Benedict Cumberbatch

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Benedict Cumberbatch

Cumberbatch in 2011
BornBenedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch
(1976-07-19) 19 July 1976 (age 36)
London, England, UK
EducationBA in Drama
MA in Classical Acting for Professional Theatre[1]
Alma materBrambletye School
Harrow School
University of Manchester
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active2001–present
ParentsTimothy Carlton
Wanda Ventham
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Benedict Cumberbatch

Cumberbatch in 2011
BornBenedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch
(1976-07-19) 19 July 1976 (age 36)
London, England, UK
EducationBA in Drama
MA in Classical Acting for Professional Theatre[1]
Alma materBrambletye School
Harrow School
University of Manchester
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active2001–present
ParentsTimothy Carlton
Wanda Ventham

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch (born 19 July 1976) is an English actor. His most acclaimed roles include Stephen Hawking in the BBC drama Hawking (2004); William Pitt in the historical film Amazing Grace (2006); protagonist Stephen Ezard in the miniseries thriller The Last Enemy (2008); Paul Marshall in Atonement (2007); Bernard in Small Island (2009); and Sherlock Holmes in the modern BBC adaptation series Sherlock (2010).

In February 2011, he began playing both Victor Frankenstein and his creature opposite Jonny Lee Miller in Danny Boyle's stage adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The play had a three-month run at the National Theatre. In late 2011, he played Major Stewart in Steven Spielberg's War Horse (2011). The film received five BAFTA nominations and six Academy Award nominations, including the Best Picture nomination in 2012. He also played Peter Guillam, one of the pivotal roles in Tomas Alfredson's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011), which was nominated for three Academy Awards and 11 BAFTA Awards.

He reprised the role of Sherlock Holmes in the second series of the BBC's Sherlock, which aired in the United Kingdom in January 2012 and was broadcast on PBS in the United States in May 2012. He also stars as Christopher Tietjens in the BBC/HBO co-production television miniseries Parade's End, which first aired August 2012. He will portray Smaug the Dragon through voice and motion capture and will also provide the motion capture for the Necromancer in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. He will also portray the main villain in J. J. Abrams' Star Trek into Darkness, which is scheduled to be released in May 2013.


Early life and education

Benedict Cumberbatch was born on 19 July 1976 in London, the son of actors Timothy Carlton (birth name Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch) and Wanda Ventham. He was educated at Brambletye School[2] in West Sussex and won a scholarship to Harrow School,[3] a public school in London.[4] At Harrow he was introduced to the works of Terrence Rattigan and began acting in school productions.[5] After school, he took a gap year to teach English in a Tibetan monastery.[6] He then attended the University of Manchester, where he studied drama.[7] After graduating, Cumberbatch continued his training as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.



Since 2001, Cumberbatch has had major roles in a dozen classic plays at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, Almeida Theatre, Royal Court Theatre and the National Theatre. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his performance as Tesman in Hedda Gabler, a role he performed at the Almeida Theatre on 16 March 2005, as well as at the Duke of York's Theatre when it transferred to the West End on 19 May 2005.

Cumberbatch acted in The Children’s Monologues, a star-studded theatrical event at London's Old Vic Theatre on 14 November 2010. The show was produced by Dramatic Need.[8] In February 2011, he began playing, on alternate nights, both Victor Frankenstein and his creature, opposite Jonny Lee Miller, in Danny Boyle's stage production of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at the National Theatre.[9][10] Frankenstein was broadcast to cinemas as a part of National Theatre Live in March 2011.[11] The Children's Monologues was directed by Danny Boyle as well.

In April 2012 Cumberbatch won the Olivier Award for Best Actor (jointly with Jonny Lee Miller) for the acclaimed Frankenstein at the National Theatre, directed by Danny Boyle, with the two lead actors alternating the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature.


Cumberbatch's television roles include two separate guest roles in Heartbeat (2000, 2004), Freddy in Tipping the Velvet (2002), Edward Hand in Cambridge Spies (2003) and Rory in the ITV comedy drama series Fortysomething (2003). He was also featured in Spooks and Silent Witness.

In 2004, he starred as Stephen Hawking in Hawking. He was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor and won the Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an Actor. (He later provided Hawking's voice in the first episode of the television series Curiosity.) He also appeared in the BBC miniseries Dunkirk as Lieutenant Jimmy Langley.

