Benedict Cumberbatch: Gay codebreaker Alan Turing should be on a banknote
Benedict Cumberbatch has called for gay codebreaking hero Alan Turing to be put on a banknote.
Gay World War II codebreaker Alan Turing – often hailed as the grandfather of modern computing – was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 after having sex with a man, and was chemically castrated, barred from working for GCHQ, and eventually driven to suicide.
Mr Turing will be played by the Sherlock star in upcoming biopic The Imitation Game, which is released this month.
Cumberbatch told the Telegraph: “The man at the centre of it, who was persecuted for being different, still stands sadly for a lot of persecution that goes on around the world today.
“That’s what terrifies me – that it’s as prevalent now, and that this is how we treated one of our war heroes, and a great scientist, someone who’s up there with Charles Darwin; he should be on banknotes.
“I don’t think Alan set himself up as a martyr, but he sure as hell was treated as one in a sense.”
The film has attracted criticism for focussing on his brief engagement to fellow codebreaker Joan Clarke, played by Kiera Knightly, instead of his romances with other men.
Turing’s biographer Andrew Hodges previously said he was “alarmed by the inaccuracies” in the film, adding: “They have built up the relationship with Joan much more than it actually was. Their relationship is invented.”
The Sherlock star previously claimed there was no need for gay sex in the film, saying: “If you need to see that to understand that he’s gay, then all is lost for any kind of subtle storytelling. It’s not something that needed to be made obvious.”