Benedict Cumberbatch ditches his trademark detective's coat for thermals as he dares to cheat death driving on ice in the Arctic Circle.
The frozen lake we're standing on is speaking to us. It's a groaning, creaking voice, almost of pain, from way down deep in the icy abyss. 'Listen to that,' says Benedict Cumberbatch, dressed in a thick fur-collared jacket, black salopettes, chunky blue scarf, big snow boots, thick gloves and woolly hat. He looks more Scott of the Antarctic than Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. 'It sounds absolutely magical,' he says, concentrating hard on the sound of the ice moaning beneath us, around us. There is no other sound. It's too cold for birds or people or animals, too isolated for traffic.
'The ice is quite solid, I assume?' asks Benedict, articulating what we're all thinking. We're about to power around this frozen lake in a range of Jaguar sports cars and nobody wants their F-Type to turn submarine. 'Quite solid,' says our Finnish instructor, Tomi. He shows us a contraption that measures ice thickness. 'It's 35cm,' he says reassuringly. (That's just over a foot.) 'Although maybe less thick in places.' (An unhelpful postscript.)
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Cold blooded animal on the ice. Friendly with puppies. Maybe he'll eat them, later...