SHERLOCK star Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed his latest telly role is the toughest yet, saying: “He’s not just another toff in a period drama.”
Benedict is playing accidental hero Christopher Tietjens in a BBC2 adaptation of the Ford Madox Ford classic Parade’s End, which screens this autumn.
The actor told how the part of “fat blockhead” Tietjens tested him to his limits — before he realised that no one had read the book.
He said: “I have such a huge affection for Christopher — more so than almost any other character I’ve played.
“He’s not just another toff in a period drama.
“I sympathise with his care, his sense of duty and virtue, his intelligence in the face of hypocritical, self-serving mediocrity and his love for his country. That is what leads me to love this fat, baggy bolster of a blockhead.
“It’s what distinguishes him from being yet another toff to being quietly but truly heroic.
“But playing him was really hard to begin with. I couldn’t get past certain things. He is a big Yorkshireman and I was really distracted by that.
“I didn’t understand who he was. I knew coming straight from Sherlock I couldn’t just eat myself into the role — not within the space of a week.
“I really was at sea. But in a way the role is a blank canvas. It isn’t like playing other well-known leads because it is one of the great book series most people haven’t read.”