LAURA CARTLEDGE: It doesn’t take Sherlock to work out what the real issue is here...

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BENEDICT Cumberbatch’s ‘coloured’ comment this week raises a lot of important issues.

So much so I can’t help but feel for him, really.

First of all, I think offence has to be linked to intent.

Benedict didn’t mean to insult anyone, he wasn’t being racist – far from it, he was calling for equality.

And that is the saddest thing.

While the scandal surrounding his use of the archaic term has made the headlines, his important point has been pushed to the side.

In fact, I’d argue that without his unfortunate slip-up, his comments may have gone under the radar completely.

David Oyelowo put it best when he said attacking Benedict was indicative of the age we live in ‘where people are looking for soundbites as opposed to substance’.

But still a lot of the attention focused on the furore over his word choice rather than his point.

You may think the whole fuss is a case of ‘political correctness gone mad’.

Or perhaps you are glad there is an open discussion about what you should or shouldn’t say.

Either way, I think the vital thing is that people aren’t put off talking about the bigger issues.

Regular readers of this rambling will know I am a strong believer that the topics that need to be addressed are too often the ones people are scared to go near.

Sweeping things under the carpet is easier, but it is not effective.

In my eyes there is no doubt Benedict is right.

It’s staggering that it is nearly three decades ago that Eddie Murphy highlighted the industry’s ‘whitewashing’ during his Oscar speech.

And that 14 years ago Halle Berry dedicated her award both to ‘every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened’.

Yet it seems little has changed.