You won't believe who has a crush on Benedict Cumberbatch...


Benedict Cumberbatch has attracted a rather unusual admirer - a gorilla.

The Sherlock star is known for being a favourite with female fans and according to a new BBC documentary, his charms have also worked on a western lowland gorilla named Koko.

The ape was raised with humans after being studied by a graduate student named Penny Patterson in 1971, and it has been claimed that she can communicate through American Sign Language.

Documentary producer Bridget Appleby told the Radio Times that Koko fell for Benedict's voice after watching DVDs of his work.

"Apparently she has a big crush on him," she said. "She loves English men."

Koko the gorilla with Penny Patterson

She developed a love for English accents, said the producer, during sittings for renowned artist Richard Stone.

Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks To People looks at the relationship between Penny and the ape, who lives in a compound near the Stanford University campus.

The gorilla was loaned to Penny for her doctoral research as a baby, and has stayed with her ever since.

After starting with symbols for "eat", "drink", and "more", Penny has claimed that Koko can understand more than 1,000 signs, and can use them to construct phrases of her own.

Bridget said: "What can be so startling is that because she's been brought up with people, she has similar mannerisms, similar gestures, and you do feel that there's a familiarity that you wouldn't normally expect to have with an animal. You feel like you're on the same level of communication, even without the sign language."

The central issue of whether apes can learn sign language is in dispute, with experts claiming that results of studies are inconclusive.

This week's Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday June 7.