Christopher Ellison

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For the Australian politician, see Chris Ellison.

Christopher Michael Ellison (born 16 December 1946, London)[1] is an English actor. He is best known for his role as DCI Frank Burnside in the popular ITV police series The Bill and short lived spin off series Burnside.


At school his art teacher encouraged him having seen his talent. Art remained his strong subject through school years and it was a natural progression that Chris then moved on to art college, firstly at Wimbledon and then Camberwell.[2]


He worked in the merchant navy, trained as a graphic designer and worked as a minicab driver. First drama job was Assistant Stage Manager at the Richmond Theatre. First acting role was in the play Woman in a Dressing Gown at said theatre. First break was a guest appearance in The Sweeney (1975).

He appeared in many guest roles in TV shows throughout the 1970s including episodes of The Sweeney and The Professionals, and in the films Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse (1978) and Buster (1988), based on the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

In 1984, he appeared in Paul McCartney's feature film Give My Regards To Broad Street playing Rath's Minder. In 1986, he played criminal gang leader Charlie Elkin in Running Scared, based on Bernard Ashley's novel.

Having first appeared as Burnside in 1984, he became a permanent member of The Bill cast between 1988-2000.
He appeared in one episode of the sci-fi police series, Crime Traveller, in 1997.

Although best known for playing tough-guys, he also played George, a transvestite, in the radio series The Change from 2001-2004


In 2003, Ellison played the lead role in Fort Boyard, which aired on Challenge. In 2005, he guest starred in the Doctor Who audio adventure The Game. In 2007, from 20–24 August, Christopher played the role of Len Harker in the BBC One soap opera, EastEnders.

He has appeared in Casualty, Judge John Deed, and Minder, among other appearances on Soccer AM, and presenting roles in The World's Most Stupid Criminals and Mousetrapped.

In February 2009, Chris won Celebrity Come Dine with Me on Channel 4. In 2009, he appeared in the film A Silent Whistle and in 2010 Bounded by Blood and Basement.


In August 2011, he appeared in a New Tricks episode titled 'Half Life' as a prisoner. He is currently the face and voice of Sussex-based MOT company - Just MOT's.[3]



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