Benedict Cumberbatch could put up refugees in his £4m Camden townhouse

Benedict Cumberbatch vows to put up Ukrainian refugees after previously saying he couldn’t house Syrian asylum seeker in his five-bed £4m Camden home or two other flats because he had a baby

  • Actor, 45, told reporters at the BAFTAs that he hoped to volunteer in scheme
  • The Marvel series star has a £4million townhouse in Camden, north London
  • He has previously criticised the Conservative government over refugee policy
  • In 2017 he revealed he wanted to take in Syrian refugee but did not due to baby
  • It comes after government announced plans for Homes for Ukrainians scheme
  • Britons who offer a room in their home rent free will be given £350-a-month 

Benedict Cumberbatch could welcome a Ukrainian refugee to his sprawling £4million London townhouse – four years after saying he didn’t have the space to house a Syrian asylum seeker.

The award-winning actor and Marvel star last night told reporters at the BAFTAs that he hoped to join others in taking in Ukrainians fleeing their country due to the Russian invasion.

It comes after the Government announced plans for a new sponsorship scheme for Britons wishing to house Ukrainian refugees. 

Those taking part in the scheme will be given £350-a-month to cover the living costs of supporting a refugee in their home. 

Cumberbatch, 45, who has been critical of the Government’s response to previous refugee crises and who has repeatedly backed charities supporting asylum seekers, said he hoped to be among those volunteering his home to a Ukrainian refugee.

Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet at last night’s glitzy BAFTA ceremony, the Sherlock star, who was seen wearing a Ukraine flag pin badge, said: ‘It is a really shocking time to be a European two and a half hours flight away from Ukraine, and it’s something that hangs over us.

‘We all need, as we know, to do more than wear a badge. We need to donate, we need to pressure our politicians to continue to create some kind of a refugee safety and haven here for people who are suffering. 

‘I think already today the news has broken that there’s been a record number of people volunteering to take people into their homes, and I hope to be part of that myself.’ 

It is not the first time the tireless thespian, who owns a five-bedroom townhouse in Camden which he bought for £2.7million back in 2015, alongside two rental properties in the capital, has expressed interest in offering his home to refugees.

Benedict Cumberbatch (pictured) could welcome a Ukrainian refugee to his sprawling £4million London townhouse – four years after saying he didn’t have the space to house a Syrian asylum seeker

The award-winning actor and Marvel star last night told reporters at the BAFTAs that he hoped to join others in taking in Ukrainians fleeing their country due to the Russian invasion. Pictured: The actor has a home in north London

The actor snapped up a five-bedroom mansion in Camden, north London, for just over £2.7million in 2015. Pictured: One of the living room areas inside the property prior to the actor purchasing the home

The actor bought the house after the death of solicitor Judy Walker, who was renowned for holding Bonfire Night parties. Pictured: One of the bedrooms inside the flat as it was prior to it being sold to the actor

Cumberbatch, 45, who has been critical of the Government’s previous refugee policy, said he hoped to be among those volunteering his home to a Ukrainian refugee. Pictured: One of the bedrooms inside the flat as it was prior to it being sold to the actor

In 2017, the Old Harrovian, who has previously been vocal in his criticism of the government’s asylum seeker policy, said he had hoped to house a Syrian refugee.

But the actor, who is married to theatre director Sophie Hunter and now a father of three, said he later decided against volunteering due to the birth of his oldest son, Christopher.

What is the Homes for Ukraine scheme and how does it work? 

Under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, sponsors who provide accommodation rent-free for a minimum of six months will receive a monthly fee of £350 from the government, however many refugees they take.

Individuals, charities, community groups and businesses will all be eligible to bring those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine to safety.

Sponsored refugees will be granted three years leave to remain in the UK and be allowed to work and access public services.

Leveling Up Minister Michael Gove said the UK ‘stands behind Ukraine in their darkest hour’, and urged people to ‘join the national effort’ to help refugees.

He said he hoped ‘tens of thousands’ of people will be accommodated in Britain as part of the new scheme as Europe buckles under the weight of its biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

‘People can register their interest on Monday,’ he said. ‘Matching will be taking place from Friday. I would expect that in a week’s time we’ll see the first people coming here under the scheme.’

But asked whether he personally would be ready to host a refugees, Mr Gove told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘I am in the process of seeking to see what I can do.’

