Benedict Cumberbatch urges Santa to 'stretch the moment of magic' for children
Benedict Cumberbatch has written a letter to Santa Claus asking him to distract children "from the realities of a world gone mad".
The Sherlock star asked Father Christmas for "a little more time for children to be children" and mentioned those who may be "hiding in buildings as bombs rain down", in the note marking national letter writing day.
Cumberbatch also joked that he never did receive the lightsaber he asked for and promised to leave out extra port and mince pies.
The letter is part of an event called Letters Live which is a celebration of the power of literary correspondence.
Cumberbatch wrote: "This is what I'd like to ask you to help with. A little more time for children to be children. Stretch the moment of magic and playfulness.
"Distract them from the realities of a world gone mad so that they can laugh with their breath rather than sob with their tears. Especially those caring for family members, or suffering illness, hunger or poverty.
"Especially those hiding in buildings as bombs rain down, or being handed shaking with fear or cold into a boat to escape environmental disaster or war. Please help to light up their worlds with a moment of joy and hope."
Speaking about adults, he said: "Now we get our own presents, control our own fates, take responsibility for our own actions, and live in the world we have created ... so it's not for us to turn around and plead for your help with the environment, the migrant crisis, the NHS, education, food banks, human rights, fundamentalism and wars.
"Though God knows we need all the help we can get with all these man-made problems and more."
He added: "You are for the children. Children who need some magic in a world where the borders between innocence and responsibility, playful imagination and cold, adult obstacles are continually shrinking."
He went on: "Spare a thought too for those millions who want to write to you but through illiteracy can't. Hear their words and help to give them the time and chance to learn how to read and write so they can better their lives and escape their impoverished beginnings."
Cumberbatch, a father of one, ended the letter by writing: "I feel a little sorry for you. And I guess I've done exactly what I said I wouldn't ... Asked you to help with adult problems and solve some of the greatest worries we have for our children. I promise to leave some extra port and mince pies for you!"
Other big names to have penned letters to Santa include Annie Lennox, Russell Brand, Thom Yorke and Thandie Newton.
Lennox asked Santa to "ensure that entire generations aren't forced to flee their homes in cities, towns and villages in war torn countries from Syria to Nigeria because they are being continuously bombed, burned and brutalised at every turn".
Yorke asked him to "consider not giving any presents to oil company executives and the politicians whose influence they buy".
Brand thanked him for "Jeremy Corbyn, Charlotte Church and the new series of Peep Show".
Newton wrote: "My request is that you let Mrs Claus come this year. Yes, your silent partner. I know she's the force that keeps you full of beans. You wouldn't be so jolly, energetic and kind without the presence of a woman in your life."
Letters Live is inspired by Shaun Usher's international best-selling Letters Of Note series.
Each show always features an array of performers reading letters written over the centuries and from around the world.
Letters Live is at Freemasons' Hall in London next March.