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Is Chester actor Tom Hughes the new Benedict Cumberbatch?

Former Cheshire Youth Theatre member and star of new spy drama The Game has been given the Brit heartthrob tag by US critics

Actor Tom Hughes in the BBC2 spy drama The Game

Millions of adoring fans might argue there’s no need for one, but former Upton High School actor Tom Hughes has been labelled the new Benedict Cumberbatch.

The 29-year-old, who stars in new BBC2 spy drama The Game which starts on Thursday, April 30, has been setting hearts aflutter and winning critics’ praise Stateside since the series debuted there.

He plays Joe Lambe who is a honeytrapper, seducing women for information. The story begins with him falling madly in love with a girl called Yulia, who acts as an informer for him at the Russian embassy, and the opening episode apparently sees Joe offering himself up to the KGB to betray his country.

For Chester-born Tom, who was also a member of Jigsaw Music Theatre, it’s a breakthrough lead role which places him firmly in the hot acting Brit pack.

The RADA-trained actor is already a familiar face on TV thanks to courtroom drama Silk and Steven Poliakoff’s award-winning Dancing on the Edge, but this new six-parter promises to make him instantly recognisable.

It hit screens over in America in November last year, where US critics made the Cumberbatch comparison.

The TV columnist for Variety magazine was first to spot the similarities, describing the cat-and-mouse battle of wits between British and Russian intelligence as “low-key to the point of sleepy.”

“Tom Hughes is the haunted young agent at the forefront,” he added. “In this setting, Hughes can’t help but evoke comparisons as a younger (and no doubt cheaper) version of Benedict Cumberbatch, using his seductive powers as part of his tradecraft bag of tricks.”

It’s a pin-up status which some actors might run a mile from, but Tom is better equipped than most to deal with the female attention. In amongst his acting CV, he can claim the ad campaign of Burberry’s Autumn/Winter 2009 collection, alongside fellow young Brit actors Douglas Booth and Emma Watson.

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