Posts Tagged ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’

As promised I’m back with the second half of my quirky names series. I will admit I had a more difficult time compiling a list of unusual male British names. The traditional ones like James, John, Tom, Robert, Steve, etc. are still popular on both sides of the pond. Not unknown in the States, but heard less often, are names such as Martin, Simon, Hugh and the even more rare, Clive.

Below are five of the most distinctly British names I could brainstorm. As with the ladies segment earlier, if you can come up with a better, more characteristic example, please share in the comments section at the end of the post.

Benedict Cumberbatch

As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, this is indeed the Sherlock actor’s given name. In fact his father and fellow actor, Timothy Carlton, doesn’t even use the family surname in his professional life so I think young Ben took a calculated risk when he retained this unusual moniker.  The formality of “Benedict”and the whimsical quality of  “Cumberbatch” sets this actor up as a classic British character. Besides the iconic Mr. Holmes, Benedict has also portrayed illustrious Brits such as Stephen Hawking and Prime Minister William Pitt. Whether a choice of family loyalty or a dodgy gamble, judging by the trajectory of his career, Mr. Cumberbatch made the right decision.

Benedict as Sherlock image credit BBC

Benedict as Sherlock
image credit Hartswood Films


Rupert Grint

While almost any character in Harry Potter’s world could have made this list (Neville Longbottom, Barty Crouch, or Dudley Dursley for example), Rupert Grint is one of the few actors whose name fit right in with the quaint characters in the films. Rupert is common enough in the UK, but few and far between in America. And Grint, well it sounds as though it’s right out of Roald Dahl story.

Rupert Grint as Ron Weasly  image credit Heyday Films

Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
image credit Heyday Films


Noel Fielding

It might seem odd that the French word for Christmas has become a male British name.   However, with the change in pronunciation from the French (No-el) to something more like Noll, the English have made in their own and Noel Fielding is, in my opinion, a prime example of the country’s renowned eccentricity.  From the Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd to his self-titled Luxury Comedy sketch show, Mr. Fielding’s whole being screams that he’s an artsy, mod goth with a totally off-the-wall way of looking at the world and he doesn’t care who knows it. What could be more British than that?

Team captain Noel Fielding on NMTB Image Credit BBC

Never Mind the Buzzcock’s team captain Noel Fielding 
Image Credit BBC


Julian Rhind-Tutt

I chose Mr. Rhind-Tutt as a representative for all those Brits with hyphenated last names which we Yanks have been trained to associate with money and breeding. Although from what I’ve read in the past, aristocratic blood doesn’t run in his veins.  Julian’s  parents just did what a number enlightened couples do when they marry; they combined surnames. Still sounds classy though, right? Rhind-Tutt has portrayed a few posh blue bloods in his career in Blandings and The Lady Vanishes for starters. He’s also played a number of coppers and doctors, the most famous being Dr. Macartney in Green Wing.

Julian Rhind-Tutt

Julian as Angus McCain in The Hour image credit Kudos Film and Television


Ralph Fiennes

Ralph (pronounced Rafe) Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, to be exact. And according to Wikipedia, this talented gentleman is, in fact, a gentleman, reportedly an eighth cousin to Prince Charles. I had a neighbor named Ralph and we called him “Ralf”. To be honest, when I first heard this actor’s name spoken I thought he was Ray Fines. Regardless of spelling or pronunciation, Mr. Fiennes is a grand example of the British acting profession. He’s conquered Shakespeare, Dickens, and more recently the Bond franchise among other roles. He’s THE Voldemort for God’s sake! Never mind that most of us became acquainted with him as the most horrible Nazi on film ever!

Ralph Fiennes

Fiennes as Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman image credit BBC Films



Read Full Post »

Not all TV shows lend themselves to what we call binge viewing. (Or is that #bingeviewing?) No matter. Such was the case for me with a British series called Fortysomething. After a bit of feet dragging on my part, I finally finished all six hours of this comedy/drama without dozing off.  It wasn’t painful to watch, but it wasn’t a joy by any means.

