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We’re so used to seeing Benedict Cumberbatch in costume — be it as Sherlock or Thomas Edison or Doctor Strange — it can be startling to see him out and about wearing normal clothes. (Especially seeing as how he loves to play dress-up even on his days off.)

So imagine our surprise when we saw the first photo released today (April 5) from the set of upcoming drama The Child in Time, showing the Sherlock star dressed sombrely while taking a stroll through woods.

(Photo: BBC)
(Photo: BBC)

What, no deerstalker or cloak of levitation? Not even a teeny, tiny scarf?

Benedict is starring in the TV adaptation of Ian McEwan‘s harrowing 1987 novel, The Child in Time, in which he’ll play children’s book author Stephen Lewis, whose life is turned upside down when his three-year-old daughter goes missing.

The adaptation will take the form of a one-off, 90-minute film, and has just started shooting in and around London. Released alongside this photo was some more information on Benedict’s co-stars.

Trainspotting‘s Kelly Macdonald will play Stephen’s estranged wife Julie, who has taken a separate path from her husband in the years since the loss of their daughter as they each cope with their grief.

Stephen Campbell Moore, best known for his role as flustered school teacher Irwin in The History Boys, will play his close friend Charles, while Luther‘s Saskia Reeves will star as friend Thelma. According to Deadline, both are “battling demons of their own,” and have retired to the countryside, leaving Stephen behind.

It’s not the first tine Benedict has starred in an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel. He memorably (due in no small part to the decidedly dodgy moustache he wore for the part) played shady Paul Marshall in the 2007 film Atonement, based on the 2001 book of the same name.

When this new adaptation was first announced, McEwan was quoted as saying: “I have fond memories of Benedict playing a brilliant and key part in the movie adaptation of Atonement. Now, it’s a great honour to have this actor of such immense resource, experience and subtlety in the lead role of The Child In Time.”

Benedict seems equally taken with the role. Not only will he be starring, but The Child in Time is also the first project to be produced by SunnyMarch TV, his new production company, alongside the BBC and PBS’s Masterpiece.

That latter name will of course be good news to anyone hoping for a U.S. air date. There’s been no announcement yet, but rest assured we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled.

Are you looking forward to this one?

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Filed Under: Benedict Cumberbatch
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.