Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so...

michael cunningham

dob & age
Clarence Locke
(The Hon) Clarence Andrew Irving Pelham-Hastings
18 January 1977 & 38 years old
Kensington, London, England

The surname Pelham-Hastings is one that can be found in both Burke's Peerage and (until 1999 at least) the House of Lords, which is to say that the family was elevated from landed gentry to being created Baron Hastings in early 19th century, for services rendered for King and Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. They had a fairly illustrious century of it, moving into the heart of high society and getting in on being powerful players on the national landscape – and then things started going gradually but steadily downhill, for the most banal of reasons behind such falls from grace: financial trouble, what else? Several generations of bad investments and imprudent expenditures later, they were barely maintaining a delicate balancing act in the earliest decades of the 20th century.

And then there came two World Wars – which in more ways than can be counted, signified the beginning of the end.

The country house was requisitioned by the army and returned to the family in a most disgraceful state; the cost of necessary repairs, coupled with the death duties imposed after the horribly-timed passing of the patriarch, threatened to torpedo the family's finances once and for all. Nevertheless, they held on valiantly for the better part of a decade – until they could hold on no longer, and the house was torn down to staunch to the continual haemorrhaging of funds. It was the end of an era; it was also good riddance.

Such was the legacy that Clarence was born into. By the time of his birth, the family had made its peace with needing to hold down actual jobs that pay actual salaries, and adapted reasonably well to the lifestyles of upper-middle-class hyper-educated professionals. There was disposable income enough for summer holidays in France, but the children were hardly born with silver spoons in their mouths, even when they were still raised with an undeniable amount of privilege. They could forego many of the trappings of aristocratic life, for instance, but they absolutely would not skimp on education, exorbitant public school tuition be damned!

(It must be said, however, that Clarence's parents certainly did not complain when he took home a Queen's Scholarship, which covered half his fees for his time at Westminster School.)

He was certainly always the most academically gifted of all three children, a tendency perhaps exacerbated by the fact that he was also a textbook middle child, who could not match older brother Sebastian's prowess on the rugby field and had no desire to compete with baby sister Roxanne for sheer sweet-natured lovability and so was content to be seen as "the smart one". As Clarence grew older, he also became known as "the artistic one" (because he became involved with the theatre department at school) and "the restless/flaky one" (because he desperately wanted to travel and despised the tedium of routine).

It seemed a no-brainer then, for him to take his top-notch A-levels to Cambridge to study languages, and then to take that degree and those skills into Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service, wherein he will have a respectable career and plenty of chances to see the world. Everything was going according to plan... until Clarence was spotted by an agent at a Footlights production (admittedly more for his cheekbones than for the merits of his acting) and ushered into a series of bewildering auditions. Before he knew it, he had made his professional acting debut in WILDE at age twenty, propositioning Stephen Fry while wearing a bowler hat.

The thing was that Clarence did not even know if he wanted to act, having pinned so much of his young ambition on that dream of a diplomatic career. Acting was a hobby he greatly enjoyed, and if he was successful in it then it would offer much the same opportunities he valued most... but who was to say that he would succeed? And so he continued to dither (and continued to book tiny supporting roles, more on the merit of his look than objective evaluation of his talent) until one of his final auditions before heading off to Switzerland for his year abroad landed him a role in Julie Taymor's TITUS, which would be filming in Italy. The timing was so strikingly serendipitous that it felt like a sign of some sort, which made the decision easy: he would finish his university education on a high note and then throw himself into an acting career wholeheartedly. Even if acting did not work out, this way he would not be bereft of career options.

Clarence need not have worried: after slogging through a slow start, the roles never really stopped coming in. His first taste of big-budget features came with HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS in 2002, though of his early roles, his most acclaimed and notable was without question the precociously confident Dakin in the hit West End play THE HISTORY BOYS. Then he had a career breakthrough just one year later, when he followed up a charmingly psychopathic turn in Woody Allen's MATCH POINT with less charming but arguably even more psychopathic roles in Christopher Nolan's BATMAN BEGINS and Wes Craven's RED EYE. Almost overnight, he found himself flooded with offers to play gentleman psychopaths and well-dressed sadists and villains of the hyper-intellectual variety. This would have been fine, since he does find these characters to be quite interesting to play, if he had not one day noticed that he sees practically no scripts for any other types of roles. Thus began the period of intense image rehabilitation, where he turned down lucrative offers from Hollywood to play villains and instead turned to the unexpected and off-beat. Anything to be able to have a professional career on his own terms.

SHERLOCK would mark another turning point in Clarence's career, and at a point where he had thoroughly soured on Hollywood and made an almost full-time return to UK, with a significant amount of that work being on the stage. This version of the titular detective was an insufferable genius who sought to be beyond human weaknesses like empathy and emotion. The role had been partly created with him in mind, and from day one he had felt a degree of intense protectiveness over the character, as one might over an old friend. The series has opened up new career opportunities and turned him into the object of fierce media scrutiny and intense fan devotion, both unnerving reactions in their own way. Still, if he had to be known for one role for the rest of his career, Sherlock Holmes is without a doubt the one and only possibility.

Currently, he juggles one of the most robust fanbases on the internet, incessant media scrutiny, a bevy of tinhat theories about what the rumours of his sexuality might mean for the fact that his name had long been linked to A-list actress Alette Valiencourt's, and a white-hot career this close to cementing his place on the A list as well. All in a day's work.
Film IN DEVELOPMENT: the sandman ... Producer 2016 (FILMING): the big short ... Michael Burry 2015: untitled terrence malick project ... Christian Bale's role 2015: crimson peak ... Sir Thomas Sharpe 2015: a bigger splash ... Paul 2015: kingsman: the secret service ... Lancelot 2015: knight of cups ... Rick 2014: the imitation game ... Alan Turing 2014: the disappearance of eleanor rigby: them ... Conor Ludlow 2013: only lovers left alive ... Adam 2013: the disappearance of eleanor rigby: him ... Conor Ludlow 2013: the disappearance of eleanor rigby: her ... Conor Ludlow 2012: cloud atlas ... Cabin Boy / Robert Frobisher / Store Clerk / Georgette / Tribesman 2012: the dark knight rises ... Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow 2011: tinker tailor soldier spy ... Peter Guillam 2009: an education ... Danny 2009: a single man ... Jim 2009: bright star ... John Keats 2008: the dark knight ... Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow 2007: i'm not there ... Jack Rollins / Pastor John 2006: the prestige ... Alfred Borden 2006: the history boys ... Dakin 2005: red eye ... Jackson Rippner 2005: batman begins ... Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow 2005: match point ... Chris Wilton 2002: harry potter and the chamber of secrets ... Tom Marvolo Riddle 1999: titus ... Mutius 1999: the trench ... Pte. James Deamis 1997: wilde ... Rent Boy
Television 2010-present: sherlock ... Sherlock Holmes 2016: the hollow crown: the war of the roses ... Richard III 2013: the simpsons ... Alan Rickman / Prime Minister (1 episode) 2004: death on the nile ... Simon Doyle 2003: the last king ... James, Duke of Monmouth 2001: love in a cold climate ... Matt Radlett 1997: a dance to the music of time ... Nicholas Jenkins as a student
Stage 2015: hamlet (barbican theatre) ... Hamlet 2013: national theatre: 50 years on stage (royal national theatre) ... Louis Ironson (ANGELS IN AMERICA) / Dakin (THE HISTORY BOYS) 2011: frankenstein (royal national theatre) ... Victor Frankenstein / The Creature 2009: inherit the wind (old vic theatre) ... E. K. Hornbeck 2008: ... some trace of her (royal national theatre) ... Prince Myshkin 2008: the pride (royal court theatre) ... Philip 2004 & 2006: the history boys (royal national theatre, international tour, broadhurst theatre) ... Dakin 2001: edward ii (crucible theatre) ... Gaveston
Miscellaneous audio ... Benedict Cumberbatch's voice work (documentary narration, commercial voiceover, audiobooks) 2014-present: dunlop china ... Brand Ambassador 2011-present: jaguar ... Brand Ambassador 2005-2006: burberry prorsum ... Model (print campaign) 2004-2006: burberry brit for men ... Model (print campaign) 2004-2005: burberry london ... Model (print campaign)

  • Though the family's ancestral seat is technically in Leicestershire, the estate had fallen into sad disrepair by the 1930s and the country house was torn down in 1952; he is, as a result, a born-and-bred London boy.

  • Took a gap year to teach English in Belarus before reading Modern & Medieval Languages (German & Russian) at Pembroke College, Cambridge University; he spent his third year abroad at the University of Zurich, and earned a Double First in 2000.

  • Despite his known aptitude for academics, will never live down the fact that his math skills bottlenecked somewhere between long division and advanced algebra; in fact, he still has trouble doing sums in his head.

  • During university, was an active member of Footlights; he has not had many opportunities to showcase those comedic skills since then, and he is perfectly serious when insisting that he would love to do more comedy.

  • Took the stage name of "Locke" in 1999 upon joining Equity; previously, he had been credited under his legal name.

  • Began pursuing an MA in Acting from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (CSSD) in the autumn of 2001, following a period of sobering unemployment; he completed the degree in August 2002.

  • Despite having little interest in pursuing further modelling after fronting various ad campaigns for BURBERRY, he maintains a warm relationship with the brand and on occasion can serve as a sort of unofficial ambassador on the red carpet.

  • Considers his primary mode of transportation when home in London to be a Honda CBR1000RR; the Jaguar XKR-S that was gifted to him has more or less become his sister's.

  • Has been an ambassador of The Prince's Trust since 2005, and has been working with UNICEF UK since 2007/appointed a Goodwill Ambassador in 2009.

  • Is infamous in certain Hollywood circles for being "principled" (or if you want to be less flattering, "difficult"), a reputation stemming from not-entirely-accurate anecdotes about how he cussed out top Disney executives who sicced a bona fide babysitter on him in order to ensure he remained on-script while promoting THE PRESTIGE.

  • Has travelled extensively all over the world, and can pull together all the necessary components of a travel plan at very short notice, mostly because that's his preferred way of travelling so he has done it a lot.

  • Is startlingly good at talking around things he'd rather not talk about... which is how his aristocratic heritage did not become widely known until late 2010, when some SHERLOCK fans specifically went digging for details.