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Bücher, Filme, Technik und Benedict Cumberbatch – auf Deutsch and in English

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Benedict Cumberbatch: I am a very lucky man

Over the last couple of years Benedict Cumberbatch gained lots of fans, especially women. Whether or not his wife is jealous of them,  the British actor, who in the last two years alone appeared in five films, reveals in this interview.  Additionally he  takes over the role as Sherlock Holmes on telly on a regular basis. The last episode of the fourth series aired on Sunday, 11th June on German broadcaster ARD.

Question: Besides your job you and your wife Sophie have to care for your two year old son Christopher and your new born son Hal. Isn’t this situation a bit too stressful?
Benedict Cumberbatch: It’s not stressful, it’s a blessing. It’s unbelievable that I’m offered roles at all. And that I am able to choose which one I want to take, that they are so different from one another and that people seem to like those films – this is something you simply can’t expect at all.

Have you ever imagined that the series would be such a huge success? What makes your version of Sherlock Holmes so popular?
I had not the faintest idea. Maybe it’s good we don’t do more episodes. Fans are more keen on what will happen and we do always look fresh and relaxed (laughs). Seriously, I do think that all figures in the series have their very special weaknesses or failures. The audience can accept them more easily.

The finale of series four is about to air (in Germany when this interview was first published). What was the best thing that happend on set?
Definitely Toby, the bloodhound of the first (it says „last“ in the German version) episode. That damn dog wouldn’t move while filming because it turned out he hates asphalt and humans. He was trained in the countryside. It was a real comedy getting him to move.

As Holmes you almost have a romantic relationship with your coat (it says ‚cloak‘ in the German version but you know about cloaks). Is there any private …?
… clothing I have an romantic  relationship? (laughs) Would be cool if I said I have a favourite blanket I’m carrying around since childhood, wouldn’t it? But there is nothing at all. My clothes are very boring, mostly one colour and I prefer silver, grey and blue.

Fans don’t think you are boring. You achieved cult status.
It’s something I never longed for. But it’s part of the job of being an actor.  Biggest problems I have with the pun some of my very intelligent, witty and creative female fans are playing with my name.

You’re hinting at the name „Cumberbitches“ they gave themselves?
Yes, it’s a bit of self humiliating. I have made it quite clear that I would be more happy with a slightly different version of that name. But in the end everyone is free to decide which name to choose for oneself.

What about your wife? Isn’t she jealous of all the female fans?
Sophie loves me and is proud of my work. That’s all that matters. We are made for each other and fit together perfectly. That’s why she has no problems with all the stuff that’s going on. She’s a very strong and confident woman. I am a very lucky man.

How are you dealing with all the fame?
I ignore it and am trying to enjoy all the wonderful moments I can live through as an actor. It’s very easy to be dragged away by all the fuzz that’s made up around your person. That’s why it’s so important for me to have family and friends I know for a very long time. They keep me grounded.

You seem to be very self-confident.
Problem is self-confidence often is taken for arrogance. I’m a man with some short-comings.

That is?
Well, I do like tech gadgets but I’m not really good with them. I’m just an ordinary user who gets screwed up if something doesn’t work.

Do you always have your phone at hand?
Only for my job. Because I would loose out on all my appointments. When I’m at home, I don’t want to know anything of this.

What are you up to when you are at home?
First I’m changing into something very comfy. There’s nothing more wonderful than watching a great film crawled up on the sofa in front of your fireplace. But more often I’m reading a book. That calms me down.

Are you into sports?
Not in any studio. I like hiking in nature or walking through a park to clear my brain. Music helps me.

What is your favourite music?
Everything. Most of all I like songs getting me to think because they cover everything that goes wrong in this world. Just like Radiohead’s „Burn the Witch“. That songs touches my soul.

What should we do to make the world a better place?
It’s up to everyone to decide if or if not to make a difference. I’m working with an organisation called „Liberty“ backing human rights in the UK. We’re trying to support people who are discriminated because of their origin, colour or religion.

