Pop Culture

The Cumber Collective descends on 'Sherlock's' Benedict Cumberbatch 

Frederick M. Brown / Today
"Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch finds it "very invigorating" to play the great detective on the PBS hit show. Actress Amanda Abbington appeared with him at a press conference.

"Sherlock" stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are two of the busiest actors alive, but they will be making room in their schedules for another season of the hit PBS series, co-creator Steven Moffat reiterated at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday.

"Yes, it will continue until Benedict gets too famous and refuses," joked Moffat — who, as the executive producer of "Doctor Who," has a pretty full plate himself.

Cumberbatch's portrayal of the iconic detective has been hailed by critics and spawned a devoted worldwide fan base who call themselves the Cumber Collective and don't mind waiting two years between seasons. In fact, a small gathering of rabid fans camped out near the entrance of the hotel where the "Sherlock" press conference was held, holding signs and autograph books. (Four milllion of them tuned into Sunday night's premiere).

"It's kind of extraordinary and a little unnerving," the actor told reporters about his enthusiastic admirers, who, he quipped, are "by and large intelligent and somewhat normal." 

And he also empathizes with them, which is why he stepped outside to shake their hands and sign his autograph. 

"I still get completely starstruck," he admitted, especially when he bumped into "Breaking Bad" stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston at a British Academy of Film and Television Arts party. "I'm not even a girl and I completely had (that) dry mouth thing."

Despite his fame, Cumberbatch is just like us, he insisted: "I still take public transport (and ride a) motorbike. … I do go shopping — I don't send minions out."

One "Sherlock" "groupie" even landed a job on the show: Amanda Abbington, who joined the cast this season as Watson's fiancée, Mary Morstan. It didn't hurt that she's also Freeman's real-life partner.

"I think I got it because Martin and I have quite nice chemistry," the actress said with a laugh. "But I’d always wanted to be in it."

When the producers approached her about the role they created for her, Abbington didn't think twice: "I jumped on them and said, ‘Yes, please!’"

"She was our original fangirl," Cumberbatch added.

If "Sherlock's" Cumber Collective isn't jealous of Abbington, they definitely envy the actor who shared a smooch with Cumberbatch in Sunday's episode—Andrew Scott, who reprised his role as Moriarty in a hilarious dream sequence.

"I have to just point out we didn't actually connect," Cumberbatch was quick to clarify when TODAY asked about the kiss, which sparked a social media frenzy. On camera, anyway. Moffat said the actors shared such "powerful chemistry" they had to stop filming.

"They were at it," he joked. "But we cut it before contact and indeed sex, because that was just wrong!"

Cumberbatch's strongest chemistry, of course, is with co-star Freeman, who "raised my game:" "He's the most fun to be around," he said, not just because of his work, but because of who he is."

While Freeman will soon be seen in an American TV series — FX's "Fargo" — don't expect Cumberbatch to follow his footsteps across the pond.

"No," he said emphatically when TODAY asked whether he'd be interested in joining a small-screen production in the U.S. "No. No. No. No."

"I do an English (series) and it's a time commitment, and I want to do theater and film as well as television," he explained. "So, no."