Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock (BBC One)
Name: Sherlock. Technically Sherlock Holmes, but that’s a bit last-century.
Years in service: Between 4 and 132, depending on whether John Watson returned from Afghanistan and met him in a laboratory in St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1881 or 2010.
Distinguishing characteristics: Long coat, blue scarf, nicotine patches.
Crime scene: 187 North Gower Street, disguised as 221b Baker Street.
Crime-solving technique: Observing everything. Eliminating the impossible. Proving that whatever’s left must be the truth. Irritating everybody.
Key scene: Either revealing (if you believe him) how he jumped off the roof to his death but actually survived, or that one with Irene Adler naked.
Why you should vote for him: Co-creator and co-star Mark Gatiss says, “Surely there can be no other winner? The original Sherlock Holmes — as created by Arthur Conan Doyle — set the template for all other detectives. Everyone that followed was created in relation to Sherlock — from Hercule Poirot to Hugh Laurie’s House.
“What Benedict does is perfectly inhabit Sherlock in a 21st-century form. That’s why he was the only actor we ever considered for the role. He’s as abrasive, unpleasant, worldly and unworldly as Conan Doyle’s books — my favourite scenes are the ones where we think he shows human frailty but it turns out he hasn’t at all. But Benedict adds this Byronic element — he’s a brooding man in a long dark coat who is explicitly unobtainable. Certainly the female fans seem to agree.”
Alison Graham says: ”He’s a true Sherlock for the 21st century — tech-savvy, witty and outrageously abrasive. The perfect re-imagining of one of literature’s greatest heroes.”