You’re 40 now. Do you look back to your 20s nostalgically?
Not at all. The older I get, the happier I get with my life. I love my wonderful life, now more than ever, together with my family and the fantastic people surrounding me. I’m very much looking forward forward to what may lie ahead.

 

The German version of this interview was originally published online here.  My translation is published with the friendly permission of the author.

Sherlock: Die Braut des Grauens

Mit dem Special „Die Braut des Grauens“ verpflanzen die Macher die erfolgreiche britischen Serie von der Moderne in ihre Ursprünge. Am Ostermontag kommt die synchronisierte Fassung ins deutsche Fernsehen (ARD, 21.45 Uhr).

Was zunächst als Weihnachtsspecial angekündigt wurde, erblickte am 1. Januar 2016 das Licht der Fernsehöffentlichkeit. Oder zumindest der Öffentlichkeit, die auf welchem Wege auch immer die Erstausstrahlung im ersten Programm der britischen BBC anschauen konnte. Dem Rest der Fans blieb immerhin der zum Teil zeitversetzte Gang ins Kino, denn in vielen Ländern weltweit durfte die Originalfassung im Umfeld der Fernsehausstrahlung auf die große Leinwand – außer in den deutschsprachigen Ländern.

Denn in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz hat die ARD die Erstausstrahlungsrechte an der synchronisierten Fassung und damit ganz offenbar das Recht, eine Kinoausstrahlung zu verhindern. Eine Ausstrahlung, die wohlgemerkt im englischen Original gezeigt worden wäre und somit ein anderes Publikum angesprochen hätte. Entsprechende Fragen verärgerter Fans beantwortete die ARD lediglich mit der Standardantwort eine Ausstrahlung im Kino sei nur in unmittelbarer Nähe zu einer Ausstrahlung im Fernsehen möglich (oder auch mit der Bitte später noch einmal nachzufragen)– was nach Recherchen der deutschsprachigen Webseite „Sherlock-DE“ so nicht stimmt. Immerhin wurde in China und Belgien „Die Braut des Grauens“ im Kino gezeigt, obwohl in beiden Ländern keine Termine für eine Fernsehausstrahlung feststehen. In Großbritannien war die Rückkehr des Meisterdetektivs auf die Fernsehschirme ein Quotenerfolg für die BBC, die eine Einschaltquote von 40,2 Prozent vermeldete. Über die Feiertage war „Sherlock“ sogar die am meisten gesehene Sendung. Trotz der zeitgleichen Ausstrahlung ließen es sich 18.500 Fans nicht nehmen, „Sherlock“ im Kino zu genießen.

Eine Verneigung vor den Fans

Und ein Genuss war es tatsächlich. Wer nach den ersten Gerüchten, die Erfinder des zeitgenössischen „Sherlock“ Steven Moffat und Mark Gatiss würden ihre Version ins viktorianische England zurückversetzen, der Überzeugung war, beide hätten wahlweise den Verstand verloren oder seien am Ende ihrer Ideen angekommen, wird schon nach wenigen Minuten eines besseren belehrt. Zahlreiche Anspielungen und filmische Zitate aus den vorherigen Staffeln sind vor allem in den ersten Szenen nichts weniger als eine Verneigung vor den zahllosen Fans der Serie. Der Fortgang der Handlung und ihre Auflösung sind eine liebevolle Hommage an den Sherlock-Holmes-Erfinders Arthur Conan Doyle. Die Details erschließen sich wie auch schon bei den vorherigen Folgen erst bei mehrmaligem Anschauen, zu vielschichtig und scharfsinnig sind nicht nur die Dialoge – bei denen wie immer Benedict Cumberbatch den meisten Text lernen muss und in der unglaublichen Geschwindigkeit Sherlocks präzise artikuliert spricht. Martin Freeman als Dr. John Watson ist ihm ein mehr als ebenbürtiger Sparringspartner, der auch im viktorianischen Tweedanzug mehr ist als ein Wortgeber und tollpatischer Bewunderer. Zusammen sind sie ein kongeniales Team, das an Drehorten und im Studio so wirkt, als würden sie in ihren Schauspielerleben nie etwas anderes tun.

