September 12th, 2011

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Third Star DVD out today (Monday 12 September)

Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch are the beating heart of The Umbrella Organisation - they are what brought us all together in the first place. I apologised for neglecting Benedict lately. As trailed, I will be running a few Benedict stories this week.

The first is that the amazing Third Star is out on DVD as of today. You can get your copy here:;0;-1;-1;-1&sku=188903

I really love this film and I have taken it straight to my heart. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Why?
What struck me most was that Benedict in real life is full of life and energy and looks healthy. In Third Star, he looks so thin and frail and ethereal and vulnerable and - quite literally - as though he is at death's door. His performance in the film is - as expected - heart-breaking. He really conveys the anger and frustration and sadness of someone who has unexpectedly - against their will and hope - run out of time. The film is sold as being about male friendship and terminal cancer, which it is, but it is also about something else which I won't reveal as that would be a major spoiler! Anyway, I thought the film was excellent as it looks at a range of serious subjects in a thought-provoking way.

This is a link to a review I like by Kate Muir in The Times:


And a short but pithy review from my favourite paper for Arts coverage The Telegraph:

And finally, I am going to leave you with what remains my favourite still image from the film. When I first saw this image it quite literally took my breath away. It still has this effect on me!

This still photo speaks a million words. It is dedicated to all those members on the com whose own lives, or those of their friends and family, have been touched by cancer ...

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Calling all Londoners: See One Man, Two Guvnors for free!

This is a chance in a million - experience the National Theatre for free. Also experience the one production that is a complete sellout where tickets are like gold dust!

Cut and pasted from an email from the National:

Watch the entire production of One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Nick Hytner and starring James Corden, broadcast live to a big screen in Theatre Square outside the National Theatre for free, plus outdoor entertainment, behind-the-scenes live interviews, outdoor bars and even an open air curtain call… be part of this very special event.

Thursday 15 September. Bars open at 5.30pm. Show starts at 7pm.

If you cannot get to London, it is being broadcast to a range of cinemas nationwide on the same day - Thursday 15 September. Further details available here:

If you cannot catch it this Thursday, although the current run at the National is sold out, you can see the production in the West End at the Adelphi Theatre from 8 November (same cast). For further details and to book tickets follow the link:

Raks's take on One Man, Two Guvnors:
I love this production. I can describe it in three short words - fun, fun, fun! I loved the band. I loved the physical comedy. I loved the slapstick. It was very funny. And I loved the surprise right at the end of the first half!

It has been a sell-out because I think, in these times of economic doom and gloom, people want to go to the theatre and have a good old-fashioned fun and enjoyable night out. This production most definitely delivers on that!
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Reichenbach Revisited

A short while ago I featured the iconic Sidney Paget illustration of The Death of Sherlock Holmes from the Strand magazine:

Artist: Sidney Paget
Picture credit:

The Canonical reference is as follows:

"A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains. An examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other's arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation."

- The Adventure of the Final Problem

Then, Roger Johnson brought the following illustration by Arthur Twidle to my attention:

Artist: Arthur Twidle

I think this image is stunning. Blasphemy I know, but I actually prefer this to the Paget. Holmes and Moriarty are much more how I imagined them to be here than in the Paget.
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Maggie's London Night Hike - Friday 16 September 2011

I am doing the Maggie's London Night Hike on Friday 16 September. The Maggie’s London Night Hike is a 10 mile adventure through late night London, with exclusive access to iconic buildings.

I realise many of you have already sponsored me for the Terrence Higgins Walk for Life. That is my first choice charity and I do the Walk for Life every year. So if you already sponsored me for that, do not worry - that was my preferred choice.

However, if you missed the boat then, or if you would like to sponsor me again, now is your chance! Any amount is welcome - I have such a broad and diverse network of colleagues and friends now that even if everyone just gave me £1 or £2 I would be able to raise a substantial amount of money. So please do not think any amount is too small.

Sponsor me here:

Information about Maggie's

Maggie's runs cancer caring centres. Maggie's is about empowering people to live with, through and beyond cancer by bringing together professional help, communities of support and building design to create exceptional centres for cancer care.

What is a Maggie's Centre?

A Maggie’s Centre is a place to turn to for help with any of the problems, small or large, associated with cancer.

Under one roof you can access help with information, benefits advice, psychological support both individually and in groups, courses and stress reducing strategies. You don’t have to make an appointment, or be referred, and everything they offer is free of charge.

It is there for anybody who feels the need for help, which includes those who love and look after someone with cancer, who often feel as frightened and vulnerable as those who actually have the disease.

A Maggie’s Centre will be many things to many people. It is there for anybody to use in the way they want to. There isn’t a one size fits all recipe for how people live with cancer. Everybody needs to find their own way.

Maggie's are here:

Photo: Courtesy Cumberbatchfans
Benedict supported the Maggie's London Night Hike last year.

Given that many members and/or their families (including myself) have personal experience of cancer and/or caring for people with cancer I think that this is an important charity for the com.