Benedict Cumberbatch had long wanted to play Edward St Aubyn’s character – and David Nicholls’s adaptation shows the actor’s deep understanding of the role. The phone rings, one of those telephones from my childhood, with a curly wire connecting the receiver. A stripy-shirted arm reaches for it tentatively. “Hello?” says a voice – deep, aristocratic, lugubrious and woozy, but unmistakably Benedict Cumberbatch (confirmed when the camera eventually looks higher). There is a delay and an echo on the line (remember that?). Sad news from New York: his father has died.
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