Erfolgreiche Hauptdarsteller

Dabei haben es wohl beide Schauspieler nicht mehr nötig, in die berühmte Adresse Baker Street 221B zurückzukehren. Martin Freeman wurde spätestens mit der dreiteiligen Verfilmung des „Hobbit“ einem weltweiten Millionenpublikum bekannt, stand als „Richard III“ auf der Bühne und faszinierte in der ersten Staffel der Fernsehserie „Fargo“. Benedict Cumberbatch brach im vergangenen Jahr als „Hamlet“ die Vorverkaufsrekorde für Londoner Theater, erhielt für seine Darstellung des Codeknackers Alan Turing in „The Imitation Game“ eine Oscar-Nominierung und stand  gerade als „Doctor Strange“ für die Titelrolle des Marvel-Helden vor der Kamera. Die vollen Terminkalender beider Hauptdarsteller sind wohl auch ein Grund dafür, dass neue „Sherlock“-Folgen nur im zweijährigen Rhythmus ausgestrahlt werden – wenn die Fans Glück haben. Doch sowohl Benedict Cumberbatch als auch Martin Freeman mögen die Serie offensichtlich, und die Macher arrangieren die Dreharbeiten entsprechend: die vierte Staffel wird im April diesen Jahres gedreht, eine Ausstrahlung in britischen Fernsehen könnte Anfang 2017 folgen.

Den Trailer zur „Braut des Grauens“ gibt es hier.

You find my review of „The Abominable Bride“ here.

 

Sherlock und Deutschland

Es ist eines dieser Dinge, das ein ständiges Ärgernis ist, der Satz „Dieses Video ist in Ihrem Land nicht verfügbar.“ Nun mag es irgendwo in den Tiefen des Rechts berechtigte Gründe für diese Sperre geben. Unbegreiflich ist es, wenn solche Gründe, die Ausstrahlung einer weltweit populären Sendung wie das Weihnachtsspecial der erfolgreichen BBC-Serie „Sherlock – The Abominable Bride“ in Deutschland nicht nur im Fernsehen verhindern. Sondern auch wohl wegen des Erstausstrahlungsrechts der ARD eine zeitnahe Übertragung im Kino verbieten. Denn die deutsche Fassung, wird irgendwann (Vermutungen gehen Richtung Ostern) unter dem Titel „Die abscheuliche Braut“ synchronisiert laufen.

Wohlgemerkt: synchronisiert! Keine Zweikanaltonfassung obwohl das technisch gesehen – siehe Arte – keinerlei Probleme machen dürfte, keine OmU-Version in der Mediathek – siehe ZDF und das jüngste Beispiel „The Fall“. Auf Anfragen unter anderem der Fanseite „Sherlock DE“ gab es wohl keine Reaktionen. Auf meine E-Mail an die Zuschauerredaktion (siehe Screenshots) mit dem Hinweis darauf, dass echte Fans die Folge sowohl im Kino als auch später im Fernsehen anschauen und es daher sicher nicht zum Verlust von Einschaltquoten kommen würde, verbunden mit der Bitte, die negative Entscheidung doch noch einmal zu überdenken, bekam ich die die lapidare Antwort doch noch einmal zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt nachzufragen. Die Tatsache, dass die Folge am 1. Januar ausgestrahlt werden würde, war der Zuschauerredaktion am 23. Dezember offenbar noch unbekannt.

