Everybody comes from somewhere, even the world's only consulting detective and his brother, the British government.
Series three of Sherlock lifted the veil on the origins of the extraordinary Holmes brothers. In "The Empty Hearse," Sherlock's parents dropped by for a little chat. As much as it tickled us to watch him roll his eyes as his mother recounted the thrilling tale of his father losing things behind the couch (and to see John's incredulous face at the reveal of his comparatively normal stock), the scene was made all more fun when we realized the couple is played by Benedict Cumberbatch's actual parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham. What with all the bombs ticking in the Underground and resurrected supervillains running around the city, seeing Mycroft and Sherlock having to deal with the same run-of-the-mill familial obligations we all do has been illuminating.
No, the Holmes family didn't show up in this series just so we could have that great Les Mis gag. (Do you hear the people sing, Mycroft?) The character development for both of the boys has been massive in these episodes, and we're finally coming to understand the basis of their often contentious relationship. Their adorable mother who just wants everyone home for Christmas also happens to be a secret genius, and we know that Mycroft considered Sherlock to be "the stupid one" when they were children. So not only did Sherlock grow up in a house where he felt intellectually inferior, but he also knew that his mother gave up her mathematical career for her kids. Happily, it seems, but he probably sees it as a waste. Still, the Holmes boys dutifully visit and protect their parents, despite the dangers potatoes present to laptops. And Mycroft will never stop looking out for his kid brother, as superhuman as he may sometimes seem. Here's hoping series four will give us more of the Holmes dynamic — half adorable and half really messed up: the best kind of family unit.
British actor Benedict Cumberbatch was joined onscreen by his real life parents in a new episode of TV detective series Sherlock. The Star Trek Into Darkness star reprised his role as Sherlock Holmes for the latest installment in the popular show, which aired in the U.K. on New Year's Day (01Jan14), and it emerged that his mother and father joined their son in the special episode.
Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, who are both actors, played Holmes' parents.
Cumberbatch says of their appearance in Sherlock, "(I was) so proud of them. They're Equity (actors union) card-carrying members but you know it was nerve-wracking because they are actors as well and yet they were brilliant and they were fantastic."
Cumberbatch's parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, both carved out careers in acting and appeared in a number of British TV shows, but they were concerned about their son following suit due to the uncertainty of landing jobs.
However, Carlton pushed the Brit to follow his dreams after watching his performance in a production of Amadeus, and the 36 year old admits to breaking down with emotion after landing his dad's support.
He tells Britain's The Sun, "They just saw the pitfalls of it every day. You don't know where your next job is coming from and it's unstable, into which they were having a child - me - and you want stability for your children.
"You want something better. And everything that was bad about it for them, they wanted me to be free of for me. But I just kept on doing it, kept on doing it, at school and university. Eventually my dad said, when I played Salieri in Amadeus, 'You are better than I was or ever will be. You will have a really good time doing this for a living.' And I cried. And from that moment I thought, 'OK, if I've got his blessing, I'm going to do it.'"
The star has gone on to achieve enormous success, landing roles in big screen hits War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness.