When Benedict Cumberbatch received the title of Empire 's "Sexiest Movie Star" in 2013, few were surprised: Given the explosive fan reaction to his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes — Tumblrs upon Tumblrs, slashfics upon slashfics — it seemed only logical, even to those who prefer their Hollywood hunks of the Channing Tatum persuasion. What is surprising, then, is the recent revelation from Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat in an interview with Radio Times magazine, that executives at the BBC initially worried that Cumberbatch was "not sexy enough" for his breakout role: "You promised us a sexy Sherlock, not him," they reportedly complained (in so many words, one imagines).
Which is, of course, patently absurd.
While he may not be everyone's cup of tea (a friend of mine has repeatedly contended that he looks like "a condom full of mayonnaise mated with a lamprey eel") — and a Tumblr post comparing his appearance to Butthead did have me snort-cackling on the subway with its accuracy — there is nonetheless something magnetic about everyone's favorite high-functioning sociopath. Just ask the avid Sherlock fans in China who've dubbed him "Curly-fu" and devoted endless forum pages to cataloguing his sexual appeal (albeit, specifically in gay slashfic with Martin "Peanut" Freeman, but hey).
Maybe it's the wry inscrutability of his most famous role, or those austere cheekbones, quite simply built to sprout from starched period-costume collars — because don't we all have an underlying Mr. Darcy fetish, when it comes down to it? Still, odds are, it's just Bandersnatch Cummerbund himself and his many, undeniably crushable deeds — five of which are enumerated below, as empirical proof that the folks at the BBC don't know sexy from a hole in the wall. (Or, well, not that kind of hole, anyway.)
5. That Time He Read Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale," Or "Jabberwocky," Or Spoke at All About Anything, Ever.
A good voice is a good voice, and a good British voice is better than most. Though Jeremy Irons will always hold my personal vocal trophy, Cumberbatch comes in solidly in the top 10, says I.
4. That Time He Objected, in the Most Gentlemanly Fashion, to the Fandom Name "Cumberbitches."
Of course, there's an argument to be made that women should be welcome to reclaim any title they like, "Cumberbitch" included — but it's the thought that counts here, as well as the bashfulness, his fumbling concern that even "Cumberbabes" would be "setting feminism back a bit." Nothing is hotter in dudes than demonstrating genuine concern for women's issues. Case in point: Feminist Ryan Gosling.
3. That Time He Photobombed U2.
Because what's sexier than a sense of humor? Or leap-capable leg strength?
2. That Time He Looked Wistfully Out a Train Window.
... and you realized that all you'd ever wanted was to be there beside him, would follow him blindly to the ends of the Earth (provided he brought along a book of Keats, of course).
And/or, the time he said this line, and some beautiful Internet soul allowed you to take it out of context, on repeat, forever:
And, in deference to the 100+ "sexy GIFs of Benedict Cumberbatch" Tumblrs out there, I'll throw this one into the mix, too — without further comment, however, as I am a Lady.
1. That Sherlock Scene I've Repeatedly Described as "The Sexiest Thing I Have Ever Seen"
Yes, even before called upon by Steven Moffat / the BBC to assemble the aforementioned QED of Cumberbatch appeal, I'd long been shopping this clip around as explanation for my unshakeable crush. Behold, the moment at which I fell. "Hanged," indeed.