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

 

 

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

Genauso unbekannt dürfte es offenbar den Veranwortlichen sein, dass Sherlock eine absolute Erfolgsserie ist – eine Tatsache, die noch am Tag danach beim Schreiben dieses Blogeintrags dadurch bestätigt wird, dass der Hashtag #Sherlock in den deutschen Twittertrends ist. Obwohl die BBC hierzulande offiziell nicht empfangbar ist. Was bleibt, ist die vage Hoffnung, dass Zuschauer irgendwann die Originalfassungen im Fernsehen gezeigt bekommen oder dass die BBC als Pay-TV das Licht deutscher Wohnzimmer erblicken wird. Bis dahin bleiben den Fans Livestreams und DVDs/Blurays. Denn wie Sherlock sagt: „You know my methods, John“.

 

Das Titelbild dieses Beitrags ist hier zu finden.

[Update: Laut dieses BBC-Entertainment-Journalisten haben 8,4 Millionen Zuschauer das Special bei der Erstausstrahlung in der BBC angeschaut. In diesen Zahlen sind spätere Aufrufe, etwa in der Mediathek der BBC, dem iPlayer, nicht enthalten.

[Update 5. Januar: Die ARD-Zuschauerredaktion hat mittlerweile auch mit eine Standardantwort geschickt. Auf weitere  Aspekte meiner E-Mail wird gar nicht eingegangen.

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

 

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

 

[Update 11. Januar: Die deutsche FanseiteSherlock_DE hat zu diesem Thema  einen offenen Brief and die ARD geschrieben. Er ist hier zu finden.

So it’s Doctor Strange then

„I’m never bored“, John Watson says to Mycroft when asked what it is like living with his brother Sherlock. The same is true for Benedict Cumberbatch’s fans: When the actor isn’t busy solving crimes as the highly functioning sociopath who will be back in the special „The Abominable Bride“ on New Year’s Day on BBC One he dives into all kind of topics – and takes the Cumbercollective on a fantastic trip into the unknown.

On that trip we  learned about Enigma and the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park when Benedict played Alan Turing in „The Imitation Game“. In  „Black Mass“ we found ourselves in Boston in the 1970s where Benedict as William Bulger is not only a senator but also the brother of the criminal Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp). We read William Shakespeare’s „Hamlet“ (again) to prepare for Benedict’s performance at the Barbican earlier this year. Luckily this was not only a once in a lifetime experience but another step in the career of that amazing actor who will be Richard III in the second series of BBC Two’s „The Hollow Crown“ to be aired some when in 2016. (Because it’s a three part series, better prepare for it and read Henry VI and Richard III.).

And so it’s Doctor Strange then. A fictional superhero who protects earth from mysterious villains with the help of his own magical abilities – at least that is what I have learned so far. But it’s still time for diving into the unknown world of Marvel, open a new door and proving the fact that Benedict is just fantastic.

Doctor Strange will be released in the UK on 28th October.

Bletchley Park – where the codebreakers are still alive

At the beginning: two confessions.
The first: The name „Bletchley Park“ sounds familiar for me since years. I can’t remember why or can’t put my finger on the occasion when the place where hugely intelligent minds cracked the German Enigma code during the Second World War first appeared in my knowledge. And the fact that „Enigma“ is connected to Alan Turing was always hidden somewhere in the far regions of my brain – maybe because of some history teacher back at school (a bow to him whoever he was).

The second: it needed a Benedict Cumberbatch to get my mind to work and bringing my knowledge back to me. So when it was confirmed that Benedict was about to play Alan Turing in „The Imitation Game“ I happily dived into the topic, reading Andrew Hodges‘ „The Enigma“ and literally getting my hands on any possible information about the codebreaker that helped to shorten the war and saved millions of life. And soon enough I made up my mind to see  Bletchley Park for myself, a wish that came true in September of 2015.

Only about an hour train drive from London, Bletchley Park is a space packed with a huge pile of information about Enigma (there are lots of different machines on display),  both a replica of the original Bombe and the one used in the film „The Imitation Game“ (that helped decoding the German messages very fast) and insight looks into life at wartime Bletchley Park with the help of sounds and voices at special spots throughout the place and with offices decorated with very much love to every single detail so that the rooms give the impressions their inhabitants are just off for a lunch break (as the sheet of paper in their typewriters say).

