Tom Hanks: I love Doctor Who – and I helped make Benedict Cumberbatch a star

Hollywood leading man reveals his satisfaction that he helped make the Sherlock man a star in the film Starter for Ten which he produced

Hollywood actor Tom Hanks said he is delighted that he had a hand in helping to make Benedict Cumberbatch a star and has revealed that he is a fan of all things British – including our very own Doctor Who.


In an exclusive interview with Radio Times published on Tuesday the 57-year-old says of the Time Lord drama: “We got our first colour TV in 1968, and in California that meant all these extra channels nobody watched, filled with trippy Japanese cartoons – and Doctor Who! And we always watched because the English video just looked so weird, and you had the guy with the big red hair and the bow tie.

“And everyone talked in English accents and there were these big salt and pepper shaker robots and we’d look at each other and say ‘Can you make any sense out of this?’ But it was… intriguing. And that’s the root of my affection.”

The star also revealed that in his work as a film producer he has been involved in the early work of some of our hottest film talent including Benedict Cumberbatch.

This was the British film Starter for Ten, adapted from novelist David Nicholls’s tale of young love and University Challenge. Cumberbatch was cast as the priggish head of the University Challenge team at Bristol University in the 2006 film which starred James McAvoy.

Said Hanks: “With every British actor who has since become a huge star! We had James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch in his first or second movie, Rebecca Hall – it was definitely her first movie. We even had that guy – James Corden? Right. It was like a Murderers’ Row of British up-and-comers. Unfortunately, they hadn’t quite upped and come because we didn’t do much business, but there were scenes in there that were just, dare I say it, perfect. You know, in America they wanted to call it ‘Brian Knows Everything’?”

In the interview Hanks also reveals that he is a fan of the real University Challenge as well as Mastermind.

For the full story buy this week’s Radio Times out from Tuesday, priced £1.60