Mr Gove stressed there will be ‘money available for local authorities’ to help support new arrivals. ‘There will be just over £10,000 per individual available to local authorities,’ he said.

‘Then there will be additional payments for those children who are of school age and who need to be accommodated within the educational system.’  

However the scheme only allow Britons to take in refugees if they know their name. 

Critics have attacked the ‘bureaucratic hurdle’ that means that families wanting to get involved with Homes for Ukraine have to know who they are taking in by name before they arrive.

Hosts will also have to undergo criminal records checks first, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying a ‘basic level of security checks’ would apply.  

The Home Office has issued 4,000 visas so far under the Ukraine Family Scheme. According to data published on its website, 17,100 applications have been submitted and 10,600 appointments have been made at visa processing centres.

Mr Javid said the Ukraine Family Scheme for refugees was ‘being made easier and more straightforward’ from Tuesday. 

He said: ‘People were saying, ‘You’ve got a home, why don’t you house refugees?’ And we did look into it.

‘But we had, then, a very new baby — maybe four or five months old,’ explains the Sherlock star, 41, referring to his oldest son, Christopher.

‘Maybe people had a point. I understand why some might think I should be housing people instead of complaining about a government not doing it.

‘But I was trying to raise awareness that we can do more as a society. Because I do feel we are able to do more than just recovering bodies.’

Cumberbatch made the comments in 2017, after facing criticism a year earlier over an on-stage critique of the Government’s refugee policy.  

He blasted the UK Government for agreeing to accept only 20,000 refugees over five years, and described the Government’s inaction on refugees as an ‘utter disgrace’.

During a speech after a Hamlet performance in London he told the audience: ‘F*** the politicians’.

The actor, who famously starred as inventor Alan Turing in the Imitation Game, had previously been giving nightly speeches after his curtain call at the Barbican and had raised almost £150,000 in contributions from audience members towards Save the Children.

But the Hollywood star, who recently played Doctor Strange in Marvel’s Avengers series, later said he got ‘carried away’.   

Cumberbatch  told LBC at the time: ‘Maybe I got carried away, maybe I shouldn’t have said some of what I said. 

‘All I was trying to do was shine a light on an issue that was at certain times being overlooked.’

 ‘I fully stand by what I did. Maybe the way I did it could have been better,’ he later added. 

Despite the criticism he faced, he told the Big Issue in 2017 that he would do his nightly speeches again.

‘I’m a human being and it was a human crisis and I got over-excited and said things in a rather grand manner some nights,.

‘You stick your head above the parapet and that happens. But we raised money for children in need.

‘So I don’t regret doing it for a second, and I will do it again, even if it does put me in the firing line.’ 

Alongside his Camden home, Cumberbatch owns two other properties, a flat in Shepherd’s Bush and a three bedroom home in leafy Hampstead.

In 2018 he moved out of the Hampstead property and into his home in Camden, following extensive renovation of the property. 

The property, which features a roof terrace offering views over the city, was originally divided into two flats before the actor converted them two years ago 

His three bedroom home in leafy Hampstead was being let for a hefty £3,358 per calendar month – £775 a week – in October 2018.

Yesterday, as pressure mounted on the UK Government to help the people of Ukraine, Michael Gove suggested millions of Britons could be ready to host Ukrainian refugees with a £350-a-month government ‘thank-you’ – as he said the first arrivals should be next week.

The Cabinet minister pointed to surveys indicating that as many as one in 10 people are ready to put up people fleeing from the Russian invasion.

But Mr Gove – who recently divorced – admitted he was not yet sure whether he personally will be able to contribute. Keir Starmer confirmed that he is planning to be a host. 


Support: The actor, 45, took the opportunity to highlight the plight of his ‘brothers and sisters who are suffering’ in the wake of Vladimir Putin ‘s invasion of Ukraine (pictured earlier this week)

Help: Benedict added that he hopes to get involved in the government’s humanitarian scheme and take in refugees himself after more than 2.6 million Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes

Alongside his Camden home, Cumberbatch owns two other properties, a flat in Shepherd’s Bush and a three bedroom home in leafy Hampstead. Pictured: Inside the Hampstead property when it was listed in 2018

In 2018 he moved out of the Hampstead property and into his home in Camden, following extensive renovation of the property. Pictured in 2018 

The property, which features a roof terrace offering views over the city, was originally divided into two flats before the actor converted them


Michael Gove (left) – who recently divorced – admitted he was not yet sure whether he personally will be able to contribute. Keir Starmer (right) confirmed that he is planning to be a host

Under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, sponsors who provide accommodation rent-free for a minimum of six months will receive their monthly fee, however many refugees they take. Pictured: People board an evacuation train from Kyiv to western Ukraine

What have other celebrities said on housing Ukrainian refugees so far? 

