22:49, 27 April 2015
By Rod McPhee
The crowd surges, there’s an explosion of camera flashes and teenage girls scream their idol’s name.
Not Harry, or Zayn, or even Justin. The man they’re all here to see is Benedict Cumberbatch , star of BBC1’s cult hit Sherlock .
This is Sherlocked, the world’s first convention for fans of the show – which promises them a chance to meet their idol.
For the uninitiated, this level of hysteria for a 38-year-old actor may seem a mystery worthy of Holmes himself.
For the 6,000 self-styled Cumberbitches and Cumberboys who have turned up here, however, it’s elementary.
Many are dressed as their favourite cast member and are happy to shell out up to £45 for a photo with Sherlock himself.
Some cough up almost £3,000 for a VIP pass and think nothing of paying £30 for a scrap of wallpaper from the show’s set.
Others happily spend £500 for a pair of signed Sherlock and John Watson action figures and see nothing wrong with forking out £15 for a tea towel.
But since many have journeyed from one of the 200 countries where Sherlock is now broadcast, money is no object.
They simply want to submerge themselves in Cumberworld – and, as Benedict takes to the stage to address the convention, he seems genuinely thrilled to be joining them.
“Though I’ve got a microphone and I’m speaking to however many people, THIS is normal,” he beams, almost reassuring the crowd which is 80% female and 100% delirious.
“I’m not self-consciously walking through a shopping centre or an art gallery knowing that people are noticing me. I don’t think I’ll ever adjust to that.
“But being able to feel comfortable enough to speak to you now, to talk directly and honestly, it makes me feel like I’m the same person I was when all this began.”
His easy charisma seduces the audience during a question-and-answer session that is the highlight of the event.
As he delivers a couple of impressions – one of his dragon voice from The Hobbit movie, the other Chewbacca from Star Wars – even a couple of stray F-bombs can’t make Benedict’s devotees love him less.
But he may have upset a few audience members when he noted one special reason why Mr Cumberbatch and Mr Holmes are, in fact, two different people.
He says: “I don’t have the abilities that he does, I don’t have the same black curly hair he does, I don’t play the violin and I have a family on the way.”
Benedict, who wed theatre director Sophie Hunter, 37, in February, even teases his fans with a mention of his baby on the way later this year.
“I’m very excited,” he says, extracting a communal sigh from the audience. “I’m a bit busy at home at the moment, though not as busy as my wife, if you know what I mean.”
After the Q&A, besotted fans spend hours queuing just to get into another queue to get into yet another queue to have their photo taken with him.
READ MORE HERE: http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/sherlock-exhibition-thousands-fans-turn-5594414