Benedict: "Don't call them Cumberbitches"

Liz Hoggard

In an interview with Caitlin Moran in 'The Times' newspaper, where she is invited round to Sunday lunch with his parents, Benedict Cumberbatch refuses to mock his obsessive female fan base. With aching courtesy he calls them "Cumberwomen or "Cumbergirls".

"It's not even politeness," he insists. "I won't allow you to be my bitches. I think it sets feminism back so many notches. You are... Cumberpeople."

In the interview where Moran meets his actor parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton, at their home in Gloucestershire (next door to Kate Moss' house!), his mother reveal she is desperate to marry Benedict off. "Can you just find him a bird? There must be someone in London who's suitable. I want grandchildren. Please - find my son a bird."

Cumberbatch admits he was a late developer - "Very late, 15, 16 - maybe even 17." At boarding school Harrow he was incredibly bright but cut a bumbling Hugh Grant figure.

But he was never bullied. "Because my parents loved the f***ing life out of me. So I felt confident about the world. Not entitled.. Just like… I could step into the world. Investigate it."

Currently shooting the third series of 'Sherlock' in Bristol, he reveals he is on the 5.2 diet to get skinnier after bulking up for 'Star Trek'.

As for the mysterious triangular hand signal he was photographed making on the set of the series, he admits, rather than a major plot clue, it was his own tribute to the lead-singer of Alt-J who does it when he plays 'Tessellate'.

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Fame is still a constant surprise to Cumberbatch. On the set of the film version of hit play, 'August: Osage County', he could barely act opposite Meryl Streep, because he just wanted to watch her.

Next after the Star Trek villain, we'll see him play Hamlet, Julian Assange, and Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles.

'Star Trek Into Darkness' is currently on release.