Gary Lineker

The former England and Leicester City striker previously housed a refugee named Rasheed into his Surrey home in 2020 through the charity Refugees at Home. He later announced he was willing to take a second refugee into his home.

He announced the decision to take a refugee into his home after being accused of ‘virtue signalling’ by Tory MP Lee Anderson.

The Match of the Day host tweeted on Saturday he would ‘continue to host’ in response to the Ukraine crisis. 

MPs: Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Keir Starmer

The two Conservative ministers have both suggested they are looking into the possibility. Mr Javid said he was talking to his wife about possibly hosting a Ukrainian refugee. Mr Gove, who is recently divorced, admitted he was not yet sure whether he personally will be able to contribute. Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said he would be willing to host a refugee.

John Caudwell

The Phones 4u billionaire has vowed to offer his two-bedroom coach house to Ukrainian refugees rent and bill-free for six months.  

Susanna Reid 

The Good Morning Britain host has revealed she has seriously considered welcoming a Ukrainian refugee into her home but said she doesn’t have enough room to host more than one person. 

‘I put a lot of thought into it and I thought in my circumstances, I can probably house a teenage young man… but he would be with his family,’ Susanna said on the programme.

‘I don’t have the room, I’ve got the finances, but I don’t have the room to house a whole family and you don’t want to split up parents from their children.’  

The comments came as Mr Gove revealed that 3,000 visas have now been granted for Ukrainian refugees, with the new ‘sponsored’ route due to launch this week. 

Under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, sponsors who provide accommodation rent-free for a minimum of six months will receive a monthly fee of £350 from the government, however many refugees they take. 

Individuals, charities, community groups and businesses will all be eligible to bring those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine to safety. 

Sponsored refugees will be granted three years leave to remain in the UK and be allowed to work and access public services. 

Mr Gove said the UK ‘stands behind Ukraine in their darkest hour’, and urged people to ‘join the national effort’ to help refugees. 

He said he hoped ‘tens of thousands’ of people will be accommodated in Britain as part of the new scheme as Europe buckles under the weight of its biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

‘People can register their interest on Monday,’ he said. ‘Matching will be taking place from Friday. I would expect that in a week’s time we’ll see the first people coming here under the scheme.’

But asked whether he personally would be ready to host a refugees, Mr Gove told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘I am in the process of seeking to see what I can do.’

Mr Gove stressed there will be ‘money available for local authorities’ to help support new arrivals. ‘There will be just over £10,000 per individual available to local authorities,’ he said.

‘Then there will be additional payments for those children who are of school age and who need to be accommodated within the educational system.’ 

More than 2.3 million people have fled the war in Ukraine and another 1.9 million are displaced within the country, a United Nations official has said. 

The government has been facing stinging criticism over both the speed and scale of its efforts to help fleeing Ukrainians settle in the UK.

The Home Office was heavily criticised for an apparent ‘chaotic’ response to the humanitarian disaster. 

And Home Secretary Priti Patel was slammed over the slow rate of approval of visas for Ukrainian refugees, prompting Boris Johnson to demand an end to ‘hostile leaks’ from within her department. 

Millions of refugees have already fled from war-torn Ukraine after Vladimir Putin’s forces illegally invaded

 A woman and a baby who fled the war in Ukraine wait to board a bus to take them to Berlin after arriving from the Polish Ukrainian border on March 11, 2022 in Krakow, Poland.

Ukrainian refugees move through Lviv Railway Station as many people flee to neighboring countries amid the Russian invasion 

Those offering accommodation will be vetted and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks, as per advice from senior British intelligence officers who feared the implications of lax visa rules. 

To say ‘thank you’, sponsors will receive a payment of £350 per month, paid for by the Government.

Mr Gove said steps must be taken to ensure people who might be ‘intent on exploitation’ are prevented from ‘abusing’ the Government’s new refugee sponsorship scheme.

‘We absolutely do need to make sure, first of all, that the people in Ukraine are who they say they are, so there need to be some security checks there,’ he said.

The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline UKRAINE REFUGEE APPEAL

Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.

Calling upon that human spirit, we are now launching an appeal to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.