Alan Turing's desk Photo: Petra Breunig

Alan Turing’s desk Photo: Petra Breunig

Especially in Alan Turing’s office, looking at his desk with papers spreading everywhere, his wardrobe where clothes are stuffed carelessly inside and the radiator with a mug chained to, ready to be used in a moment, the past seems to be so alive that I expected Alan Turing tapping me on the shoulder when I carefully stared at his desk, taking a picture.

With the special exhibition  „The Imitation Game“ about to end on November 1st 2015, some Benedict Cumberbatch fans who are in London for „Hamlet“ at the Barbican may think about a visit – they should make up their mind.

[Update: The Imitation Game-exhibition will be open at least till July 2016  „due to popular demand“.

 

 

Hamlet und die Besserwisser

Besserwisser hat es schon immer gegeben. Daher ist es etwas unfair, sie mit Hamlet in einem Satz zu erwähnen. Noch dazu in der Überschrift. Aber es passt so schön – und ist natürlich nichts weiter als eine Google-Honig-ums-Maul-Schmiererei, um mehr Klicks auf diesen Blogeintrag zu bekommen.

Hamlet passt deshalb so gut, weil es vielleicht das bekannteste Stück William Shakespeares ist, und weil gerade Benedict Cumberbatch im Londoner Barbican Theatre nahezu täglich auf der Bühne steht. Genau das aber scheint für so manche Kulturexperten das Problem zu sein. Denn der britische Schauspieler, der durch seine Rolle in der BBC-Serie „Sherlock“ auch bei uns bekannt wurde und zuletzt in „The Imitation Game“ im Kino zu sehen war, hat Fans, die keine Kosten und Mühen scheuen, ihn zu sehen. Nun sollte es Beobachtern (oder sollte ich Außenstehenden schreiben?) egal sein, wofür man sein schwer verdientes Geld ausgibt. Und stundenlanges Anstehen für Karten oder am  Roten Teppich, um ein Autogramm zu bekommen, ist nicht jedermanns Sache. Aber sollte nicht jeder nach seiner Fasson selig werden, solange andere dabei nicht zu Schaden kommen?

Das erste Mal

Doch ganz offenbar ist das mit dem „zu Schaden kommen“ so eine Sache. Denn noch bevor sich der Vorhang im Theater das erste Mal hob, gab es für kulturelle Besserwisser mehr als genug zu kritisieren: Sämtliche Tickets für alle Vorstellungen waren innerhalb kürzester Zeit ausverkauft. Und das nur, weil die Fans Benedict Cumberbatch sehen wollen. Diese Fans können sich nicht benehmen. Sie schreien, sie freuen sich und brechen schon mal in Tränen aus, wenn ihr Idol lächelt oder gar mit ihnen redet. Schlimmer noch: sie haben keine Ahnung von Hamlet, von Shakespeare, und es soll tatsächlich welche geben, die noch nie (!!!) im Theater waren! Alles in allem sind solche Leute wenn nicht der Untergang des Abendlandes, so doch mindestens eine Bedrohung für die Kultur an sich, was im Grunde genommen genau das Gleiche ist. Schlimm genug, wenn solche Meinungen gepostet und damit in die Weiten des Internets geplärrt werden. Gänzlich unerträglich wird es aber dann, wenn Kulturexperten sich schreibend zum Hüter des Heiligen Grals ernennen (vorzugsweise in einer möglichst elitären Sprache) und über Leute die Nase rümpfen, die sie anhand von Satzfetzen oder aus dem Zusammenhang gerissenen Zitaten zu kennen meinen. Selbstverständlich halten es die wenigsten von ihnen für nötig, mit Fans zu reden – ob sie das Gehörte oder Gelesene richtig wiedergeben ist dann noch mal eine ganz andere Sache.

Was ist schlimm daran, sich für einen Schauspieler zu begeistern?

