Stricken fans flip out as Benedict Cumberbatch announces engagement

Joel Ryan/Invision/APFans gather around the wax figure of Benedict Cumberbatch as it is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in central London on Oct. 21

'Benedict Cumberbatch can't be engaged,” one fan tweeted Wednesday, “because the Internet is still working.”

The 38-year-old “Sherlock” star shattered hearts Wednesday with the announcement of his engagement to theater director Sophie Hunter, 36.

A tiny announcement in a London newspaper broke the news of a forthcoming union between “Mr B.T. Cumberbatch And Miss S.I. Hunter.”

Fans of the actor, who appeared in “Star Trek Into Darkness” and portrayed code breaker Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game,” responded swiftly.

“No no no Benedict Cumberbatch can't be engaged,” one tweeted. “He's my fav British actor [emoticons depicting screaming, sobbing, grimacing and crying] lord I can't believe it, congrats tho [sobbing, heart, prayer hands].”

“Benedict Cumberbatch is engaged and my heart has literally just exploded into a million little distraught pieces,” tweeted another fan, typing bravely through a bout of cardio-exploditis.

The actor's most ardent fans, the self-described Cumberbitches, tried to stare into oblivion with dignity.

“The news is honestly fantastic and we're very happy to hear that someone whose acting we admire has found happiness,” @Cumberbitches tweeted before letting the phone drop from their slack grasp and dissolving into an ocean of tears.

'UNFORTUNATE EVENTS' ON NETFLIX

This may be very fortunate indeed: Netflix is planning a show based on the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books. A debut date hasn't been set for the adaptation, which will follow orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire in their struggle against evil Count Olaf, according to Variety magazine.

“After years of providing top-quality entertainment on demand, Netflix is risking its reputation and its success by associating itself with my dismaying and upsetting books,” author Lemony Snicket said from an undisclosed site, according to Netflix's news release.

Snicket, aka San Francisco writer Daniel Handler, has sold more than 65 million copies of the “Unfortunate Events” books. Handler's next book, “We Are Pirates,” is due in February.

He is also scheduled to appear tonight at Booksmith in the Haight for a literary erotic fan-fiction contest starring Count Olaf. Yes, really.

QUICK TAKES

Oscar winner Jared Leto was spotted in the Mission on Wednesday, the Mission Mission blog says. … Joan Rivers will appear on two upcoming episodes of “Celebrity Apprentice.” The episodes were filmed shortly before her death in September.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Actress Emma Stone (“Easy A”) is 26. … Model-actress Rebecca Romijn (“X-Men”) is 42. … Actress Thandie Newton (“Crash”) is 42. … Actor Ethan Hawke (“Before Midnight”) is 44. … Singer Corey Glover of Living Colour is 50. … Actress Lori Singer (“Fame”) is 57. … Singer Glenn Frey is 66. … Actress Sally Field (“Norma Rae”) is 68. … Country singer Stonewall Jackson is 82. … Director Mike Nichols (“Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) is 83.

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