The Cast of ITV's Fortysomething

The Cast of ITV’s Fortysomething


If you’ve never heard of this short-lived or perhaps intentional one-off series, it’s about a man called Paul Slippery who is going through a mid-life crisis.  His wife is going back to work and his three young adult sons are having carnal knowledge of the Proek family girls on an alarmingly regular basis right on familial premises.  Does this bother Mr. Slippery or his good lady wife, Estelle? Apparently not too much because they’re having relationship issues of their own. And while we’re supposed to place the blame primarily on Paul, this couple’s troubles have just as much to do with Estelle’s “Don’t bother me, I’m finding myself” sort of vibe than any insensitive man-type thing Paul seems to be doing.  He’s trying very hard to make things work if you ask me.

That’s it, in a nutshell.  I found it all to be sort of “meh” to be honest.  So why am I bothering to talk about this show at all?  Because amongst the cast assembled for this fairly average decade-old series, a handful of really hot properties have emerged.

Hugh Laurie- Shortly after starring as Dr. Paul Slippery a compassionate yet distracted GP in Fortysomething…

Hugh Laurie as Dr. Slippery

Hugh Laurie as Dr. Slippery


Mr. Laurie went on to play another much more notorious physician named Dr. Gregory House.

Hugh Laurie as Dr. House

Hugh Laurie as Dr. House


For eight seasons, House tortured medical students, staff and patients alike and Hugh Laurie got a lot of accolades for playing a cranky, drug-addicted genius – a far cry from our poor sex starved Mr. Slippery.

Benedict Cumberbatch – Yes, you read that right.  The thinking woman’s crumpet of the moment and an object of desire for geekettes everywhere, Mr. Cumberbatch once portrayed Hugh Laurie’s son.  On the surface, the Slipperys’ eldest child, Rory, is sensitive, intelligent and polite.  However, if you look deeper, you can see that Benedict is already preparing for the role that will make in him a star a mere seven years in the future.  Particularly note his extraordinary powers of deduction and sarcasm.


Remind you of anyone?

Cumberbatch as the revamped Sherlock

Cumberbatch as the revamped Sherlock


Peter Capaldi – And in another case of theatrical coincidence, Peter Capaldi plays Doctor Ronnie Pilfrey.  Not only is he Paul’s colleague and self-imaged nemesis but also a Beatles tribute singer.


I’ve seen a great deal of the excellent work Capaldi has done since he put himself out there as this particular over-the-top nutter.  I can only surmise that when when Peter finally assumes the mantle of THE Doctor this Christmas, we’ll see a similar degree of playfulness mixed with the emotion of his BAFTA- nominated performance from The Hour.


Give yourself a gold star if you noticed that Anna Chancellor starred with Peter Capaldi in both those scenes, first as Paul’s wife Estelle in Fortysomething and then as foreign correspondent Lix Storm in The Hour.

So if you’re a Cumberbunny or a rabid Whovian, you might want to check out Fortysomething just to see your favorite actors in a new and younger light. Otherwise, I’d suggest just giving it a pass. Of course if you’re a Fry and Laurie enthusiast (and who isn’t) you might want to check out this shining moment.

Read Full Post »

Please allow me to say this up front – this post is in no way an act of Cumberbashing.  I have nothing against Benedict Cumberbatch.  On the contrary, I’ve always considered him to be a fine actor.  And despite the media attention heaped upon him currently, he seems to be humble enough.  I base this solely on his appearances on such programmes as The Graham Norton Show of course.