In 2005, Cumberbatch starred as the protagonist Edmund Talbot in the miniseries To the Ends of the Earth, based on William Golding's trilogy.

He also made brief appearances in the comedy sketch show Broken News in 2005.

Cumberbatch next starred alongside Tom Hardy in the television adaptation of the book Stuart: A Life Backwards, which aired on the BBC in September 2007. In 2008, he starred in the BBC miniseries drama The Last Enemy, for which he was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film.

Cumberbatch filming Sherlock in Chinatown, London. 2011.

In 2009, Cumberbatch starred in Marple: Murder Is Easy as Luke Fitzwilliam. He played Bernard in the TV adaptation of Small Island; the performance earned him a nomination for BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actor.[12] He also starred in Michael Dobbs' play The Turning Point which aired as one of a series of TV plays broadcast live on Sky Arts channel. The two-hander depicted a little-known October 1938 meeting between Soviet spy Guy Burgess, then a young man working for the BBC, and Winston Churchill. Cumberbatch portrayed Burgess; Churchill was played by Matthew Marsh, who had played a supporting role in Hawking.[13]

Cumberbatch narrated the 6-part series South Pacific (U.S. title: Wild Pacific), which aired May to June 2009 on BBC 2.

Cumberbatch, a fan of long-running British science fiction series Doctor Who, suggested in a July 2010 interview that he would be interested in appearing as a main or recurring character on the show, run by Sherlock producer and personal friend Steven Moffat.[14] In 2008 he had discussed with David Tennant taking over the part of the Doctor but had decided not to try for the role.[15] In 2010, Cumberbatch portrayed Vincent van Gogh in Van Gogh: Painted with Words. The Telegraph called his performance "[a] treat ... vividly bringing Van Gogh to impassioned, blue-eyed life."[16] Also in 2010, Cumberbatch began playing Sherlock Holmes in the first series of the BBC television programme Sherlock, to critical acclaim.[17][18] A second three-part series began on New Years Day 2012 in England[19] and was broadcast on PBS in the United States in May 2012.[20] For this role, Cumberbatch was nominated for an Emmy in the Lead Actor in A Miniseries or Movie category on 19 July 2012.

Cumberbatch co-stars with Rebecca Hall as Christopher and Sylvia Tietjens in Parade's End, a BBC/HBO television miniseries airing on BBC2 in 2012. It is an adaptation of the tetralogy of novels of the same name by Ford Madox Ford. Its five episodes are directed by Susanna White and written by Tom Stoppard.[21][22]


In 2006, Cumberbatch played William Pitt the Younger in Amazing Grace. The film is the story of William Wilberforce's intense and lengthy political fight in the late 18th century to eliminate the slave trade in the British Empire. Pitt was Wilberforce's closest friend and staunchest political ally, and became Prime Minister at an early age. The role garnered Cumberbatch a nomination for the London Film Critics Circle British Breakthrough Acting Award.

Cumberbatch subsequently appeared in supporting roles in Atonement (2007) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). In 2009, he appeared in the Darwin biopic Creation as Darwin's friend Joseph Hooker. In 2010, he appeared in The Whistleblower.

He played Peter Guillam, George Smiley's right-hand man, in the 2011 adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The film was directed by Tomas Alfredson and starred Gary Oldman and Colin Firth.[23] Cumberbatch also portrayed Major Stewart in Steven Spielberg's War Horse (2011).

He will voice Smaug the Dragon and play the Necromancer through motion capture in The Hobbit: There and Back Again.[24] Cumberbatch will also play the villain in the upcoming J. J. Abrams-directed Star Trek into Darkness.[25][26]


In May 2009, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an adaptation of John Mortimer's novel Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders. Cumberbatch played the "young Rumpole", and Timothy West took the part of the "old Rumpole". Cumberbatch plays Capt Martin Crieff in the BBC's Cabin Pressure.


Cumberbatch has also read for several audiobooks, including The Tempest, The Making of Music, Death in a White Tie, Artists in Crime, and Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories. He does the voice overs of several commercials, major names like Jaguar, Sony, Pimms, and Google+ doing the Seven Ages of Man monologue. For the 2012 London Olympics, he did a short film on the history of London for the BBC coverage to kick off the opening ceremony.[27] He made appearances for two Cheltenham Festivals, on July 2012 for Music wherein he read WWI poetry and prose accompanied by piano pieces[28] and on October 2012 for Literature wherein he discussed Sherlock and Parade's End [29] at The Centaur.

