Benedict Cumberbatch at 40: Our favourite slices of wit and wisdom…

A regular face on the front cover of The Big Issue, here are our favourite quotes from the one and only Benedict Cumberbatch...

Benedict Cumberbatch turns 40 today.

A long-time friend of the Big Issue, the Sherlock star has been a regular interviewee and cover star over recent years (below).

As we raise a toast to the brightest star of British stage and screen acting (Happy #CumberBirthday!) , here are a few slices of wit and wisdom from our archive of interviews with the fantastic Mr Cumberbatch…


“I get out of bed to make [my parents] proud.” Issue 949, May 16 2011.

I’ve been judged for my relationships or not being a father in the weirdest ways 

“I’m building a home at the moment, and it would be nice to fill that home with love and life and children – that has been an ambition of mine. I think I have been waiting to do it since I was twelve, really.” Issue 1014, August 20 2012.

“I wasn’t really born with a silver spoon in my mouth or as part of the landed gentry. My parents just worked fucking hard to afford me a very expensive education.” Issue 1014, August 20 2012.

“I’ve been judged for my relationships or not being a father in the weirdest ways. All I’ll say is, when it’s right, it’s right”. Issue 1128, November 9 2014.


“I’ve been the next big thing for about ten years. It’s a running joke with me and my friends.” Issue 949, May 16 2011.

“Maybe after Star Trek, then I’ll become one, I guess. But probably now. I don’t know, I mean, start calling it me it, why not? I can be Benedict Cumberbatch movie star…” Issue 1014, August 20 2012.

“I want to be known as an actor – not as a film star, or theatre actor, or television actor, or Sherlock, or just for one role. I want to be known as an actor and do a bit of everything.” Issue 1084, January 6 2014.

“I’m always cast as sort of slightly wan, ethereal, troubled intellectuals or physically ambivalent bad lovers. I’m here to tell you I’m quite the opposite in real life.” Issue 1014, August 20 2012.

“Behind the camera is where I think my future might be. I would love to oversee a project from conception to completion… I think that would be incredible.” Issue 1084, January 6 2014.


The Big Issue is a multi award-winning magazine, edited by the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) current Editor of the Year.

“I’ve played straight-up heroes and comic fools and kids next door. But the oddballs, the outsiders – Sherlock, Assange, Turing – they spike. And there’s a reason for that. Because they make us lean in. And that’s what makes them attractive.” Issue 1128, November 9 2014.

“You don’t have time to sit on a deckchair and sup on a cocktail between takes when you are making a film. There is this idea that filming movies is luxurious whereas as television is all work and nothing else. They are both pretty demanding.” Issue 1084, January 6 2014.

On playing Alan Turing in The Imitation Game: “Yep, I’m playing another brainy guy” Issue 1084, January 6 2014.


“I see people who are at the stage door that are obsessed with me, sometimes more than I do my own mother, which is a bit weird.” Issue 949, May 16 2011.

“It is great that we have such an ardent fanship, and that is testament to us doing something right.” Issue 1084, January 6 2014.


“Cameron’s Big Society is just a terrible bit of window dressing for the fact that the government is withdrawing its support for the basic fabric of society and the most needy, the most poor, the most at risk in favour of bailing out the money system, which we know now is teetering on the brink of utter corruption.” Issue 1014, August 20 2012.

“I get worried about the state of the world and upset about what people deem important.” Issue 1128, November 9 2014.

“I know how lucky I am to be paid to be in a position to have a voice, do mu work and also just the fact that it is really good fun. You owe society a little bit for that.” Issue 1084, January 6 2014.

“I wanted to tip tables over and shout from the rooftops – why the fuck did this happen? Who gives a fuck about apologies or pardons now? It’s too late. The only person you can apologise to is him, and you can’t because you fucking killed him.” On Alan Turing’s royal pardon, 59 years after his death. Issue 1128, November 9 2014.

“I’m not just what the label makes me look like, having been to a public school.” Issue 1084, January 6 2014.


“As I get older I increasingly feel the need to step back, ask what I’m neglecting, what do other people need of me. I want to be more impulsive, to be able to suddenly go away for the weekend. Whenever I get the rare chance to be impulsive I grab it with both hands, which is why I do stupid things sometimes. Having said that, I don’t know how long I’ll ride a motorbike for. I’m sure if and when I become a dad I won’t want to do that any more.” Issue 1128, November 9 2014.

“I have peers doing some pretty interesting film work. You know, whether it is Andrew Garfield, Tom Hiddleston, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy or Tom Hardy – people I have worked with or who are very close friends and are doing wonderful stuff.” Issue 1014, August 20 2012.

“I love being off the grid and just having the primal experiences that we’re all entitled to as humans on this Earth – whether it’s love of someone dear to us, children, nature… I know it sounds very soppy but it’s hugely important to nourish what it is in us that’s human.” Issue 1128, November 9 2014.

Whenever I get the rare chance to be impulsive I grab it with both hands 

“I really fancy a cigarette. Does anybody smoke? Do you smoke? You healthy buggers.” On location in Belgium during the filming of Parade’s End. Issue 1014, August 20 2012.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game (left) and Star Trek (right)


“There is something very Mr Darcy-esque about his Sherlock. He is unattainable. He explicitly claims no interest in either sex, therefore he becomes very desirable. But the way Ben plays him and the way he looks is quite Byronic. He has made Sherlock Holmes sexy.” Mark Gatiss, Issue 1147, March 30 2015.

“I spoke to Ben at the Hamlet first night, and it was lovely. He is over the moon that he has a little boy. He is riding that wave of being a famous actor and loving every minute of it. And why wouldn’t you?” Amanda AbbingtonChristmas Special 2015. Issue 1184.

“Benedict is flying high. I really admire his trajectory. He’s a very, very talented actor and a good friend. We’ve known one another since the start. His work on stage and screen is just awesome.” Dan Stevens, Issue 1119, September 30.

“We all are extremely proud of Benedict Cumberbatch. Sherlock turned him from a respected actor into a star. That happens very rarely, and he is keen to keep playing the part because he knows how much it has done for him, how much people love him playing it, and he loves it as well. It is quite a journey, isn’t it?” Mark Gatiss, Issue 1147, March 30 2015.

Original interviews by Adrian Lobb, Jane Graham, Laura Kelly