In his new memoir More Fool Me, Fry remembers the occasion. “I once judged a reading competition at Harrow School which was called the Lady Bourchier Reading Prize…[and] I awarded one of the schoolboys, who went by the exotic name of Benedict Cumberbatch, second prize. Second.”
A crushing blow for a promising young thespian – but it sounds like Fry feels more worried about his own apparent lapse in judgement than any lingering feelings of inadequacy experienced by the future Sherlock star.
“I cannot remember the name of the boy who won first,” the QI host writes, “but I hope he will suddenly burst on to the acting scene, blow Benedict out of the water and finally vindicate my judgement.”
Still, Fry admits that the prospect is unlikely. “Something tells me that the contingency is a remote one, and I shall continue to look upon myself as the fisherman who let the big one go.”