Benedict Cumberbatch: Experimenting sexually at boarding school wasn’t about desire

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about sexual experimentation at his boarding school.

The actor – who is set to play gay codebreaking hero Alan Turing in upcoming biopic The Imitation Game – opened up about his own days at Brambletye School.

He said in an interview with Out magazine: “While there was experimentation [at Brambletye], it had never occurred to me as, ‘Oh, this is that’.

“It was just boys and their penises, the same way with girls and vaginas and boobs. It wasn’t out of a desire.”

He also said he would defend gay rights ‘to the death’ during the interview.

He said: “People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations. It’s terrifying. It’s medieval — a beheading!

“I’d take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death.

“And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what’s right or wrong. You can’t have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, ‘Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong’.

“Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there’s a lot more work to be done.”

The Sherlock star previously claimed there was no need for gay sex in The Imitation Game, saying: “If you need to see that to understand that he’s gay, then all is lost for any kind of subtle storytelling. It’s not something that needed to be made obvious.”

In 2009, after a campaign led by Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell and supported by, the then prime minister Gordon Brown issue an apology for Turing’s treatment on behalf of the British government.

In December last year, the Queen granted the gay war hero Alan Turing a posthumous pardon.