Was bitte, ihr Besserwisser, ist so schlimm daran, dass Menschen sich für einen Schauspieler begeistern? Liegt es daran, dass es nicht um Fußball geht und es viele weibliche Fans sind? Frauen (ja Frauen!), erwachsene Frauen mit Jobs, Familie, also mit einem richtigen Leben, in dem Benedict Cumberbatch zwar eine wichtige, aber nicht die alles entscheidende Rolle spielt. Die weltweit Freundschaften schließen, sich treffen und bereit sind, Neues auszuprobieren –  sei es eine Stadt zu entdecken, eine fremde Sprache zu sprechen, ein Buch zu lesen, einen Film zu sehen oder ins Theater zu gehen.

Hört einfach auf, anderen zu sagen, was sie zu tun und zu lassen haben, auch und gerade wenn es um Kultur geht. Denn es ist nichts Schlimmes daran, wenn man das erste Mal ins Theater geht, das erste Mal Shakespeare liest oder sieht. Und es ist nichts Schlimmes daran, Benedict-Cumberbatch-Fan zu sein.

Sorry, I’ll go & see Hamlet

Yes, I know. I’m the one people who know everything about books, theatre, cinema or other cultural stuff are shaking their heads. And (hold your breath) I’m not a theatre goer. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I prefer a good film or a good book. But I’m reading and watching nearly everything or at least I give it a try – no matter if it’s mainstream or highly recommended by critics written in a very fine language where every single word, every single letter is very well chosen in the one and only attempt to tell me what I have to watch or what I have to read. (Trust me, I do know how journalists work.)

But: I don’t care what critics think.

I don’t care if they tell me that fans of Benedict Cumberbatch will watch Hamlet because of him. Because I am a fan.
I don’t care if they believe that I’m a woman who is silly and weird. Because I am when I’m not on duty. Mostly.
I don’t care if they are rolling their eyes, strongly believing I have no idea what Hamlet is about. Because I do know Hamlet – even as a non native I’m able to understand most of Shakespeare’s play. (There are very good translations and even bilingual editions out there.)
I don’t care if they think that I can’t behave myself. Because I have survived Sherlocked, I met Benedict, I didn’t scream, but had a nice but very little chat with him.
I don’t care if they think fans travelling from other countries to London simply for a play are in no ways to be taken seriously. Because I did it for The Imitation Game. And I will do it for Hamlet. Again.

Honestly: I like reviews with a strong opinion that are absolutely clear about the verdict. But I hate it when critics don’t know what they are writing about, when a simply internet research could help. And I hate it when they are disrespectful to an audience they know nothing about. And yes: fans are an audience, too. And I am one of them.

 

Sherlocked – the convention

Where shall I start writing about an weekend that was stuffed with such a variety of experiences that still are not sorted in my mind – probably never will?

At the beginning there was this series on telly I fell in love with a couple of years ago. BBC’s „Sherlock“ is a treat not only because of the extraordinary professionals that are dealing with bringing a modern Sherlock Holmes to life in our modern times. But it brings fans and crew together in a way that is fascinating and heartwarming at the same time.

Excited and scared at the same time
So when Sherlock the official convention was announced earlier this year, it soon was clear that fans started planning their trip to London – fans from all over the world. And when it finally was time to walk into ExCel, the exhibition and convention centre in London for registration and picking up some items, I – being a totally con newbie – was excited, thrilled and a bit scared. Excited and thrilled because I would finally meet Benedict Cumberbatch in real life, scared because I totally had no clue how not to behave like a idiot and not to fall over while waiting in the queue for my first photoshoot with a man I adore both as a brilliant actor and as a human being. When it was my turn to walk the few steps in front of the camera, I was totally calm and relaxed just because I looked at him while waiting. And although it was only a matter of a few seconds, I obviously managed to say „Good morning, so nice to meet you finally“. Obviously because Benedict looked at me (I mean those eyes!!) and saying „How are you? Nice to meet you, too“ (that voice!!) he put his hand on my shoulder. Seconds later, the camera has fixed that moment forever, Benedict answered my „Thank you, have a nice day“ with a „Have a nice day, too. Take care“ and it was my turn to grab my pic, stroll outside, meet my best friends and other fans who smiled at me who had survived her first BenMoment ever.

