Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he survived a kidnap attempt in South Africa by using the covert skill of… talking.
Cumberbatch, who was filming the series To the Ends of the Earth in 2005, was travelling back to his hotel with actress Denise Black and a friend when the group suffered a punctured tyre.
It was then that they were attacked by an armed gang, frisked for drugs, money and weapons, and bundled into a car.
Speaking about the terrifying ordeal, the actor told the Daily Star how he had feared for his life: “I could see the headlight beams bumping over the dirt track and I thought of shallow graves.”
But, in a manner befitting his level-headed character, Holmes, the actor used his quick thinking to convince his captors to release them – by claiming he had serious medical problems.
“I just tried to explain to them: ‘I will die, possibly have a fit, and it will be a problem for you. I will be a dead Englishman in your car. Not good.’
“They shut the boot and had an argument, and then pulled me out.”
He added: “I kind of thank God I had the presence of mind to give them the idea that it would be better to keep me alive. And the other two hadn’t been harmed. It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary.”