out of his home holding up a sign to them reading: "Go photograph Egypt and show the world something important."

17. He dated Olivia Poulet from The Thick of It for 12 years.

18. Benedict almost turned down the role of Sherlock Holmes, worrying that the remake would be ''cheap and cheesy''.

19. He reckons he looks like Sid the Sloth from Ice Age.

20. John Lewis made its own version of the dark grey Belstaff Milford coat that Benedict wore as Sherlock and it sold out immediately.

21. He learned how to play the violin in a week.

22. There were almost 100 million words of fan fiction dedicated to Benedict Cumberbatch, as of September 2013.

23. And in 2013 his name was mentioned on Twitter almost a million times.

24. Benedict popped up in not one, not two, not three, but four films nominated for awards at 2013's Oscars: August: Osage County, 12 Years a Slave, Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

25. He's been on Heartbeat twice.

26. He's admitted he gets very nervous and starstruck when he meets famous people.

27. Both of his parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton, were actors.

28. His mother starred in Only Fools and Horses and Men Behaving Badly.

29. However, they paid for an expensive education for Benedict in the hope that he wouldn't become an actor.

30. He in fact almost didn't become an actor, after toying with the idea of training to become a lawyer.

31. Benedict has spoken about how his ancestors were owners of slaves during the slave trade.

32. In fact, this is the reason his mother didn't want him to use the name "Cumberbatch" when he decided to go into acting, because she worried about him becoming a target for the descendants of slaves.

33. Both of his parents made cameo appearances in Sherlock, where they played Holmes' parents in a scene in Baker Street.

34. He said he ''almost cried'' watching the scene. Aw.

35. Steven Spielberg has called him ''the best Sherlock on screen''.

36. Despite this massive compliment, Benedict wasn't the only actor to read for the part.

37. Benedict's dad read him The Hobbit as a bedtime story when he was a child, long before he was ever considered for the role of Smaug in the film.

38. In fact, Benedict has admitted "ripping off" his dad's portrayal of the character for his performance in the film.

39. He and Jonny Lee Miller are the only actors to ever jointly win the Olivier Best Actor award after they rotated the characters of Dr Frankenstein and his creature in a 2011 stage production of Frankenstein.

40. He's a big fan of American drama, citing The Wire, The West Wing, Mad Men, and The Sopranos as his favourite TV shows.

41. He has a good singing voice and would love to star in a musical.

42. If he wasn't an actor, Benedict says he'd like to be a neurosurgeon.

43. He has four godchildren.

44. His first acting role was as a ''very bossy'' Joseph in his school's nativity play. He even pushed Mary off the stage because "she was taking too long".

45. However, a few years later he took on the role of Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, aged 13 – and says this was his first proper role.

46. He says his greatest disappointment is ''not being a dad by the age of 32''.

47. He also believes that having children would be his greatest achievement.

48. Harrison Ford is a huge fan of Benedict – something he cannot quite believe.

49. Simon Pegg proved that Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty gullible, convincing him that he was at risk of radiation on the set of Star Trek. "Finally, we got Benedict," Pegg said. "He had this speech and he kept fucking it up. Afterwards he said, 'Guys, I'm ever so sorry – I've got a real headache. I think the ions were getting to me.' He was so convinced."

50. He's donated hand-drawn self-portraits to charity. Twice.

51. He's quite the action man, having tried skydiving, skiing, high-speed motorcycling, and scuba diving.

52. And finally, he admits his most embarrassing moment was when he was 6: ''I got stung by a wasp in a Greek market. A widow pulled down my pants, held me upside down and rubbed an onion on my bum.''


There were almost 100 million words of fan fiction about Benedict Cumberbatch as of September 2013, according to The Mirror. An earlier version of this post misstated the number.