Q & A With Una Stubbs: The Joy of Victoria Sponges + Getting Sherlock Holmes to Eat
US: I think he doesn't have a good appetite. Which worries me. I try to get him to eat. It's all rubbish food Sherlock eats, that's why he looks so pale. A lot of crisps and probably food that's passed its sell-by date like sausage rolls.
SI: Mrs. Hudson has always been a mysterious character. How did they explain the role to you when you first came in to audition?
US: They didn't. You just were given the script and you read it and then you go home and work up the best way that you feel the character should be and how it would fit in with everybody else. There's no script description, either. That was a new one for me. But that's what I came up with.
SI: Mrs. Hudson is very mothering, but she also draws a line with Sherlock and Watson. She doesn't wait on them hand and foot.
US: In real life, with my three sons, because I brought them up on my own, I was quite a strict mother. Otherwise there would have been, you know, riots. So I used that. You don't want to be a walkover. It's not a very attractive trait, is it?
SI: The story goes that you've known Benedict Cumberbatch since he was little. True?
US: Yes. I worked with his mother [actress Wanda Venthem]. We used to sit chatting in the park and I'd be with my children and she'd be with Benedict. So I knew him as a little boy of about 4. Very polite. A lovely boy.
SI: Did you ever have to remind him that you'd known him since he wore short pants?
US: He'd already been told by his mother. He was very pleased to see me and then we had a laugh about it. He said he remember standing, waiting hour after hour, while his mother and me gossiped and he said he remembers being so BORED. [in a complaining voice] "C'mon, Mother!!"
SI: His looks are so controversial. An entire Tumblr page has been devoted to showing how closely Benedict Cumberbatch resembles an otter. Meanwhile, others call him this year's sex symbol. Thoughts?
US: On the street people say to me, "Hi, Mrs. Hudson!" and then it's, "Can you get his autograph for me?" One girl I met in a restaurant said, "I'm determined to marry him." It's extraordinary. He is a completely original look, don't you think? One minute he's not quite so handsome. Then the next minute he's gorgeous. What is that term? Jolie laide. It's French for ugly-handsome.