For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.

As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.

All donations to the Mail Ukraine Appeal will be distributed to charities and aid organisations providing such essential services.

In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.

TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE 

Donate at www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate 

To add Gift Aid to a donation – even one already made – complete an online form found here: mymail.co.uk/ukraine

Via bank transfer, please use these details:

Account name: Mail Force Charity

Account number: 48867365

Sort code: 60-00-01

TO MAKE A DONATION VIA CHEQUE

Make your cheque payable to ‘Mail Force’ and post it to: Mail Newspapers Ukraine Appeal, GFM, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY

TO MAKE A DONATION FROM THE US

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‘There’s been understandable concern about the scheme being exploited possibly by criminal elements. So, that’s the first thing.

‘Then the second thing is we do need to make sure that people here … are in a position to provide that support, which is why there will need to be security checks as well to make sure that those – and I think it would only ever be a tiny minority, but still – those who might be intent on exploitation can be prevented from abusing the system.’ 

Alongside ordinary families, communities, volunteers and charitable and religious organisations will all be eligible to sponsor groups of Ukrainians.  

Ukrainians who have sponsors will be granted three years’ leave to remain in the UK, with entitlement to work and access public services. 

A website gathering expressions of interest for the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme is set to launch tomorrow.

Mr Gove said: ‘The crisis in Ukraine has sent shock waves across the world as hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been forced to flee their homes, leaving everything they know and love behind.

‘The UK stands behind Ukraine in their darkest hour and the British public understand the need to get as many people to safety as quickly as we can.

‘I urge people across the country to join the national effort and offer support to our Ukrainian friends. Together we can give a safe home to those who so desperately need it.’

However, the Cabinet minister was less clear about his own involvement.

‘I’m going to make sure that I do everything I can as an individual to support. And, again, each individual will have their own circumstances,’ he said.

‘It is the case that something like one in 10 UK citizens, which is an amazing amount, have said that they want to do something to help. But we want to make sure that people are in a position to help, because inevitably it’s a significant commitment.

‘I recognise that we need to operate in different ways and in different phases to help people who are fleeing persecution.’

Pressed on whether that meant he would be offering a room, he said: ‘I’m in the process of seeking to see what I can do, yes.’ 

He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme later: ‘Without going into my personal circumstances, there are a couple of things I need to sort out – but yes.’ 

The Local Government Association, which represents 350 councils across England and Wales, warned that it must see ‘full details’ of the scheme.

Chair Cllr James Jamieson said: ‘The humanitarian crisis caused by the Ukraine invasion is heart-breaking. Councils are ready to help new arrivals from Ukraine settle in the UK and to support communities who wish to offer assistance to those fleeing the devastating conflict

‘Councils will be central in helping families settle into their communities and access public services, including schools, public health and other support, including access to trauma counselling.

‘The Government must continue to work closely with councils, the community and voluntary sector and other key local partners to co-design this sponsorship scheme so it can move at pace and scale. We look forward to seeing the full details as soon as possible.’

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said he ‘would love to help’ Ukrainian refugees looking to be housed in the UK, but suggested he did not have space.

He told Times Radio: ‘I would love to help, without any kind of political consideration or grandstanding.

‘I honestly think this is one of the seminal historical moments of our lives, what Russia is doing in Ukraine. I think it will affect policy, politics, how this country’s future bears out for years to come.

‘You will know we are a family of six here in Stalybridge, so we don’t have a lot of room and that might not be as attractive as other places might be.’

He also criticised the Government for not making more preparations for humanitarian aid at an earlier time.

Mr Reynolds said: ‘Our intelligence agencies got this right, they saw the build-up of troops … and it genuinely seemed the case that no humanitarian planning was done by the Government alongside the other parts of the assistance Ukraine required to deal with this.’

Meanwhile, the other home nations are drawing up their own plans to house those fleeing the conflict.

Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have said both Scotland and Wales are willing to become ‘super sponsors’ for Ukrainian refugees.

In a letter to Mr Gove, they also renewed their calls on Westminster to waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals trying to get into the UK.

The governments in Holyrood and Cardiff said super sponsorship would enable Ukrainians to get clearance to enter each country quickly and be housed temporarily while they work with local partners to provide longer term accommodation, safeguarding and access to services. 

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Benedict Cumberbatch for comment. 

