Taking Tea in the Kasbah

Dear Tami,

I’m pleased that you enjoyed your birthday wishes last week. No, I can’t reveal to you how my people acquired your photos. Just know that these are good people whose sole purpose right now is helping me locate the writing cave. And yes, they’ve made some good progress. I hope you’ve been making equally good progress on your novel.

I’m sorry you had to miss both the ‘Look Back in Anger’ play and the WWI poetry reading I performed in this past week. Both have been well-received which makes me happy. You really should take that sabbatical in which you move to London for a while so you don’t miss out on any more performances. Isn’t it about time for that?

Actually, I’ll soon be traveling to one of your favorite cities – New Orleans – for filming of Twelve Years a Slave so maybe a holiday in London should be taken at a later time. I will need to practise speaking with an American southern accent – can’t very well portray a southern plantation owner without one, right? I know you don’t normally speak with a southern accent, but is there any chance I can entice you to leave the writing cave for a while to meet with me in New Orleans and help me practise? What if I promise to have beignets and iced lattes ready for you? What if I can convince Brad Pitt to serve them to us? Yes, I know all about your fascination with Mr. Pitt and how you and your friends hope to see him every time you go to New Orleans. It’s just one of your ‘features’, right?

Since we’re on the topic of practising accents, I am assuming you haven’t had much time to practise your British accent since you have been so busy with your writing. Of course your accent would improve much more quickly if I were there to help you with the pronunciations, intonations, and word choices. I could also teach you how to curse like a true Brit. Just sayin’.

So, in the interest of helping you with Important Things like practising your British accent, I am sending you some YouTube clips that might be helpful. This first clip with Hugh Laurie and Ellen Degeneres will help you learn some different British slang words, something that is always a useful to help you feel more like a local:

Then there’s actor and comedian Eddie Izzard to help you with some differences in pronunciation between British English and American English:

Did you like the bonus ‘aluminium’ I threw in there for you? I thought so. You can thank me later.

Next, this little short can help you understand some British humor around language:

And lastly, I thought you might like having Sherlock’s help:

O.k., that last one might not be as helpful, but I knew it would put a smile on your face. Just like finding your writing cave would put one on mine. For now, I’m hoping you’ll consider having an adventure in the Crescent City. Oh, I know you’ve been there many times before – I’ve heard all of the stories of your previous adventures.

Isn’t it about time for another one?

Helpfully yours,



*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and obviously did not come from the actor himself. This series is just my way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be taken at face value or seen as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.

10 thoughts on “Letters from Benedict: On Beignets, Brad, & British Accents

  1. I’m with Benedict on this one! You have to go to New Orleans for some face time together. Oh, and for those marvelous pastries too…

    • Freshly made beignets are so divine. Even better when you’re eating them in New Orleans… 🙂

  2. Three thoughts…
    #1. I might have to write a short story just to use the word Ba-DonkaDonk. OMG.
    #2. Watching that last clip, I’m utterly blown away at the genius Ol’ Benedict displays.The way he took a familiar character and exaggerated the standard quirks just enough to totally freshen and update things just blows me away.
    #3. If you go to New Orleans to hang out around the set, I’m totally coming with you.

    • Three responses:
      #1. O.M.G. – yes, you must write a short story with Ba-DonkaDonk in it. If anyone can find a good way to use that in a story, it’s you.
      #2. I know, right? I could go on and on here about the ways he brings the awesome to his craft, but I hate to be redundant. I will say that while I’m heavily biased (obviously), I am also blown away by Martin Freeman’s performances as well.
      #3. Absolutely! I am planning to go to New Orleans and soon. I’ve been hearing the siren call of the city for the past several months and have been itching to go. I’ll need to brush up on my southern accent in case an opportunity presents itself to do a little coaching. 😉

  3. The clips had me laughing so loud that my daughter came in to give me the “oh, how embarrassing,” look that I am very used to getting. So good to know what to look for with Benedict. A movie in NOLA. I believe that is a good place for a writer’s retreat: you, Liv, me, who else is in?

    • I was in tears over some of those clips so I’m glad you found them hilarious as well.

      A writer’s retreat is a fantastic idea! I have the perfect place to stay – just around the corner from where Brad’s place is in the French Quarter (or so I’ve heard). It will make it very handy for when he’s serving the beignets and lattes to us and Benedict. (Actually, cafe au lait is more typical to have with beignets but whatever…) 😉

  4. on ,
    marcia said:

    Funny post! The Hugh and Ellen clip got my slang adequately improved so as to be able to now travel through London and New Orleans with additional and essential language skill!

    • Thanks, Marcia 🙂 Start packing that bag of yours – a trip to NOLA is in my immediate future. London is not so far behind. 😉

    • Perhaps you can give all of us a lesson in perfecting our southern accents, Brinda. We could even let Brad take a break from serving beignets for a quick lesson in getting that perfect southern drawl. Mine’s a bit rusty from hanging out in the damp NW. *muttering curses at my bland, decidedly un-accented American accent*

      Must. Get. To. New Orleans. Soon.

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