Benedict Cumberbatch rescued a cyclist who was being assaulted by hoodlums

Benedict Cumberbatch arriving at BBC Radio Two Studios to promote his new Sky Atlantic Series 'Patrick Melrose' - London

I’ve never really thought of Benedict Cumberbatch as particularly butch. I’m not making some sweeping statement about gender norms or anything, but I’ve just never thought of him as a tough guy, a dude who would get involved if someone was being physically harmed in some way. Like, I could see Jake Gyllenhaal that way. I could see Ryan Gosling that way. But Benedict? Nah. But according to the British papers, Benedict came to the rescue of a man who was being attacked in London.

Benedict Cumberbatch is said to have leaped to the rescue of a Deliveroo rider who was being beaten up by a group of four, it emerged on Friday night. The Sun reports Cumberbatch was in an Uber vehicle on Marylebone High Street in central London with his wife, Sophie Hunter, when they saw the cyclist being hit over the head with a bottle. The driver of the car, Manuel Dias, told the newspaper: ‘Benedict was courageous, brave and selfless. If he hadn’t stepped in the cyclist could have been seriously injured. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street. He stood there instructing them in the street, shouting, “Leave him alone”.’

The driver said he grabbed one of the men and Benedict got hold of another and added the star knew exactly what to do. The attackers reportedly tried to punch the actor, who managed to push them away. The driver says they fled when they recognised who he was. After the frenzy was over, Benedict asked the cyclist how he was and when he replied that he was okay, the actor embraced him. According to The Sun, the actor said: ‘I did it out of, well, I had to, you know?’

[From The Daily Mail]

He was doing it to impress Sophie! She was watching from the Uber as her brave otter fended off hoodlums. If this really happened, then props to him – studies have shown that when most people encounter those kinds of situations, we either ignore them, watch from the sidelines (frozen) or our fight-or-flight instinct kicks in, depending on who it is and how close it is. I’m not sure my first instinct would be to jump out of a car and start punching some violent hoodlums, is what I’m saying. Good for Bendy. He’s a good otter.

Benedict Cumberbatch arriving at BBC Radio Two Studios to promote his new Sky Atlantic Series 'Patrick Melrose' - London

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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43 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch rescued a cyclist who was being assaulted by hoodlums”

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  1. manda says:

    My favorite part of the story is the hug at the end! Too funny

  2. CidyKitty says:

    This sounds like pure fanfiction. I mean kudos to him if he did it.

  3. hoopjumper says:

    I mean, I would download a children’s audiobook called “Otter Be Brave” as long as it was narrated by the right Benedict Cumberbatch.

  4. Mariposa says:

    I think that fight/flight/freeze thing is completely instinctive, it’s not something we have much control over.

    Quite a few years ago, I was hitchhiking and when the car I was in didn’t stop at the intersection I wanted, but kept driving on (with the driver mumbling something about going to see a friend). Without even thinking I started waving my arms around, stamping my feet and yelling. The guy kind of panicked and pulled over and I got out. It wasn’t until many years later that I realised that was just instinct — I was trying to make myself as big and loud as possible. Of course, that kind of thing can sometimes be more dangerous than freezing…it really depends on the situation.

    • Spring says:

      You’re right, Mariposa. It’s instinctive, reflexive, and outside of conscious choice. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn to patiently work with our nervous system responses over time if they’re problematic, but too often we blame ourselves & others for not acting differently when that just wasn’t an option. Of course we’re responsible for our actions and failures to act, but blaming and lack of understanding don’t help anyone grow. By the way, great fight response 🙂

      • Mariposa says:

        Hi Spring, I totally agree with you, people can blame themselves for not acting (or acting), when it is just something that is hard-wired into us. I am, by nature, someone who jumps in head first to any situation in life. In the situation above, it helped me. In other situations it has been the wrong thing!!

    • Enough Already says:

      Good job Mariposa! My cabbie told me a story once of having a gun pulled on him by a fare. He was told to remain quiet, keep both hands on the wheel and drive to a certain part of the city. Instead my cabbie said “We both die then.” And proceeded to switch into the opposing lane at 110 mph. The gunman began screaming and after slamming on his brakes, causing the gunman to whiplash into the back of his seat, he pressed into the car horn with both hands. The gunman fled on foot. I asked him if he was terrified and he answered that he was beyond terrified but that as soon as the shock of realization washes over you there’s not much left but pure response. He also said that if they had to tell his mother back in Haiti that he had been killed he at least wanted the story to have the best details possible!

    • Nicole Little says:

      The army proverb is, essentially, that in an emergency, you fall to the lowest level of your training. If you’ve never been trained to react, you might not do so well. I wonder if playing superhero would actually train the brain somewhat!

