Track down the world’s most famous detective? Sure it’s elementary.
Or so we thought when we dispatched an amateur sleuth and Evening News reporter to investigate the strange case of Benedict Cumberbatch in Edinburgh.
The actor caused a mini-storm on social media when his arrival was announced yesterday, as his fans worldwide demanded to know what had brought him to Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthplace.
Always up for a challenge, we set to work to track the Sherlock star’s movements using techniques of deduction to rival the renowned consulting detective himself (and more successfully an appeal on Twitter).
Soon we had our first clue.
“Just seen Benedict Cumberbatch at the Botanic Gardens,” wrote one source. There was no time to lose, we were off and the game was afoot.
Speeding through the streets, we pulled up at the gates to the Botanics. Alas the short delay to find a parking space for our carriage proved costly. We were too late.
“He went to the Glasshouse for 15 minutes,” one helpful Gardens member of staff told us. He had been there with a female companion apparently. “He said how lovely it was and that they might come back later, and asked would his ticket still be valid.
“The member of staff who welcomed them was Lucy Cooke. She is a big fan but she said it was only when she was speaking to him face to face that she realised who he was.
“Lucy said he was lovely and very pleasant, and looked exactly like Sherlock Holmes because he was wearing a cap.”
A disguise then? The 38-year-old actor was just one step ahead. The identity of his female companion was a mystery but it has been reported that Cumberbatch is in a relationship with 36-year-old theatre director Sophie Hunter, whose mother lives in Edinburgh – but where?
Sherlock Holmes famously lived at 221b Baker Street in London – Edinburgh has no Baker Street, but it does have a Bread Street. Was he there? No.
Holmes had a theory that when the impossible has been eliminated, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Could Cumberbatch, then, have taken a ride on the trams?
York Place, the final stop at the east end of the route, is only a short distance from the statue of the Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place and the Conan Doyle pub.
There was no sign, though Sam Bradley, a receptionist at Twelve Picardy Place, promised to keep a lookout.
Ramesh Patel, 40, of Dean Village, suggested that Cumberbatch might be out on George Street. “You could try Tigerlily or the Opal Lounge – that’s where posh people drink.
“Failing that, you could try Kyloe on Rutland Street. He needs to eat and where else would he get a steak?”
But Tommy Cook, 62, of Murrayfield, believed the actor might have popped into Moriarty’s Bar on Lothian Road: “It’s named after Sherlock Holmes’ arch-enemy. He would feel right at home there, and it would a great place to get in character.”
Perhaps, or maybe not. We retired to our rooms to consider the case further. The hunt continues . . .
‘One of the most influential people in the world’
BENEDICT Cumberbatch has been honoured by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts with a Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year for his “masterful performances in television, film and theatre.”
Named as one of the “Most Influential People in the World” in this year’s Time magazine annual list, he has appeared in 12 Years a Slave, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
He’s set to hit big screens in The Imitation Game as Alan Turing, the man who cracked the Nazis’ Enigma code during the Second World War.
Then, In The Hollow Crown, he will play notorious King Richard III and will star alongside Dame Judi Dench.
Born and raised in London, his parents were both actors. He is the grandson of a submarine commander.