A smile at the end of a long day
When I met Benedict for a second shoot inside the 221B Baker Street set, it was almost the end of a long day. He, sitting in Sherlock’s chair, looking tired, gave me a smile. „How are you?“ „Tired, but fine. Has been a long day.“ „Yes“, he answered and while I desperately tried not to fall off or into John’s chair, I realised Benedict murmured something like „Take care, the chair is very low“. Only seconds later I crawled out of the chair, hoping not to fall over my own feet and straight in front of Benedict’s shoes. „Thank you and all the best for you“, I stumbled, looking for seconds straight into his eyes, eyes that brightened (seemed that my voice was still functioning) while Benedict gave me a lovely smile „Aw.That’s very nice. Thank you. Take care“ and I was out of the set again.

I have no idea how others went through these moments, how it was for them meeting Benedict and all the other actors. I found Benedict as lovely, nice, charming and polite as I ever thought he would be. And I respect him even more considering the fact that he must have met hundreds of fans in only one hour, maybe a thousand when the day came to an end. A day where I saw him on stage for a Q&A with fans and introducing a screening of Scandal in Belgravia that wrapped up my day, where he was funny, cheeky and a joy to watch and listen to.

Andrew’s yellow chucks
But there was a con world beyond Benedict, too. And it was thrilling and exciting meeting lots of the other actors. One of my highlights was Andrew Scott’s photoshoot and him signing my pic later. It seems he was really enjoying his time, looking straight at me when I walked over to him for the photoshoot, smiling and giggling as if he was meeting and old friend. A bright smile welcomed me later when it was my turn for getting Andrew’s autograph. „You left me a crying mess after ‚Pride‘,“ I said, causing him to look baffled at me. „But it’s all fine now that you are wearing yellow chucks.“ „Yaaah, chucks are cool, aren’t they?“ Andrew laughed out loud, smiled while he was handing my pic over.

Lars Mikkelsen who made me feel even more tiny at my photoshoot, seemed pleased and smiled when I said „The Team“ hooked me. Una Stubbs greeted me with open arms and made me feel as we could have tea together instantly. Louise Brealey hugged me, asked when I was returning to Germany, ordered nice weather when she learned I had another day in London for strolling round the city (thx, btw, it worked perfectly) and left me with another warm hug, saying „Meet you on Twitter“.

Besides photoshoots and signing, I attended talks with Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Lars Mikkelsen and Andrew Scott, watched a special effect show with Danny Hargreaves and unfortunately missed others. But I met lovely people literally from all over the world. People who were funny, kind, intelligent, interested in such a variety of things and very polite in ignoring my English. People who were friendly enough recognising me behind my Twitter account and started a chat and whom I hopefully will meet again online and in RL. People who are sharing the same love for a fandom which is able to communicate with quotes alone and which hopefully will stay a kind and friendly one.

Yes, this weekend was packed with a huge schedule and it was exhausting. But is was definitely worth it.

Not weird, not stupid, but happy

Two people fall in love  and decide to marry. Isn’t that a most lovely thing to announce in an old fashioned way by an ad in a newspaper? Those who don’t feel happy for the couple must lack feelings at all.

Benedict Cumberbatch did exactly that – rumours know that he previously talked to his soon to be mother in law – and fits all the speculations fans have about a man who isn’t only one of the best actors of his generation. Benedict is as humble and polite, funny and intelligent as a perfect human being could be. At least this is what fans get to know from interviews or even from meeting him in real life. Is  it really such a surprise that he inspires his fans in so many ways and is adored for being the man he is?

