Benedict Cumberbatch has done the geeky man everywhere a massive favour. On Graham Norton's show last week, if the differing distances travelled by adoring fans are anything to go by, he proved that a classy nerd, if dressed in the right gear and with the requisite amount of charisma, can instil more admiration than even your average Hollywood hunk, in this case, sidekick Chris Pine.
Cumberbatch has been sneaking around the A-list for a while, with his impressive turn as Stephen Hawking marking him out as long ago as 2004.
To mark his official embrace by Tinseltown with his entry into the blockbuster hall of Hollywood villainy, we count the eight steps to stardom climbed by an actor who can seemingly do no wrong...
The actor with stints on Casualty and Silent Witness to his name won out over much bigger names for the role of the physics genius, with his brilliant mind trapped within a fragile body. The biopic captured all the delights and frustrations of Hawking's time as a student at Cambridge University, and Cumberbatch channelled perfectly all the wonder and rage experienced as the scientist's big ideas began to dawn.
Even with atrocious blond hair and not much to do, Cumberbatch managed to hold his own against the more experienced big screen acting chops of Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in this lavish adaptation of Ian McEwan's best-selling novel. And when he was busy compromising Juno Temple's much younger lady, he was positively slithery, and seductive.
SHERLOCK (2010- )
Of course, it was this high-energy contemporary reworking of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels that Cumberbatch found walk-down-the-street stardom, inhabiting the long coat, poker expression and verbal acrobatics of the debonair detective that it is impossible to imagine anyone else in the part.
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011)
Following the success of 'Sherlock', Cumberbatch followed up with 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'. One of a cast of talented actors (including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy), this film received three Academy Award nominations and became a hit both critically and commercially.
WAR HORSE (2011)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, 'War Horse' became the second film in 2011 to add to Cumberbatch's list of critical and commercial success. Telling the story of a teenage boy and his horse during the harrowing events of the First World War, War Horse could have been a damp squib after its theatrical hype, but Spielberg pulled it off, doing no harm to Cumberbatch's grip on the international film world.
PARADE'S END (2012)
Back on TV for this ambitious adaptation from the pen of Tom Stoppard, Cumberbatch bulked up for the unlikely but sympathetic Christopher Tietjens, a man struggling with the moralities and privileges of his status, but whose biggest challenge was falling for someone other than his spirited, hopelessly disenchanted wife Sylvia, played by Rebecca Hall.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012)
The first in Peter Jackson's new trilogy starred Cumberbatch's Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman in the lead role as Bilbo Baggins. For his role as The Necromancer of Dol Guldur, Cumberbatch was required to provide performance-capture for his VERY brief appearance in the film, although we're promised much more from him for the upcoming sequels. Featuring a familiar cast, The Hobbit grossed over $1 billion dollars at the box office.
STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS (2013)
Cumberbatch seals his A-list status with a turn as villain John Harrison in JJ Abrams' Star Trek: Into Darkness. Described as "one of the Starfleet's top agents", Cumberbatch's character becomes engaged in a battle with Spock (Zachary Quinto). With the budget reportedly a whopping $185 million and JJ Abrams at the helm, how can it fail?
And, even if he never works again, Benedict Cumberbatch can stand proud that he has given us this...
Yes, thanks to the marvellous Red Scharlach, we can never now unsee the likeness between everyone's favourite Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch, and everyone's favourite furry semi-aquatic mammal, the otter.
Enjoy! And prepare for the next instalment: 'Puppies Who Look Like Martin Freeman'. We hope.