That's elementary, according to genealogy website
Ancestry.com. Cumberbatch is distantly related to author Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the brilliant but quirky sleuth
some 130 years ago, the website said on Sunday.
Cumberbatch, 40, star of the Emmy award-winning BBC TV series,
"Sherlock," is a 16th cousin, twice removed of Doyle.
The two are related through 14th century English nobleman John
of Gaunt, who, according to records, was Cumberbatch's 17th
great-grandfather and Conan Doyle's 15th great-grandfather,
Ancestry researchers said.
John of Gaunt, born about 1340, was a son of England's King
Edward III, meaning that Cumberbatch and Conan Doyle also have a
distant royal connection.
"How rare that an actor in a major series has the chance to play
a character created by a relative, especially one as iconic as
Sherlock Holmes," said Jennifer Utley, a family historian at
"Sherlock," a modern twist on the life and investigations of the
19th century London detective, first aired in 2010 and returns
for its fourth series on Sunday on both U.S. and British
The show, in which Cumberbatch plays Holmes as a haughty,
socially inept detective to Martin Freeman's calm, practical Dr.
John Watson, is the most popular TV drama in Britain, according
to ratings data, and has been sold to 180 other countries.
Conan Doyle published the first of about 60 Sherlock Holmes
stories in 1887. The eccentric, violin-playing character has
since become one of the best-known fictional detectives in the
world and the inspiration for hundreds of movies, stage plays,
books and TV shows.
Ancestry said its researchers looked at everything from church
records, censuses, land deeds, newspaper announcements and
tombstones to establish the link between Cumberbatch and Conan
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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