Benedict Cumberbatch for the Holidays

Christina Knight | December 22, 2016
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Richard III in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses RICHARD III. Photographer: Robert Viglasky © 2015 Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Richard III in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses RICHARD III. Photographer: Robert Viglasky © 2015 Carnival Film & Television Ltd

The turn of the year 2016-2017 is our lucky chance to spend the holidays with Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars in three PBS productions within a week (all while reigning as Doctor Strange in cinemas). He’s kind of like Santa: He can deliver the thrills everywhere at once.

Great Performances: Shakespeare Live! from the Royal Shakespeare Company

Friday, December 23 at 9pm

Benedict Cumberbatch (even his name sounds like an invention of the Bard) is a star in a galaxy of elite performers appearing in Shakespeare Live!, a gala honoring Shakespeare’s quadricentennnial. The event, recorded in London, features Cumberbatch in a cheeky riff on the immortal “To be, or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet.

Great Performances – The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses – Richard III

Sunday, December 25 at 9pm


Benedict turns on the charm as the cunning Richard III in the finale of Shakespeare’s history plays. The three episodes of the miniseries The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses are all available online the day after broadcast (Henry VI, Part 1 and Henry VI Part 2 are streaming now).

Sherlock: Season 4

Sunday, January 1 at 9pm with a repeat at 10:30pm


Sherlock Holmes (really, Benedict Cumberbatch) is back on British soil for Season 4. The first episode, “The Six Thatchers,” is so good it airs twice in a row on New Year’s Day! Sherlock must come to terms with his demons, while Watson (Martin Freeman) is on more cheerful — if nerve-wracking — turf as he and his wife prepare to become parents. Since it’s been nearly two years since Sherlock Season 3 finale, we recommend refreshing your senses with this scintillating synopses of the intense last episode.