Benedict Cumberbatch and Sherlock Holmes is match made in history

Why does actor Benedict Cumberbatch cut such a dash as British literary detective Sherlock Holmes?

That’s elementary, according to genealogy website Cumberbatch is distantly related to author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the brilliant but quirky sleuth some 130 years ago, the website said.

Cumberbatch, 40, star of the Emmy award-winning BBC TV series, “Sherlock,” is a 16th cousin, twice removed of Doyle.

The two are related through 14th century English nobleman John of Gaunt, who, according to records, was Cumberbatch’s 17th great-grandfather and Conan Doyle’s 15th great-grandfather, Ancestry researchers said.

John of Gaunt, born about 1340, was a son of England’s King Edward III, meaning that Cumberbatch and Conan Doyle also have a distant royal connection.

“How rare that an actor in a major series has the chance to play a character created by a relative, especially one as iconic as Sherlock Holmes,” said Jennifer Utley, a family historian at Ancestry.

“Sherlock,” a modern twist on the life and investigations of the 19th century London detective, first aired in 2010 returns for its fourth series on both U.S. and British television.

The show, in which Cumberbatch plays Holmes as a haughty, socially inept detective to Martin Freeman’s calm, practical Dr. John Watson, is the most popular TV drama in Britain, according to ratings data, and has been sold to 180 other countries.

Conan Doyle published the first of about 60 Sherlock Holmes stories in 1887. The eccentric, violin-playing character has since become one of the best-known fictional detectives in the world and the inspiration for hundreds of movies, stage plays, books and TV shows.

source: Reuters

Can you fill in the gaps in the text about Arthur Conan Doyle with the words below?

reintroduced, assistant,  recognition, prolific, kill off, compilation, Detective Sherlock Holmes, pen

Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 22, 1859. In 1890 his novel, A Study in Scarlet, introduced the character of ………. (1). Doyle would go on to write 60 stories about Sherlock Holmes. A Study in Scarlet introduced the wildly popular characters Detective Sherlock Holmes and his ………. (2), Watson and earned Doyle the ………. (3) he had so desired. It was the first of 60 stories that Doyle would ………. (4) about Sherlock Holmes over the course of his writing career. The ………. (5) author composed four of his most popular Sherlock Holmes books during the 1890s and early 1900s: The Sign of Four (1890), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) and The Hound of Baskervilles, published in 1901. In 1893, to Doyle’s readers’ disdain, he had attempted to ………. (6) his Sherlock Holmes character. In 1901, however, Doyle ………. (7) Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of Baskervilles.

In 1928, Doyle’s final twelve stories about Sherlock Holmes were published in a ………. (8) entitled The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.


1. Detective Sherlock Holmes

2. assistant

3. recognition

4. pen

5. prolific

6. kill off

7. reintroduced

8. compilation

to cut a dash fare una buona impressione
genealogy genealogia, discendenza
distantly related imparentato alla lontana
quirky bizzarro
sleuth investigatore, detective
twice removed di secondo grado
nobleman nobile
according to records secondo i registri
great-grandfather bisnonno
royal reale
rare raro
modern twist maniera moderna
investigation investigazione
haughty arrogante
socially inept socialmente incapace
eccentric eccentrico
fictional immaginario
stage play opera teatrale



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