- - Sunday, January 8, 2012

‘Sherlock’ actor defends co-star’s nude scene

Benedict Cumberbatch is shrugging off British newspaper criticism of his female co-star’s nude scene in TV’s latest season of “Sherlock.”

It may be an effort to sell papers, he said, but it also helps the drama about a modern-day Holmes that will air its second season in the United States this May on PBS’ “Masterpiece Mystery!”

“It’s great publicity, isn’t it?” Mr. Cumberbatch told the Television Critics Association on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. “I think there’s an awful lot of support for the way that we did [the scene] and the taste that we did it with. And if it creates more interest in the program, thank you very much for that.”

In this week’s BBC-aired episode titled “A Scandal in Belgravia,” Holmes has a close encounter with a whip-smart dominatrix, Irene Adler (Lara Pulver), who gets under his skin by flashing much of hers. Some detractors said the scene was too racy to air early in the evening, when children are more likely to be watching TV.

“It’s not supposed to be a source of stimulation for the audience,” Mr. Cumberbatch said. “It’s supposed to throw [Holmes’] radar off, which is exactly what it does.”

He played it coy on whether the hit series will return for a third season. The actor has become a hot property with film credits including “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “War Horse.”

During a Q&A by satellite from London, Mr. Cumberbatch pretended to seek legal counsel when asked if he would sign on for more “Sherlock.” He also consulted another fictional lawyer when queried about his role in the forthcoming “Star Trek” sequel from filmmaker J.J. Abrams.

“I’m just getting my head around the fact it’s happened. … I’ll give you my headline on it, which is, ‘I’m over the moon.’ “

‘X Factor’ winner still wants to pursue nursing

She has a $5 million recording contract, but Melanie Amaro still sees herself as becoming a nurse someday.

The 19-year-old was studying nursing in college before her winning run on Fox’s “The X Factor.” Although she just signed a deal with Epic Records and is about to start working on her debut album, she said she still wants to pursue nursing at some point, according to the Associated Press.

“To be honest, I still do want to do nursing because I want to help people,” she said. “But I think as of right now, I want to pursue what I absolutely love, which is my singing first.”

If her singing career takes off like she did on “The X Factor,” she’ll likely never get the chance. Miss Amaro won the talent competition last month on the strength of her big voice and ballad-style singing. But she said people shouldn’t expect just slow, anthemlike songs on her debut.

She’ll be working on her album with L.A. Reid, the “X Factor” judge who is also chairman and CEO of Epic Records. Although Simon Cowell was her official mentor on the show, she said Mr. Reid always gave her confidence.

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