There's really no escaping Benedict freaking Cumberbatch. With him playing the villain in Star Trek, Smaug the Dragon in The Hobbit, Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. Not forgetting Little Charles in August Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts and Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager in a new biopic, why would you want to escape Benedict Cumberbatch!? Just look at him.
It's the cheekbones isn't it? The bouncing errant curls? Those cupid bow lips or those galactic eyes!? Or, no wait, those deep dulcet tones that could easily talk you in to doing very questionable things..? There's just something about him that leaves half the population a least bit curious.
Admittedly, it took me a while to notice B Cumbs. I guess it all started back in 2004 when Benedict (brilliantly) played the part of Stephen Hawking in the BBC drama Hawking. It was the hair that did it. I was full on crushing on this version of Stephen Hawking. I found myself instantly Googling this fella named Benedict, only to be mildly disappointed that the fringey-Cumberbatch on my TV screen didn't sport that hair-do in real life.
Then one lonesome lazy Sunday evening, feeling a little sorry for myself, I'd turned on this new show called Sherlock. Cor, he's a bit of alright him, I thought. I like his hair! Oh I do like his voice and that's Martin Freeman! Oh bloody hell, this is good. No this is really bloody good… Oh my word it's Hawking!! And that was that.
Just after Sherlock Season 1 had aired, Benedict got his kit off, completely bollock naked every other night, starring alongside Jonny Lee Miller, in Danny Boyle's stage production at the National Theatre of Frankenstein, which every new fan is now scolding themself for missing.
A year later Sherlock Season 2 adverts were starting to appear and there I was, Googling Benedict Cumberbatch again. Watching his back catalogue of films, dramas and interviews if I could get my mitts on them. This time I wasn't just Googling, I was lusting, biting my bottom lip, checking his tag on Tumblr every day. You can safely say I was coloured Batch and found myself joining this 'Cumberbitch' ship and we'd officially set sail.
I felt like a teenager again, I felt naughty! This wasn't a usual celebrity crush, because that Benedict, he's far from usual. He's not on the same level as a Pattinson or a Bloom, I felt like I was in a different class of fangirl. Benedict, whose parents are both actors, had a privileged upbringing and being the humble chap he is, is ever so thankful for it. It was at Harrow that he started acting and at a very early age his parents started to realise that their son had a gift. Thankfully, he knocked all other academic dreams on the head and started to take acting seriously.
So phase 2 of the Cumberfan. In March 2012, I managed to get hold of the address of the set in LA where they were filming Star Trek Into Darkness (Benedict's their new villain) and decided to send my dear B a little letter… and some sweets… a mix tape… and couple of pictures I would have liked him to sign. Not thinking that I would get a response, exactly two weeks later my postie was handing me over the self addressed envelope.
My heart was beating. Get a hold of yourself Tor, you're 22! And there we have it, Benedict had his hands wrapped round my fangirl heart and he was massaging it once again. I wanted him to have a laugh with this photo, I welcomed him to draw over it if he wanted as I'd prised myself away from the sharpie for doing it myself and by jove, Benedict Cumberbatch are you insinuating that our own Queen is on her knees!? He's a man after my own heart!
After talking to a fair few fellow 'Cumberbitches' (who like to reside on Tumblr and Twitter) we decided to make a fan video for his birthday in July. I found a friend who would edit it all together, but it was my job to round up a few fans and get them to send in a few videos to be included. It went mad.
I got from thinking I might be lucky to get 50 submissions to well over 200 and when I was sent the final cut, I cried. These fans from all over the world taking time out to be creative and video themselves dancing, wishing Benedict Happy Birthday, baking cakes and drawing him pictures. On top of that fans had raised over £10,000 for charity in his name.
The morning of his birthday his friend had Tweeted me with a message from Benedict (who does NOT have Twitter), "The amount of effort, love, joy and celebration as well as money raised! I’m speechless." I've truly never heard of fans raising that amount of money before, I was so proud to be a part of it.
I went up to Cheltenham Literature festival in October as Benedict and his co-star Louise Brealey were doing a little chat about Sherlock and we heard that Benedict was doing a meet and greet afterwards. I was anxiously waiting my turn in line while the girl in front managed a 'oh my God thank you', I'm reciting my planned speech over in my head. I'm next…
"Hello! How are yo.." Benedict's eyes widen and he stands up, "HelloooOOOo…." and reaches over the table at me and hugs me. He h.u.g.s me. and in the most high pitch voice, squeals "Fuck sake!". I am taken aback! This is not what I planned! I heard a few gasps from the girls behind me. Benedict Cumberbatch just threw himself at me and screamed an expletive in my ear!!!
Turns out he instantly recognised me from introducing his Birthday video and told me he was so thrilled with it, it made him cry. "It was the best birthday I've ever had!"
There was definitely no going back now! I'd attended a few things after that, all events that helped me fall a little more in love with literature, music and er… Benedict. I was able to meet him briefly a few times but managed to finally get my photo with him at a recording of a radio comedy series called Cabin Pressure.
I guess you could say he knows me now, thank God for having a fairly memorable haircut. "Hello you!" is what he tends to say when he sees me now. At this instance I ended up walking away with his very own, half full glass of champagne that he was sipping and before necking the lot, I did think about getting into cloning…
So this Benedict Cumber-whatsit is not only one of the most talented and sought after British actors the UK has to offer, he's the nicest in the biz. He's the most intelligent. He's that "posh alien" that you really, really love to fancy. He's the baddie in Star Trek, Smaug in The Hobbit. The guy that, arguably, plays the best interpretation of Sherlock Holmes.
If he's not already, he's soon to be a national treasure, a Daniel Craig, a Colin Firth and he's charming the pants off Hollywood as we speak. Try and remember the name, keep your hands in your pants and embrace Benedict Cumberbatch.
Share the Cumber-love with Tor @cumberbuddy