Personal life

For over 12 years, Cumberbatch was in a relationship with actress Olivia Poulet, whom he met at university.[30][31] They broke up in March 2011.[32]



2002Hills Like White ElephantsThe ManShort
2003To Kill a KingRoyalist
2006Starter for 10Patrick Watts
Amazing GraceWilliam Pitt
AtonementPaul Marshall
2008Other Boleyn Girl, TheThe Other Boleyn GirlWilliam Carey
2009CreationJoseph Hooker
2010Burlesque FairytalesHenry Clark
Four LionsNegotiator
Third Star[33]James
Whistleblower, TheThe WhistleblowerNick Kaufman
2011Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy[34]Peter Guillam
War Horse[35]Major Jamie Stewart
Nightjar, TheThe Nightjar[37]NarratorVideo game
2012The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey[38]The Necromancer (voice and motion capture)
2013Star Trek into Darkness[39]The villainPost-Production
Twelve Years a Slave[40]William FordPost-Production
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug[41]Smaug
The Necromancer
August: Osage County[42]"Little" Charles AikenPost-Production


2000HeartbeatCharles1 episode
2002Fields of GoldJeremyTV film
Tipping the VelvetFreddyMini-series
Silent WitnessWarren Reid2 episodes
2003Cambridge SpiesEdward HandMini-series
SpooksJim North1 episode
Fortysomething[43]Rory Slippery6 episodes
2004DunkirkLt. Jimmy LangleyDocumentary
HeartbeatToby Fisher1 episode
Hawking[44]Stephen HawkingTV film
2005Nathan BarleyRobin2 episodes
To the Ends of the Earth[45]Edmund Talbot3 episodes
Broken NewsWill Parker3 episodes
The Man Who Predicted 9/11NarratorDocumentary
2007Stuart: A Life Backwards[46]Alexander MastersTV film
2008Last Enemy, TheThe Last Enemy[47]Stephen Ezard5 episodes
Picture ThisNarratorDocumentary; 3 episodes
2009Marple: Murder Is EasyLuke FitzwilliamTV film
Small Island[48]Bernard
South PacificNarratorDocumentary; 6 episodes
2010Van Gogh: Painted with Words[49]Vincent Van GoghTV film
Rattigan Enigma by Benedict Cumberbatch, TheThe Rattigan Enigma by Benedict Cumberbatch[50]PresenterDocumentary
Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking[51]NarratorDocumentary; 3 episodes
2010-PresentSherlock[52]Sherlock Holmes6 episodes
2012Parade's End[53]Christopher TietjensMini-series
Stephen Hawking's Grand Design[54]NarratorDocumentary; 3 episodes


2001Love's Labour's Lost[55]FerdinandOpen Air Theatre, Regent's Park
A Midsummer Night's Dream[56]DemetriusOpen Air Theatre, Regent's Park
2002As You Like It[57]OrlandoOpen Air Theatre, Regent's Park
Romeo and Juliet[58]BenvolioOpen Air Theatre, Regent's Park
Oh, What a Lovely War![59] ?Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park
2004Lady from the Sea, TheThe Lady from the Sea[60]LyngstrandAlmeida Theatre
2005Hedda Gabler[61]TesmanAlmeida Theatre
Duke of York's Theatre
2006Period of Adjustment[62]GeorgeAlmeida Theatre
2007Rhinoceros[63]BérengerRoyal Court Theatre
Arsonists, TheThe Arsonists[64]EisenringRoyal Court Theatre
2008City, TheThe City[65]ChrisRoyal Court Theatre
2010After the Dance[66]David Scott-FowlerRoyal National Theatre
The Children's Monologues[67]Old Vic Theatre
2011Frankenstein[66]The Creature/Victor FrankensteinRoyal National Theatre


