Sherlock: Benedict Cumberbatch discusses how he was kidnapped in South Africa!

by Anna Howell

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock superstar, Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he was abducted whilst filming in South Africa in 2000, and that the experience has left him with a permanent scar – as well as mental ones.

The actor, who is currently filming for the third series of the hit BBC detective series, had been working in South Africa for the TV series To the Ends of the Earth, when he and two co-stars were held hostage in an execution position with duvets over their heads after their car was hijacked.

The three men were eventually released into the night where they found help at a nearby truck stop shop, as the Fifth Estate actor has been explaining to The Hollywood Reporter:

“We were in South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal, this amazing district north of Durban. It was cold, and it was dark. I felt rotten. We were wary because that’s a notoriously dangerous place to drive. Then, poof, the front-right tire blows. So we got the spare, but that meant getting all of our luggage out. We were like sitting ducks, adverts for – not prosperity necessarily but materialism.”

The group was approached by a group of men:

“They were like: ‘Look down! Look down! Put your hands on your heads! Look at the floor!’ And they started frisking us and said: ‘Where’s your money? Where’s your drugs?’ – we had smoked a bit of weed – ‘Where are your weapons?’ And at that point, this adrenaline of fight or flight just exploded in my body. I was like, ‘Oh f**k, we’re f**ked!'”


Benedict, who returns to our BBC screens either later this year, or early next with the third series of Sherlock, was thrown into the boot of a car as their ordeal continued:

“I was scared, really scared. I said: ‘What are you going to do with us? Are you going to kill us?’ I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery.

Benedict and his colleague were in the end saved by a stranger and he added:

“It really, really enriches your values in life. It’s incredibly important…..I looked into this black man’s face, and I cried with gratitude”

He continued:

“F**k it. If that’s a cliché, I don’t care.”


In a previous interview with the Daly Mail the actor revealed how the incident has affected his life since, commenting:

”[When we were held captive] I had this realisation that it doesn’t matter how loved you are in your life, you die on your own.

”I’ve still got a scar [on my inner wrist] from where I was tied up. It was terrifying. The next morning I woke up as a free man with the sun on my face and I cried. I thought I’d never feel his warmth again.”

Sherlock returns to our screens for its third series either late this year, or early next – Watch a promo for it, and other great British drama’s being screened on the BBC in the next season in the clip below: