Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson become fellows of Oxford College

Lady Margaret Hall also appointed children’s author Malorie Blackman and the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson are set to hobnob with Oxford students in their spare time, after the actors accepted appointments as visiting fellows at the University’s Lady Margaret Hall college yesterday.

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The pair, who are also joined by well-known names such as the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and children’s author Malorie Blackman, were announced to be joining the programme by former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, now principal at Lady Margaret Hall.

“They are people drawn from a variety of backgrounds, callings and professions and we want them to form a bridge between our own academic community and the worlds they inhabit and represent,” Rusbridger said (via The Guardian). 

“At a minimum we’d like them to drop in occasionally at college, eat with us and meet informally with a variety of the LMH community.

Other appointees include musician Mark Simpson, high court judge Rabinder Singh and Thames Valley police chief constable Francis Habgood, and while the fellowships are only part-time commitments Rusbridger said he expected them to bring great benefit to the student body.

“We’d like them to do one thing a bit more structured. It could be a conversation or debate, a performance, a lecture or seminar, a form of outreach – or something we haven’t thought of. We can imagine fascinating interactions or collaborations between them. 

“They are welcome to come and stay in college if they’d like a place temporarily to think or work. And some have already suggested other ways in which they might engage with a body of 700 incredibly smart students and tutors in order to stimulate their own thinking or work in progress.”

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He concluded: “Some of the names we announce today did not go to university. One left school at 16. We think we can learn much from them – and we hope they treasure their time with us.”