Benedict Cumberbatch joins Stephen Hawking at the premiere of his new documentary series

The Sherlock star joined Dara O Briain, Will Self and others at Professor Hawking's big event


Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was among the stars of academia, media and TV in attendance last night at the premiere of theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking’s new documentary series, Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design.


Taking place at London’s presitgious Royal Society, the event saw writers Will Self and Adam Rutherford join experimental physicist Athene Donald, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Cumberbatch and Mock the Week host Dara O Briain for a debate about where science will take us over the next 40 years.

(L-R back row: Will Self, Martin Rees, Dara O Briain, Athene Donald, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Rutherford; front:  Stephen Hawking)

O Briain hosted the debate and kicked off by quipping that Kevin McCloud and Channel 4’s lawyers will doubtless be keeping a close watch on the series on account of Grand Design’s titular similarity to C4 property series Grand Designs.

While O Briain joked on Twitter before the premiere that he might struggle with the debate, as he’d spent part of the day playing a drinking game with Lee Mack for his new stand-up DVD, the Irish comedian had a whale of a time.

“What a mad night,” he tweeted, before joking: “The high point was Benedict Cumberbatch telling Stephen exclusive details of the new Star Trek film.”

The other panellists evidently enjoyed themselves too, as Adam Rutherford tweeted Athene Donald after the event to say “lovely to meet you at last, sorry we didn’t catchup afterwards,” to which the Cambridge physicist responded: “Indeed! Hope our paths cross again soon. Interesting event.”

Reflecting on last night’s event earlier today, O Briain joked that, having enjoyed such convivial company with some of his heroes, his life had “peaked”.

“So, margaritas with Sherlock Holmes and Stephen Hawking. My life has peaked. Sell your Dara shares now,” he wrote.

Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design begins on Discover on Thursday 13 September at 9:00pm.


If you’d like a taster of what to expect from the programme, check out this clip of show in which Hawking and Cumberbatch outline exactly what constitutes a law of nature.