Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock star talked his way out of kidnap attempt in South Africa


'I will be a dead Englishman in your car – not good': Benedict Cumberbatch talked his way out of kidnap attempt in South Africa


Held at gunpoint: Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch talked his way out of an armed kidnapping while filming South Africa a few years ago

Held at gunpoint: Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch talked his way out of an armed kidnapping while filming South Africa a few years ago

As the crime-fighting super sleuth Sherlock Holmes, he has faced some pretty nasty characters during his investigations.

But Benedict Cumberbatch found himself in the middle of a real-life drama that could have cost him his life – if he hadn't talked his way out of it.

And the actor found himself taking a leaf out of his on-screen alter ego as he reasoned with his kidnappers who then set him free.

In 2005, the 35-year-old was in South Africa filming the TV mini-series To The Ends of the Earth and had gone to Santa Lucia, on the northeast coast near Mozambique, to learn scuba-diving with two friends.

But as he was driving back to his hotel with actress Denise Black and a South African friend, a tyre on their car blew and they were attacked by armed car jackers.

Benedict said that the men appeared as they were trying to change the tyre and added: 'They said, “put your hands on your head,
don’t look at us”, and were frisking us for drugs, money, weapons.Then
they bundled us into the car.'

He said they were held hostage and driven off along a dirt track and he found himself tied to Denise by the end of the night.

And when the gang finally stopped the car, Benedict, fearing for their lives, managed to talk the gang into letting them go after they dragged him into the boot of the car.

Tied up: Former Coronation Street star Denise Black was with Cumberbatch when they were carjacked

Tied up: Former Coronation Street star Denise Black was with Cumberbatch when they were carjacked

He explained: 'But I argued my way out. I said: “If
you leave me in here, it’s not the lack of air, it’s the small space.
There’s a problem with my heart and my brain”.

'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”.'

He was pulled out of the boot and tied up to his two friends, who were left unharmed.

Horror in paradise: Cumberbatch and Black were attacked in Santa Lucia in South Africa

Horror in paradise: Cumberbatch and Black were attacked in Santa Lucia in South Africa

Benedict said: '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.'

Benedict is currently filming The Hobbit in New Zealand, but made it back to the UK this week for the premiere of Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of War Horse.

In the film, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, he plays Major Stewart.

Dynamic duo: Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock and his assistant Dr John Watson

Dynamic duo: Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock and his assistant Dr John Watson

But he is best known for his role as Sherlock, alongside Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson who has also been filming The Hobbit for his role as Bilbo Baggins.

The last episode in the three-part second series of the popular drama will be aired this Sunday night on BBC One at 9pm.

Charge! Cumberbatch plays Major Stewart in Spielberg's big screen adaptation of War Horse

Charge! Cumberbatch plays Major Stewart in Spielberg's big screen adaptation of War Horse