Benedict Cumberbatch appeared on the Graham Norton Show this weekend. Britishers already saw the episode, although BBC America staggers the airings so we won’t get to see it here in the US until next weekend. Thankfully, the whole episode already popped up on YouTube! Cumberbatch shared the couch with Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Cranston and then LeAnn Rimes was the musical guest. I have to confess something: LeAnn’s brief time on the couch didn’t bother me at all. Benedict was sort of fine too. Eddie was charming – especially during the magic show – and Cranston talked a little bit too much. Here’s the episode. Ah, they took it down, but here’s a clip:
Thankfully, nobody made news on the show and the only cringing I did was over the length of some of Cranston’s stories (I like him a lot, but he seemed a bit wired). As for Benedict, thankfully we do have some actual news about him. Some quotes! Here are some highlights from two new(ish) Bendy interviews:
Becoming a parent: “It adds – it never takes away. Lots of people, especially women, get told, ‘Oh you know, it’s going to really affect your career’, and it does, but for the better in most cases that I know. I am in a very privileged position in my career but I think everyone – even if they’re in a challenging time in their life – draws strength from their children. They’re inspirations rather than hindrances.”
He no longer wants to discuss posh-bashing: Back in 2012, Cumberbatch told Radio Times he was so sick of “posh bashing” that he was considering quitting Britain and moving to America. But today his comment on the issue of class is simply that it is “a conversation” he doesn’t want to get “involved with”.
His ‘f—k the politicians’ speech: He also speaks of his “deep regret” in having been “very rude about politicians” during the times he had taken to the stage after the curtain call of Hamlet to raise money for Syrian refugees, and criticised MPs for their response to the crisis. “I’m not in power and I’ve very much learnt my lesson on that front. But what I can do is try to ask people in power if they could consider it important enough to take action on.” To this end, he says, he is in conversation with Unicef about the possibility of becoming one of its ambassadors. “Listen, if I’m going to be criticised for something, I might as well be criticised for trying to help.”
His purpose is his family: “I have a family which gives me a purpose that is greater than me and more important than me beyond my work and my public life…. Everyone says it goes by so quickly and as a new parent you really experience that, especially if you’ve been away for 10 days [the Marvel promotional schedule has taken him on a world tour]. But it’s about enjoying every moment you have, when you have it.”
What it means to be British: “It’s an ever changing thing now isn’t it? I can tell you what it means for me. It means a pride in a form of belonging to a culture and history that is varied, chequered, wonderful, awful, just everything it should be. For me it’s very much a sense of place, a sense of home, London in particular, but also Manchester [where he went to university], parts of Scotland. For me it’s a sense of belonging. But it’s ever evolving. And obviously post everything that happened in the summer it is seriously evolving.”
Whether he’s worried about Brexit: “I’ve quite a strong faith that we’ve already made do so often. Everyone doesn’t know what’s going to happen so worrying is a kind of waste of energy.” He voted for Remain but “I thoroughly respect the reasons why people voted to leave. To me the most despairing thing is that what it showed was the massive under-privilege in our society, the problems of zero hours contracts, industrial towns that have been left to decay for decades. People voted for a change to their circumstances and their incomes and their job security and their healthcare that demagogues were offering an answer to, and they’re not going to get what they want. And we need to tackle those problems. As a culture we’re all aware of that now. There’s no hiding it, these things have been voiced and heard.”
I’m actually sort of shocked that Benedict sounds so diplomatic about Brexit. Considering his politics – posh liberal/progressive, one would assume – it’s interesting to me that he acknowledges that pro-Brexit voters had legit complaints. Although he basically says that the pro-Brexit politicians lied to people, which checks out.
As for what he says about how having a kid hasn’t affected his career negatively – while he uses the word “privilege,” it’s sort of clear that he hasn’t actually given it much thought, which is that he’s in a completely different position than an actress who has a baby in her 30s and finds herself receiving fewer and fewer scripts.