What bothers me is that his personna has become ubiquitous:

For example, he’s here:

Mr. Cumberbatch on the cover of Time

Mr. Cumberbatch on the cover of Time


As well as here:

Cumberbatch - Otter memes

Cumberbatch – Otter memes


And here:

Benedict with Top Gear's Stig

Benedict with Top Gear’s Stig



Cumberbatch has got eight films listed somewhere between” announced” and “post-production” status, two currently in theaters and two more out by Christmas.  He’ll probably be performing Hamlet next year in the West End.  He might be in the new Star Wars movie.  It’s possible he actually faked his death by appearing to fall off a roof…

Sherlock's pre-Reichenbach Fall pose

Sherlock’s pre-Reichenbach Fall pose


I don’t know if he’s being promoted in as heavy handed a manner in the UK.  Perhaps his management is just making the big push to break him beyond the fangirls and Sherlock crowd in America.  Whatever the case, he’s constantly on my social media feeds and a major feature in most blogs I read.  In all fairness, I almost exclusively read British culture and entertainment blogs…

I was quite surprised to hear that Benedict’s new film, The Fifth Estate, bombed at the box office on its opening weekend. The Wikileaks story looks interesting and it’s certainly got a quality cast.   Surely his legions of rabid fans (the Cumberbitches) should have assured respectable ticket sales.  Could it be that a bit of Cumberbacklash may have begun?

I remember a time not so long ago when the young actor with the funny name was a new talent that I’d just discovered.


I understand the need to take the parts and the accolades when they’re on offer but there might be something to be said for laying low for a few months, build up demand for your talents.  Much better having people miss you a bit than roll their eyes every time you show up in yet another blockbuster trailer.



Read Full Post »

On occasion I’ve shared with you the summer exploits of the Anglophile/expat group I lead at my library.  Well, this year we decided to put on a British car show.

Our parking lot was a showcase of British motor engineering  – Lotuses, Mini Coopers, Jaguars, MGs, a Triumph or two, a Landrover, a Mini Moke and the most rare of all – a 1950 Healey Silverstone.

Our winner received a gift certificate for auto detailing and an almost one of a kind Stig Pincushion Cat.  If you want to buy one for yourself, check out Fat Cat Crafts here.

I was really chuffed with our first attempt.  We attracted 21 area car owners and drew a crowd of about 100 British automobile enthusiasts. We had beautiful weather, but it was the generous assistance of my fellow Anglophiles that made this inaugural event so successful.  From helping with set-up to recruiting car owners, from donating crisps and biscuits to being my cheerful greeting staff, their attendance and participation was key to such a wonderful day. They’re the best!

But as much as I enjoyed marveling at all these unique and sometimes exotic vehicles, when it comes to cars I’m a very practical woman. ( I drive a 1998 Toyota Camry with over 215,000 miles on it after all). So  I thought it might be nice to organize a little virtual cruise-in right here featuring some functional, hard-working, telly automobiles.

Welcome and please enjoy the Working Man’s British Car Show:

1. Ford Cortina TC Mark III GXL   – Life on Mars

Gene Hunt’s beloved Ford Cortina was involved in its share of police car chases in and around 1970’s Manchester.  I think he loved this car more than his wife…who we never did see, by the way.

2.  British Leyland Mini 1000 – Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean’s Mini was definitely an extension of the man himself.  It was quirky and reckless and multipurpose- whether he needed it to be a dressing room or a delivery van.

3.  Reliant Regal Supervan- Only Fools and Horses

Del Boy and Rodney ran their dodgy black market business, Trotters Independent Trading Company, out of their dilapidated Reliant Regal Supervan so it literally was a working man’s vehicle.  Though perhaps they shouldn’t have chosen such a conspicuous color or model if they wanted to avoid the notice of local coppers.

4. The Reasonably Priced Car- Top Gear

Top Gear‘s newest model for it’s reasonably priced car segment was the Vauxhall Astra.  That’s all anyone needs really, even a star like Benedict Cumberbatch.

5. Type 40 TARDIS – Doctor Who

I know. You’re saying hold on, the TARDIS isn’t a car.  But it’s my list, my blog and this classic British mode of transportation is exactly what I would choose if I could find one in working order. Besides they come with a Time Lord chauffeur.

Vote for the People’s Choice award by commenting below.  If you’re not satisfied with the entrants, write-in candidates are welcome.

Read Full Post »