Consider this: You’re in a group of muggers in London, trying to steal a delivery man’s bike, and Sherlock Holmes comes barreling at you.
What do you do? Ask for an autograph? Run?
Four would-be thieves chose Option 2, fleeing after actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Holmes in the popular BBC series “Sherlock,” jumped out of an Uber and chased them down in an act the driver has said was heroic.
The Sun reported the November incident after Uber driver Manuel Dias came forward. He told the paper he did not recognize Cumberbatch at first, but it dawned on him after the assailants smashed a bottle on the victim’s head and Cumberbatch ran toward them yelling: “Leave him alone.”
There he was, star of stage and screen, blocks away from Holmes’ fictional London home, Dias realized.
“It was only then I recognized Benedict. Then it all got a bit surreal. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street.”
Dias – who said he was transporting Cumberbatch along with his wife, Sophie Hunter – tried to help dispatch the scoundrels.
“He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was very brave. He did most of it, to be honest . . . He wasn’t injured. Then I think they also recognized it was Benedict and ran away.”
The Sun described the assailants as ‘yobs,’ which an investigation revealed to be British slang for ‘hooligans.’
After the yobs fled, the Sun reported, the Cumberbatch hugged the delivery man from Deliveroo, a U.K. food-delivery service.
On Saturday, the company thanked the actor, who also stars as Dr. Strange in the Marvel film series.
“Thank you Benedict Cumberbatch for your brave actions. Deliveroo riders are heroes – their safety is our priority and any violence against them is totally unacceptable,” the company wrote on Twitter. So on behalf of everyone at deliveroo: thank you.”
Cumberbatch’s representatives did not return a request for comment. The usually eloquent Cumberbatch reportedly tried to brush off praise.
“I did it out of, well, I had to, you know,” the actor said about the incident, according to Dias.
London’s Metropolitan Police did not immediately return a request for comment, though NPR reported they released a statement about the November incident without naming Cumberbatch.
“One of the males attempted to grab the victim’s cycle . . . He was then punched in the face, struck on the head and hit with his helmet. Nothing was reported stolen.”
No arrests were made, and the injuries to the delivery man did not require hospital treatment, the police added.
“The cyclist was lucky, Benedict’s a superhero,” Dias said. “Benedict was courageous, brave and selfless. If he hadn’t stepped in, the cyclist could have been seriously injured.”