      • Bread and Circuses says:

        A tour guide I had once who grew up in Zimbawe said the boys at school used to make a game of beating each other up. It didn’t make for a fun school experience for him, but it did instill in him an instinct to turn around and start fighting tooth and nail instead of freezing up when somebody hit him from out of nowhere.

        Years later, he got jumped by muggers in Harare and managed to fight them off and escape. He credits that escape to having developed that instinct. So yeah, he defaulted to his lowest level of training — his unfortunate schoolboy experiences!

  5. still_sarah says:

    I agree with the take on Cumberbatch. I never saw him as a tough guy either. But I guess the training from that play Coriolanus paid off. I believe he trained a lot to do the sword fights properly. And when the adrenaline kicks in, I can start throwing people around too. Good work, Benedict!

    • Lightpurple says:

      He wasn’t in Coriolanus.

    • so cool says:

      Hiddles was in Coriolanus, not Beny.

    • Kaye says:

      Yeah, that was Hiddles.

      Cumberbatch did, however, fight train for two films, and he’s still presumably training for DS plus he’s in good shape. The element of surprise–I’m sure the dudes weren’t expecting an actor–probably helped too. I’m glad, that could have ended horribly for the poor delivery person.

  6. Anniefannie says:

    Unfortunately I’m not a fight OR flight! I woke
    ( gm? ) or awoke to a would be rapist trying to enter my apt by a jimmying my sliding glass door. I was sleeping on a sofa 5 feet away and was literally frozen while trying to convince myself I was dreaming. Thankfully my brother heard the commotion, flipped on the light and spooked him away. I ALWAYS thought I’d be fearless in protecting myself and was shook for years at my response.
    I’m really impressed by Cumberbatch for this,
    too many people don’t want to get involved or put themselves in harms way!

    • Wonderbunny says:

      You had just woken up. That definitely plays a part. I usually go into fight mode if something bad happens, but after waking up, I’m usually in herp derp mode. I would probably react the same way you did. Sorry that happened to you, but I don’t think you need to see yourself as someone who would just freeze.

    • Veronica says:

      Freezing up in fear is a far more common reaction than people think it is. I have seen paramedics and police officers panic in emergency situations like that. Your reaction is nothing to be ashamed of.

  7. K says:

    He was involved in a carjacking years ago in South Africa when he was tied up and kidnapped. Maybe his will to help someone being attacked stemmed from that experience? He has said it affected his thinking and behaviour a lot.

  8. Electric Tuba says:

    Yeah this story was weird only because it happened in November and it’s now making the rounds on vulture and all of those places too. Like ok someone wants us to know. Maybe he’s got his name in the hat for an action flick? I dunno 🤷‍♀️

    • KatieKins says:

      I remember hearing about this back then too. Thought I was going crazy for a minute or that Benny just has really bad (or good?) luck with being in the right place and the right time to confront a mugger.

    • Kaye says:

      Tough to tell because the driver’s also a witness and common assault has a shelf life of about 6 months in the UK normally.

  9. Tania says:

    My sister and I were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras one year. It was our first night and we were just sitting on a stoop watching the craziness. Dudes on a balcony were throwing beads at women flashing their boobs and then someone would throw the beads back up to the balcony to throw back down. That’s how drunk everyone was.

    Anyway, during our people watching we noticed this white girl hitting on this African American. He was having none of it. My sister and I were narrating this scenario. Next thing you know the girl goes crazy. She starts screaming that this dude did something to her. Suddenly the energy changed. The guy was behind his friends, heading in one direction when a group of white guys started circling him while she was screaming rape or something.

    We thought, wait a minute, that’s not what happened. Without even thinking we jumped between both groups and telling people she’s lying, he didn’t do anything. Thankfully they believed us and we made sure the dude got back with his group of guys.

    We didn’t even think of the consequences of jumping in the middle of a mob until we got back home to Canada. I don’t know if it’s flight or fight or doing what’s right. I’ve gotten myself in many of these situations now that I think back. I guess I’m just a fighter.

    • Aysla says:

      You are a great person. Just, courageous, and humane. Thank you for helping out that man. That was a really dangerous situation that could have also impacted his life forever.

      I really hope that lady doesn’t pull another stunt like that, it’s so awful, irresponsible, cruel, and dangerous. She has no business around alcohol and needs some serious therapy to learn how to deal with rejection. Damn.

  10. 76May says:

    Good for him! We need more people that care.

  11. Hollygo says:

    I know what you mean about being ‘butch’ but you can tell by his adventure stories from before he was big that he is more like that than you would imagine. He likes Adrenalin.

