Ideal Holmes

Bon­nie Bur­ton quite likes Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Opinion -

Celebrity is the kind of phe­nom­e­non that can change a marginally suc­cess­ful char­ac­ter ac­tor into a demigod in just a few years. Such is the case with ac­tor Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, who is so popular that the blog site Tum­blr in­cluded him in its User Guide­lines: “Don’t im­per­son­ate any­one. While you’re free to ridicule, par­ody, or marvel at the alien beauty of Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, you can’t pre­tend to ac­tu­ally be Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch.”

Cum­ber­batch earned his theatre cred in dozens of roles in plays since 2001, as well as TV work like Heart­beat, Si­lent Wit­ness and Hawk­ing, play­ing Stephen Hawk­ing him­self. He also ap­peared in films like Atone­ment, The Other Bo­leyn Girl and War Horse, col­lect­ing act­ing awards like a man with un­lim­ited man­tel space.

But it was his stel­lar per­for­mance as Sher­lock Holmes in the BBC’s Sher­lock in 2010 that truly cat­a­pulted the ac­tor into the up­per strato­sphere of fame. Peo­ple around the world were won­der­ing where this guy with the name like a Charles Dick­ens char­ac­ter came from. Le­gions of fans be­gan to line up with signs and hopes for self­ies with the ac­tor ev­ery­where he went.

Blogs by the thou­sand ded­i­cated to him popped up overnight and so­cial me­dia was all a- buzz of his ev­ery move. His fans were known en masse as Cum­ber­bitches and then the Cum­ber­col­lec­tive, as the ac­tor thought bitches was deroga­tory.

This is where I come in. I’m one of those Cum­ber­bitches. I have a blog ded­i­cated to Cum­ber­batch hold­ing pho­to­shopped cats. No re­ally, I do. It’s at Bene­dic­tCat­batch. tum­blr. com. I’ve writ­ten Sher­lock fan fic­tion. I own the Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch colour­ing book. I own ev­ery au­dio book and ra­dio pro­duc­tion he’s lent his voice to. My Pin­ter­est board looks like grounds for a re­strain­ing or­der. When his name pops up on my Google News Alert about his lat­est movies like The Imi­ta­tion Game or Doc­tor Strange, I’m the first one to pitch my edi­tor at CNET. com an ar­ti­cle. I even begged my lovely SFX edi­tor here to let me ded­i­cate at least one col­umn com­pletely to the Batch.

So yeah, I’m a fan. Cum­ber­batch is the clos­est thing my gen­er­a­tion has to a Bea­tle or Elvis. He ranks right up there with Hol­ly­wood roy­alty like James Dean or Cary Grant. He’s an ac­tor’s ac­tor. He’s not in movies, TV, ra­dio and theatre be­cause he wants to be fa­mous. He’s do­ing it be­cause he loves act­ing, and it shows.

Any ac­tor who throws him­self into a role with­out turn­ing into a real- life jerk gets my re­spect. Cum­ber­batch al­ways takes time out for the hordes of fans who stand out­side in bad weather or stay up all night in line just for a glimpse of him. He takes self­ies with fans and gives them his au­to­graph all with a smile.

The best part of be­ing a Cum­ber­bitch isn’t that one day I will even­tu­ally get to shake his hand and say thanks. It’s the friends I’ve made from our one com­mon in­ter­est. I’ve bonded with so many fans through so­cial me­dia and wait­ing in lines at his ap­pear­ances. Th­ese aren’t creepy stalk­ers who make se­cret bub­blegum shrines to him in their clos­ets. They are cre­ative, tal­ented and ded­i­cated fans who make be­ing part of the Cum­ber­col­lec­tive like a fam­ily.

We hap­pily wor­ship Cum­ber­batch in a way that makes it fun to gush over a celebrity with­out hav­ing to be em­bar­rassed. If we want to make pup­pets that look like his var­i­ous act­ing roles, who cares? So what if I have writ­ten fan fic­tion of him as Darth Vader’s long lost brother? The Church of Cum­ber­batch is open all the time, and none who en­ter ever feels ashamed for be­ing a goofy fan. I’m al­ready work­ing on my Cum­ber­batch as Doc­tor Strange fan art of him hold­ing a cat.

Cum­ber­batch is up there with James Dean or Cary Grant

And yes, Bon­nie does in­deed own a pil­low with Bene­dict’s face on it.

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