The Really Important Retrospective: The Best Benedict Cumberbatch Videos of 2013


Benedict Cumberbatch, in one of his many amazing 2013 clips (Photo: PBS via YouTube)
(I assume you all knew this post was coming in some form or other after the similar Tom Hiddleston version yesterday.)

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch had something of a breakout year in 2013. While Anglophiles everywhere were already aware of him thanks to his fantastic performance as the world’s only consulting detective, this year, he definitely gained a… global profile. Or at least took over the internet it would appear.

Cumberbatch had a major role in no fewer than five feature films this year – Star Trek Into Darkness, The Fifth Estate, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,  and August: Osage County. Consequently, if it seemed like the actor was literally everywhere in 2013, well. That’s probably because he was.

As a fan of his work, it’s been rather lovely to watch his career take off. It’s also lead to some rather amazing moments from all sorts of surprising places, which is what this post is here to celebrate.

Behold, some of my favorite Cumberbatch moments from 2013. This list is in no way comprehensive and, to be honest, I’m actually looking forward to watching any and all videos that might get suggested to me instead in the comments. (Hint Hint.)

Bringing Some Gravitats to R. Kelly’s Black Panties. Probably the best single Cumberbatch video of the year, if you haven’t seen the posh British actor reciting the generally uncomfortable and occasionally frightening lyrics of R&B singer R.Kelly, well, seriously, where have you been. Cumberbatch performed a dramatic reading of the song Genius on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show, and it’s about seventeen kinds of amazing. 

Benedict Cumberbatch Reads R. Kelly's "Genius"

The Graham Norton Chewbacca Impression. Whilst Cumberbatch is known for his skills as a mimic, there’s something to be said for watching him do his best Wookie impersonation on The Graham Norton Show while sitting next to legendary Star Wars actor Harrison Ford

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH does Chewbacca Impression - The Graham Norton Show BBC AMERICA

Even More Impressions on Jimmy Fallon: Cumberbatch’s best appearance on Fallon was a bit in which he recited Snoop Dogg lyrics in an an Alan Rickman voice – sadly, that clip doesn’t appear to be available online anywhere anymore. (Got a link? Hit a girl up.) So, we’ll all just have to be satisfied with this other Fallon appearance, in which Cumberbatch is asked to do on-the-spot impersonations based on images that appear in flash cards. It’s pretty adorable. 

Hilarity from The Hobbit Press Junket. Press junkets are always extremely weird times where the same group of actors are herded into a room to answer the same questions about a project over and over again to a seemingly never-ending line of journalists. The upside of this is that once junkets go on for a while, really weird and silly things tend to happen.

This is one of those things. Several members of the cast – for some totally unfathomable reason have to try to guess whose feet are depicted in a series of photos. It’s hilarious. 

That Deleted Scene from Star Trek. There was quote the internet brouhaha surrounding British actress Alice Eve’s appearance in the Star Trek sequel or, more specifically, the scene in which her character appeared in her underwear for no ostensible reason. In attempt to quite the uproar, director J.J. Abrams appeared on the Conan show with similarly quasi-sexist scene featuring Cumberbatch taking the world’s most aggressive shower, which had been cut from the final film. Fangirls everywhere, you’re welcome. 

Comic Con 2014 Video Messages. Sherlock held its first ever panel at the annual Comic Con International convention this year but, sadly, neither of its main stars could be in attendance, as both Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were busy with other filming commitments. That didn’t stop the Sherlock duo from recording video messages to say hello to the fans who packed Ballroom 20, though.

While most of this – or at least Freeman’s bit – is a standard sort of “Sorry we couldn’t make it to Comic Con, we love the fans, thanks for all your enthusiasm around our show” kind of message, the absolute best bit is where Cumberbatch declares that he’s tired of keeping secrets after the whole Star Trek Into Darkness situation, and is going to tell everyone How Sherlock Faked His Death. Which he then proceeds to act out with a stuffed monkey, while being constantly bleeped by unseen censors. It’s adorable. 

Martin Freeman & Benedict Cumberbatch / Comic-Con 2013 -- MASTERPIECE Sherlock Series 3

The Star in the Reasonably Priced Car. Watching Cumberbatch drive a Vauxhall Astra around the Top Gear track was certainly a highlight of my 2013.

And this behind-the-scenes bit is, in many ways, even more fun than his actual interview on the show. 

Benedict Cumberbatch's Lap - Behind the Scenes - Top Gear Series 20

Safety First. If you never saw the whole thing about the Neutron Cream prank that the Star Trek Into Darkness cast did? Watch this: 

Safety First (Neutron Cream Prank) - Star Trek Into Darkness

BAFTA Artist of the Year Acceptance Speech. Cumberbatch was awarded the 2013 British Artist of the Year award at the British Academy of Film and Television Art’s (BAFTA) annual Britannia Awards. Cumberbatch after all had something of a breakout year in 2013, due to his multiple major film roles, as well as the constantly growing popularity of his Sherlock. Whether this award was also something of an apology for the fact that Cumberbatch keeps getting nominated for acting BAFTAs, Emmys and Golden Globes and subsequently getting passed over is up for debate, but it’s always nice to see real talent recognized. 

Cumberbatch’s full acceptance speech wasn’t shown during the BBC America television broadcast, but you can watch the whole thing here. It’s as sweet and self-deprecating as you might imagine, and yet again you’ll probably have problems believing that the actor hasn’t somehow been crafted out of factory perfect parts and assembled in a lab. 

As I said, this is a mere sampling of what has been termed by some rabid fans as The Year of the Cumberbatch. I know it’s not complete. Is there something you really think should be here that isn’t? Link me in the comments and maybe we’ll do an addendum.