Entertainment & Arts

Benedict Cumberbatch joins Syria charity single drive

Benedict Cumberbatch Image copyright PA
Image caption Cumberbatch cites lines from modern poet Warhan Shires in his video

Benedict Cumberbatch is supporting a drive to raise money for Syrian refugees, by lending his support to the release of a charity single.

He is introducing a short video called Help is Coming, which accompanies the Crowded House track of the same name.

The 20-year-old track is available as a 7" vinyl and download, with the band giving their blessing to the project.

It has been put together by journalists Caitlin Moran and Pete Paphides, with money going to Save the Children.

"I started imagining my family in a similar situation, and almost without me realising it, a song I hadn't heard for several years started playing in my head," said Paphides, a music critic for The Times.

"Help Is Coming was recorded by Crowded House over 20 years ago, but it evokes with uncanny empathy the howling uncertainty faced by thousands of families arriving in Europe for the first time."

Columnist Moran, who is married to Paphides added: "The day after the pictures of three-year-old Alan Kurdi went around the world - it was like a switch had been flicked.

"My social media timelines were full of people who just could not stay inactive any more... People doing that brilliant, simple, ageless human thing of wanting to help other people.

"So, Pete and I were just doing what everyone else was doing, really. He'd found the perfect song... and I just went on Facebook and told everyone what we were doing.

"And everyone was desperate to help - everyone felt the same way".

'Chorus of voices'

The hard-hitting short film which accompanies the song was made by Mat Whitecross, who uses interviews with children fleeing from Syria along with footage of boats making it to dry land.

Cumberbatch introduces the film, reciting lines from the poem Home by Warsan Shire, a Kenyan-born poet who came to the UK as a baby.

The Sherlock actor then says: "As people watching this tragedy unfold from the safely of our homes, with our safe children, we want to say that we see you, we hear you and help is coming."

Speaking about the song, Crowded House's Neil Finn said: "It was always a song about refugees even if, at the time, I was thinking about the immigrants setting off on ships from Europe to America, looking for a better life for their families in America.

"I am grateful to Pete and Caitlin for imagining my song might resonate - and to Mat Whitecross for creating such a powerful film to accompany it. It's an honour to be a part of a growing chorus of voices to create action and make it real... Help is coming."

The single is available now on iTunes and will available on 7" from The Vinyl Factory from 29 September.

Image caption Help is Coming was originally recorded in 1995

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