Although it seems that the world is at his feet currently, there are some who believe that it may not have always been pre-ordained for the talented British actor Benedict Cumberbatch to be such a success in his chosen career. He will stand (or maybe actually sit) toe to toe with the cream of the best actors in the world, in the eyes of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at least, when they hand out the Best Actor gong on 22nd February, yet it may have been all so different for the Harrow-educated thespian according to his former teacher.

Thirty-eight-year-old Cumberbatch comes from a privileged background of which there can be few arguments. He was born into an acting family (both parents were actors), lived his early years in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, went to boarding school at eight years old and his education was at Brambletye School in West Sussex. On top of that he attended Harrow public school as an arts' scholar, had a grandfather who was prominent in high society in London and a great-grandfather who was Queen Victoria's consul general in Turkey and Lebanon. Quite a background to begin any career with one would think.

Martin Tyrell, who was Cumberbatch's drama teacher while he was at Harrow, believes that his background and education was actually detrimental to his ambitions of becoming a top actor, as it provided a limitation to the roles he could be reasonably expected to fulfil.

His comments were directed to the Radio Times, and he went on to explain his reasoning by stating that he felt that actors from a privately educated background "are being limited by critics and audiences…and that seems to me very unfair".

His heartfelt thoughts are certain to fan the flames for those who voice the opinion that privilege can play a major role in assisting with the development of careers in the arts, contrary to Mr Tyrell's assertions.

It could equally well be argued that regional accents, age and general looks can also impact on the roles an actor is offered to play. Surely one of the traits of a good actor is that they can throw themselves into a part, learning new skills as they go along to develop the part and make it their own.

Many of the top actors have often studied the parts they are to play by spending weeks and months for their art with experts in the field in question, to get the part just right, maybe engaging in elocution lessons to smooth out the rough edges of their accents or practising religiously to adopt an American or English accent (dependent on their nationality at birth).

Such as the beautiful Charlize Theron, in her portrayal of the lead character in the Film Monster (for which she won an Oscar), put on extra weight and dumbed down her looks to improve her characterisation of the part.

Clearly, the apparent 'blockers' to his acting progress have not held Cumberbatch back too much though, thankfully, as his part of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game deservedly stands alongside Britain's equally talented Eddie Redmayne in the Oscar nominations.