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Benedict Cumberbatch has vowed to use his platform to improve gender equality in film and TV.

The Sherlock actor now has his own production company, SunnyMarch, which has helped to produce his latest TV vehicles The Child in Time and Patrick Melrose.

“I’m proud that [partner] Adam [Ackland] and I are the only men in our production company,” he told Radio Times.

“Our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster. If it’s centered around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female!”

Equal pay is currently a hot topic in Hollywood. It was recently revealed that Claire Foy had been paid less than her The Crown co-star Matt Smith, despite the fact that she played the Queen. In the wake of the controversy, it has since been reported that the actress will receive £200,000 in back pay.

Meanwhile, HBO’s Westworld has been praised for offering equal pay to female leads Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood. “It’s really exciting. It’s unprecedented,” Newton told Vanity Fair last month. “It shatters so much calcified pain, resentment, frustration. It just shatters it.”

Now, Cumberbatch has also thrown his support behind equal pay, telling Radio Times: “Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism. Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: ‘If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it.’”

Cumberbatch’s new miniseries Patrick Melrose begins Saturday on Showtime. Watch the trailer here.

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By Nick Levine