‘We have brothers and sisters who are suffering’: Benedict Cumberbatch says he hopes to take in Ukrainian refugees as he shares his support for the war-torn country at the BAFTAs 

Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he hopes to take in Ukrainian refugees as he shared his support for the war-torn country while at the BAFTA 2022 Film Awards on Sunday. 

The actor, 45, who is nominated for Best Actor thanks to his performance in The Power Of The Dog, took the opportunity to highlight the plight of his ‘brothers and sisters who are suffering’ in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet of the event at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Benedict told how the suffering of millions of people can’t be ignored as the war is ‘something that hangs over us.’

He explained: ‘It is a really shocking time to be a European two and a half hours flight away from Ukraine, and it’s something that hangs over us’ before going on to note the ‘civilians who are being shelled and shot at, and killed and made homeless without power, without water, without food’. 

And Benedict, who wore a Ukraine pin on his smart black tuxedo to show his support, continued: ‘And while tonight is a celebration and this might look like tokenism, we’re celebrating the moving image, we’re celebrating pictures… this is what I’m trying to do.

Compassion: Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet of the event at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Benedict told how the suffering of millions of people can’t be ignored as the war is ‘something that hangs over us’

‘To show I’m standing side-by-side with my brothers and sisters who are going through this.

‘But we all need, as we know, to do more than wear a badge. We need to donate, we need to pressure our politicians to continue to create some kind of a refugee safety and haven here for people who are suffering.

‘I know that’s ongoing, I know that’s happening but everyone needs to do as much as they can.’ 

And the film star, who was in attendance with wife Sophie Hunter, added that he hopes to get involved in the government’s humanitarian scheme and take in refugees himself after more than 2.6 million Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes.

He said: ‘I think already today the news has broken that there’s been a record number of people volunteering to take people into their homes, and I hope to be part of that myself.’ 

Meanwhile, fellow actor Stephen Graham also spoke out about the Ukraine crisis at the ceremony, adding to Sky News: It’s lovely to be here with my family but at the same time it’s important for me to acknowledge in public what is happening over there.’

While Kenneth Brannagh, whose film Belfast is up for several awards, said: ‘The situations are utterly different but the human costs are the same. It is painful and tragic to see, I hope it ends very soon.’  

It comes after BAFTA attendees were advised to ‘dress respectably’ due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

‘Several senior showbiz agents have advised stars to dress respectably, amid fears attention-grabbing dresses and suits would appear distasteful in light of the Ukraine conflict,’ a source told the Sun on Sunday.

‘The last thing they want is something like Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress or anything too controversial.’

The nominations for the BAFTA awards were announced last month with Dune, The Power Of The Dog and Belfast leading with 11, eight and six respectively.

Denis Villeneuve’s star-studded sci-fi epic landed a slew of technical nods, along with a nod for the top prize for Best Film, while Jane Campion’s dark Western and Kenneth Branagh’s Irish biopic follows close behind with eight and six respectively.

It looks set to be a competitive evening in the acting categories, with Lady Gaga, Caitriona Balfe and Benedict Cumberbatch battling it out for the leading honours, alongside newcomers Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ariana DeBose and Adeel Akhtar. 

View: Meanwhile, fellow actor Stephen Graham also spoke out about the Ukraine crisis at the ceremony, adding to Sky News: It’s lovely to be here with my family but at the same time it’s important for me to acknowledge in public what is happening over there’

After its success at the Golden Globes, the dark Western The Power of the Dog landed eight nominations, including Best Film, Director and Adapted Screenplay for Jane Campion, Leading Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch, Original Score, Cinematography, and two nominations in the Supporting Actor category for Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons

Following close behind is Belfast, which landed six nods despite an unexpected snub for Kenneth in the Director category.

It comes after explosions were heard on the outskirts of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv after Russian forces launched an attack on a military base just 12 miles from the Polish border, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens more.

Thoughts: While Kenneth Brannagh, whose film Belfast is up for several awards, said: ‘The situations are utterly different but the human costs are the same. It is painful and tragic to see, I hope it ends very soon’

Vladimir Putin’s forces launched a missile strike on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, also known as Yavoriv military complex, just before 6am this morning.

Initial reports suggested the base had been targeted by eight missiles, but Maksym Kozytskyi, Governor of the region later confirmed 30 cruise missiles had been fired, killing nine people and injuring 57.

The base has previously been used to host Nato drills and up until recently has housed foreign military instructors, although its unclear if any have been caught up in the strike.  

 

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