It’s only because Cumberbatch, both the actor and his work, strikes a note with the times that we cannot afford to ignore. It’s the spectre of a man-type cantering back into view, sweeping aside the baby-faced narcissists such as David Beckham and Peter Andre, just as the world was beginning to look so wobbly.
Cumberbatch’s intellectual hunger and social conscience – he’s an old-school socialist wrapped up in the body of a gentle Tory – has secured him an ambassadorship of the Prince of Wales’ Trust. Colin Firth’s other job is a not-for-profit film production company, Brightwide. Dan Stevens is editor-at-large of online literary journal, The Junket. Dominic West is preparing to shoot a documentary about an Indian religious festival with Sanskrit scholar Sir Jim Mallinson. Bruce Parry has written a book about what it means to be human.
Welcome strong, thinking men who might, just might, save the day. These are men who know about real friendship (consider Colin Firth as King George VI and his Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue; Holmes and Watson). Men for whom real-life success is just the beginning of doing well in the world; and for whom money is a means of pursuing one’s real passions rather than buying a yacht.