Benedict Cumberbatch was ‘held back’ by his Harrow schooling

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Benedict Cumberbatch was ‘held back’ by his Harrow schooling

Benedict Cumberbatch's former drama teacher has spoken out on how she spotted his star talent and how his Harrow schooling may have been detrimental to his career in the beginning.
 
Martin Tyrell, Cumberbatch's drama teacher at public school Harrow, told Radio Times magazine: "Even as a 13-year-old, he was obviously an outstanding actor - a combination of intuition and intellect.
 
He spoke on how it was the role of the "saucy French maid" played by Cumberbatch was the first time he spotted his "magnificent" acting.
 
Mr Tyrell insisted his expensive education has actually hindered rather than helped his career.
 
This comes after a privilege row on the arts that has been ongoing, in which Chris Bryant MP critisied private schooling for the likes of James Blunt and Eddie Redmayne.

The MP said: “But it is really tough forging a career in the arts if you can’t afford the enormous fees for drama school, if you don’t know anybody who can give you a leg up.”
 
Dominic West, Damian Lewis and Tom Hiddleston are among the privately educated British actors who are enjoying big success in Hollywood.

Veteran actress Julie Walters, The Walking Dead star David Morrissey and Call The Midwife star Stephen McGann have complained about the dearth of young actors emerging from poorer backgrounds.

But Mr Tyrell told the magazine: "Going to a major independent school is of no importance or value or help at all.

"I don't think anyone ever bought an education at Harrow in order for their son to become an actor."

He added: "I feel that they are being limited (from playing certain parts) by critics and audiences as a result of what their parents did for them at the age of 13. And that seems to me very unfair."

The Imitation Game actor has been shortlisted for an Academy Award for his role as mathematician and Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing in the movie.

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