2004Raj Quartet, TheThe Raj QuartetNigel RowanBBC Radio 4
KeplerJohannes KeplerBBC Radio 4
Recruiting Officer, TheThe Recruiting OfficerWorthyBBC Radio 4
Odyssey, TheThe OdysseyTelemachusBBC Radio 4
Biggest Secret, TheThe Biggest SecretCaptain Rob CollinsBBC Radio 4
Far Side of the World, TheThe Far Side of the WorldNarratorBBC Radio 4
Surgeons Mate, TheThe Surgeons MateNarratorBBC Radio 4
Mr Norris Changes TrainsNarratorBBC Radio 4
2005Le Pere GoriotNarratorBBC Radio 4
Seven WomenToveyBBC Radio 4
Medical Humanities – Baptism by RotationNarratorBBC Radio 4
Fieldstudy – The FieldNarratorBBC Radio 4
Cocktail Party, TheThe Cocktail PartyPeter QuilpeBBC Radio 4
2006Possessed, TheThe PossessedNikolai StavroginBBC Radio 3
2008Pillow Book, TheThe Pillow BookTadanobuBBC Radio 4
Blake 7 The Early YearsTownsend
Last Days of Grace, TheThe Last Days of GraceGFBBC Radio 4
At War With WellingtonDuke of WellingtonBBC Radio 4
Chatterton – The Allington SolutionThomas ChattertonBBC Radio 4
Cabin PressureCapt. Martin CrieffBBC Radio 4
SpellboundDr MurchisonBBC Radio 4
Rainy SeasonNarratorBBC Radio 4
Tiger's Tale, TheThe Tiger's TaleNarratorBBC Radio 4
Words and Music – Italian FantasyNarratorBBC Radio 4
Doctor Who: Forty-FiveHoward Carter, Thing 2
2009Good EveningDudley MooreBBC Radio 4
Little Red HenNarratorLadybird
Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow MurdersYoung RumpoleBBC Radio 4
MetamorphosisNarratorBBC Radio 7
2010Rumpole and the Family PrideYoung RumpoleBBC Radio 4
Rumpole and the Eternal TriangleYoung RumpoleBBC Radio 4
Words for You – The Next ChapterNarrator
2011Tom and VivTS EliotBBC Radio 7
2012Rumpole and the Man of God[68]Young RumpoleBBC Radio 4
Rumpole and the Explosive Evidence[69]Young RumpoleBBC Radio 4

Awards and nominations

YearAwardNominated workResult
2001Ian Charleson Awards – Best Classical Stage Performance[70]Love's Labor LostNominated
2004Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an ActorHawkingWon
BAFTA Television Award – Best ActorHawkingNominated
2005Golden Nymph for Mini-Series – Best Performance by an ActorTo the Ends of the EarthWon
Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting RoleHedda GablerNominated
Ian Charleson Awards – Best Classical Stage Performance[70]Hedda GablerWon – 3rd Place
2006London Film Critics Circle Award for British BreakthroughAmazing GraceNominated
2008Satellite Award – Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV FilmLast Enemy, TheThe Last EnemyNominated
2009BAFTA Television Award – Best Supporting Actor [12]Small IslandNominated
2010Crime Thriller Awards – Best ActorSherlockWon
2011Broadcasting Press Guild Awards – Best ActorSherlockWon
National Television Awards – Outstanding Drama PerformanceSherlockNominated
BAFTA Television Awards – Best Leading ActorSherlockNominated
TV Choice Awards – Best ActorSherlockNominated
British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting ActorTinker Tailor Soldier SpyNominated
Chlotrudis Award for Best CastTinker Tailor Soldier SpyNominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast[71]Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyWon
Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast[72]Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyWon
GQ U.K. magazine Actor of the Year[73]Won
Evening Standard Theatre Awards – Best Actor (with Jonny Lee Miller)[74]FrankensteinWon
YouMovie Award for Best Cast[75]Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyWon
2012YouMovie Award for Best Supporting Actor[75]Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyNominated
Italian Online Film Actors & Dubbers Award for Best Foreign Cast[76]Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyWon
Olivier Award for Best Actor (with Jonny Lee Miller)[77]FrankensteinWon
Critics' Circle Theatre Awards – Best Actor [78]FrankensteinWon
Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Movie/Miniseries Actor[79]SherlockWon
Primetime Emmy Award – Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie[80]SherlockNominated
BAFTA Television Awards – Best Leading Actor[81]SherlockNominated
TV Choice Awards – Best ActorSherlockWon
Crime Thriller Awards – Best ActorSherlockWon
Satellite Award – Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture made for TV[82]SherlockNominated
Golden Globe Award – Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture made for TV[83]SherlockNominated


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External links