Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch survived kidnap attempt in South Africa
BENEDICT Cumberbatch, the actor who plays Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series, has told how he talked his way out of a kidnap attempt.
Mr Cumberbatch, who has won hordes of fans in the hit series based on the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was filming the mini-series To The Ends of the Earth when he was set upon by an armed gang.
The 35-year-old said he feared he would be killed in the ordeal.
He had been travelling back to his hotel after learning to scuba dive in Santa Lucia, South Africa, with the actress Denise Black and a South African friend when the group suffered a punctured tyre.
A gang of six men struck as they were trying to change the tyre, forcing them into a car before driving off, he told the Daily Star.
"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.
I could see the headlight beams bumping over the dirt track and I thought of shallow graves.
"By the end of the night I was tied up next to Denise."
When the gang stopped, they forced Mr Cumberbatch into the boot of the car.
He said: "But I argued my way out," he said. "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.'
"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."