No, it isn’t. And no, you don’t have to understand it. But why don’t you just accept that the Cumbercollective loves and adores Benedict Cumberbatch? That his fans are not weird, nor stupid? But people who are very friendly, kind and connected all over the world? And no: we are not Cumberbitches for heaven’s sake. It’s more than two years ago. Of course I know that this word is used to get more clicks on a webpage. But this doesn’t mean that it is okay to use it. It only proves the fact that there are journalists out there who are so arrogant in their struggle to stay above all things, trying not to get emotionally engaged, that they find fans‘ reaction nothing more than ridiculous.

If you read my blog on a regular basis (Hi, reader!) or are following me on Twitter (Hi follower!), you know that I am a journalist myself. I do believe that it is important to get facts right, to stay neutral, to get all the information you can get on the topic you’re writing about, even when you have to face a deadline. But I will never understand why some journalists think that they are something special, that they want to teach their readers right from wrong. And why they are laughing at fans.

Maybe it’s because I’m only working at a local newspaper, in a town where people recognise me in the supermarket and will tell me straight in the face what they hate about my last article. Or what they liked.

Maybe it’s because I’m part of the Cumbercollective. And I am proud of it.

Cumbercollective: Fans that are different

So you do have a hobby? You are addicted to your plants in the garden, you’re passionate when it comes to cooking and baking and you are a fan of a football  team? Relax, everything is fine, there is nothing to worry about – at least till it comes to Benedict Cumberbatch. What a comparison, you may think (I see you are shaking your head) but think it over.

Have a look at the meaning of  „fan“ and you’ll find explanations like „enthusiast“or „admirer“  – which is exactly what fans do when their team wins the match: they cry, they laugh, they jump and they have nothing else to talk about when they meet other fans no matter if they’re meeting online or in real life.
Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch gather in front of the telly to watch a film or a series the British actor takes part. They cry, they laugh, they jump and they have nothing else to talk about when they meet other fans not matter if they’re meeting online or in real life.

„Your loyalty means a lot.
It gives me courage to take risks
and enjoy what I’m doing.“
Source: Indiatoday

Of course you get the parallels. Would you say being a fan of lets say football makes you automatically insane and stupid? No? Why do you think Benedict’s fans are insane and stupid? Why do you think that they are foolish girls only dreaming of their idol, unable to talk in full sentences, only sighing and swooning and screaming? It’s because you don’t really understand what this fandom is about, maybe because you only read the headlines of the yellow press which will always use „Cumberbitches“ to lure more clicks on their websites and more readers to their papers instead of keeping up to date and do their researches properly as Sherlock would grumble.

To set the record straight: Yes, members of the Cumbercollective (and of course the author of this blog) are chatting about Benedict, his appearance (Did you see his hair? Doesn’t this colour fit him well?), his beautiful voice (best listened to with earphones), his hands (yes, they are very huge) or his clothes (Tuxedos & suits! Scarfs & Flipflops! Hats & Glasses!). With his ability to play every characters on the big screen, on telly or doing radio plays, Benedict proves that he is in fact a class of his own. And he forces his fans stretch their brains, learning about such different topics like code breaking because of Alan Turing and the upcoming film „The Imitation Game“, motion caption and JRR Tolkien because of the dragon Smaug in „The Hobbit“ or tyres and high speed cars because he was at the Formula 1 race in Kuala Lumpur. (Yes, there are pics from an Jaguar ice driving course in Finland – but who cares about the cars?)

It is true that fans come together because Benedict is out there, but what is so special about this fandom is that many fans are grown-up women, getting their daily stuff done in real life, are interested and well informed about such different things as literature, films, sports, architecture, history and politics. Many are fluent in at least two languages – English is mandatory if your want to listen to Benedict’s voice – and always ready to help. Want a magazine from another country, a mug from a shop that doesn’t ship abroad, tips for your next trip to US, not sure if the DVD works in your country, badly in need of a live stream? Just drop a line on twitter – and get answers.
Don’t worry if it takes a few hours till they get back to you: Cumbercollective as a whole is always wide awaken and literally everywhere in the world. Due to time shifts they are on duty or simply asleep.

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