The world-renowned actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, primarily known for his roles as Sherlock Holmes and Marvel’s Dr Strange, once had his roots firmly placed in Harrow.
Benedict Cumberbatch is a household name for his numerous iconic roles. However, the part that truly launched his career was playing the eponymous lead in the hit award-winning detective drama series Sherlock Holmes, which aired on BBC one in 2010. If his potential as a great actor hadn’t already been solidified by his work on the west end, the world was now truly allowed witness into his capacity for complex and intellectual characters.
However, it is worth considering where it all began.
Cumberbatch’s earliest inclinations towards the performing arts first took root in Harrow School.
A boarding school for boys aged 13-18, founded in 1572 under the Royal Charter, the grandiose institution encompasses much of Harrow on the Hill in northwest London.
The school’s primary goals are to imbue a sense of strength and nobility of character within their students. Meanwhile, driving their pupils towards becoming excellent role models, be it for their fellow pupils, or in the case of Cumberbatch, towards inspirational status on the world’s stage.
Benedict Cumberbatch, now known on the school’s website as a notable Harrovian, attended as an art scholar and while studying, was eager to join clubs in the hopes of exercising his performing abilities.
As ambitious and driven as he was, he became a fervent member of both the remarkable Rattigan society and Harrow’s principal club for the dramatic arts.
At the mere age of 12 years old, he made a debut feature in the school’s production of “a midsummer night’s dream”, as the character Titania, whilst later performing in further Shakespearean plays hosted by the school.
However, his first leading role, came in the form of Eliza Doolittle, through a rendition of the classic “Pygmalion”. Though the role itself was emotionally demanding Cumberbatch managed to cement his status as a high-achieving performer. And was lauded for his ability to outshine his fellow cast members with effortless dignity and dedication to his part.
With retrospective irony, it is worth looking back at the words imparted to him while studying. At a point, Cumberbatch was dissuaded by his drama teacher at secondary school from entering the rigorous world of acting. His teacher warned him of it being a “tough business”, sincere advice that anyone with ambitions in the field would have to take into consideration.
Fortunately for all of us Sherlock fans, however, he maintained steadfast in his chosen career path and went on to feature in numerous eminent works. All the while providing awe-inspiring performances that continue to have the world on the edge of its seats.