Benedict Cumberbatch Immortalises Infamous Empress Hotel Seagull Incident in Viral Reading

The apology letter was written by a young guest who lured 30-40 seagulls into the hotel with pepperoni.

Nick Burchill's remorseful letter about seagulls and pepperoni at the Empress hotel has gone viral.
Nick Burchill's remorseful letter about seagulls and pepperoni at the Empress hotel has gone viral. Source: Getty Images

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has immortalized an infamous incident of seagulls gone wild at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

The real-life event is recounted in a letter written by Nova Scotia resident and naval officer Nick Burchill, who was visiting Victoria and brought pepperoni sticks for his fellow officers. Things went awry upon his arrival to the Empress and he wrote the letter as an apology to the hotel in 2018. He posted it on Facebook in 2018 where it first went viral.

A video of Cumberbatch delivering a dramatic reading of the remorseful yet hilarious letter has been shared by “Letters Live” at Royal Albert Hall in London in October of last year.

Burchill had left the window open of his hotel room to keep it cool and the pepperoni refrigerated. 

He left for several hours on a walk, but when he returned, Cumberbatch explains, “an entire flock of seagulls was in my room. They’d been in my room eating pepperoni for a long time. In case you are wondering, Brother’s Pepperoni does nasty things to a seagull’s digestion.”

“One was just bouncing around on the windowsill and I was kind of losing my temper at this point, so I took off one of my shoes and I threw it in the direction of the seagull, and both the seagull and the shoe went out the window.”

The renowned Empress hotel.
The renowned Empress hotel. Source: Jacqueline Rose Kryske on Facebook.

Things quickly descend as Burchill knocks the power out and eventually gets banned from the Empress for life. He wrote this letter as a plea for forgiveness – “18 years away from the Empress has been time served.”

The Cumberbatch video has been up for 4 days and has garnered over 150,000 views on the Letters Live Youtube channel. According to the channel, Letters Live is “a series of live events celebrating the power of literary correspondence.”

Benedict Cumberbatch is perhaps best known for his roles as Sherlock Holmes or Doctor Strange in the Marvel Universe.

There’s no word yet if the Empress accepted Burchill’s apology and lifted the lifetime ban, but the dramatic support of Benedict Cumberbatch might help his plea.

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