  12. Eliza says:

    We were expecting friends over and my husband went to take out the trash. I was in kitchen and decided to cut up lemon for the water. So the friends came and husband told then to scare me, so i see a shape come in the back door with blonde hair really fast (husband is a brunette), i scream at the top of my lungs and whipped the knife in front of me (lemon still attached lol). They put their hands up and backed away till i noticed a split second later it was our friend (They were 8-10ft away so not in immediate stab area). I always thought id be a runner…

  13. Beaniebean says:

    Good for him for taking action, whether last November or more recently.

  14. Danielle says:

    If this had happened back in 2014 there would have been hundreds of comments on this story and it would have quickly descended into insanity. Good times!! Someone should do a study into how Bendy killed off his fanclub so rapidly!

    • Kaye says:

      I honestly don’t see those types of comment counts on any posts these days.

      What did I see was this story take off on Twitter, where I suspect fan activity in general has moved to but I also think he’s rather graduated to general public awareness, which is better in terms of his career.

    • delorb says:

      IIRC, the majority of the posts weren’t from his fans. There was a smattering number of us, but not enough to generate all that traffic. So perhaps those people have moved on to bigger fish to snark? BTW, his fan club (so quaint) is still alive and mostly well. Some of us (hilariously so) still haven’t come to grips with his being married and a father.

    • Meggles says:

      I don’t think it’s a Cumberbatch thing, I think it’s a Celebitchy thing. Those deranged fans who believe his wife is fake and a Satanist human trafficker kinda took over CB back when he first got married, and drove most of the non-deranged fans and casual posters away from his threads. Those threads were mainly a small number of stans sockpuppeting like mad, and bunfights between them and onlookers who enjoyed goggling at the madness.

      But now it’s several years later and Ben and Sophie are clearly still married, most of the stans have given up and acknowledged that he’s not going to suddenly announce that he’s been pretending to be married and to have kids for years, and is actually single, childless, and ready to date [them]. The handful who are in for the longhaul mainly stay on their own blogs where they can control the narrative. So the rubberneckers have no reason to stick around here either.

    • Cberry says:

      Also CB snark and attitude towards Benny to stir the pot contributed to the click feats.

  15. jammypants says:

    I remember reading him getting robbed while on a foreign trip. They were held up no? Maybe this time, he felt to himself, no this time, things will be different. Past experiences can shape future actions.

    • Cberry says:

      Yes. He has faced real life and death situation before. They held a gun on him and his friends and was taken in a vehicle. They had been diving or something and had to give the robbers all the $ and valuables they had on them but the robbers toke him to get more $ from ATM but BC could only access a small amount or nothing. It was very touch n go he said cause they didn’t know if the robbers were going to be satisfied with what they had on them and let them go.

  16. chilies says:

    According to The Mirror, this occurred last November. Why tabloids report this suddenly now?
    Despite it got favorable reviews by critics, the ratings for his new drama bombed. This was reported at the morning of episode 4 airing day. Get it?

    • Meggles says:

      His new show is on a fairly obscure cable channel that not many people have access to. It’s not even included in most cable packages but costs extra. I think it was probably designed to be awards-bait, rather than a ratings hit. I’m sure they could easily have got it on a mainstream channel like Sky1 if they’d wanted to. It is a Sky show.

    • Anna says:

      Meggles, speaking from the US side, it’s pure awards as well. It’s on Showtime, which also has very few viewers, and their spring miniseries are always prestige pieces.

      Chilies, the Sun failed to mentioned Melrose….Not what you do if your intent is to make readers aware of something specific. And this broke Friday. Melrose airs on Sunday on both networks.

  17. Nancypants says:

    Interesting comments.
    I’m worried for some of you and this comment has nothing to do with BC and his jumping into the fray but for some of you others.

    Some here know I’m a retired military First SGT and I have two daughters.

    If you are personally attacked you need to remember a few things:
    (1) Kicking a man in the balls doesn’t usually work. Men are predisposed to guarding that area.
    (2) You can defend yourself without a gun, knife, or bear spray although those can certainly even the odds if you know what you’re doing.
    If using spray, the wind/breeze HAS TO BE BEHIND YOU and it often just pisses off a man OR a bear. A gun or knife can be taken from you.
    (3) Go for the Adam’s apple. Put all your weight and muscle into it and punch him in the Adam’s apple. It doesn’t take much to have someone on the ground choking and gagging from that move.
    (4) Go for the eyes. You can actually pop someone’s eyes out with your thumbs BUT you can also stab someone in the eyes using your fingers or those long-ass ‘nails you have.
    You blind someone and GAME OVER. Run.
    (5) You can kill someone by punching them in the nose but you have to use the bottom part of your palm and punch them in an upward position as if you are making a pig snout out of his nose. The cartilage will break and be shoved into the brain. Don’t be a puss.

    If you can’t do it for yourself, think of the people you will leave behind and fight.

    This isn’t black belt stuff or sweet Ninja skills. This is basic self defense.