12 October 1953 |
Burnage, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Brana Bajic (m. 1995)|
David Threlfall (born 12 October 1953) is an English stage, film and television actor and director best known for playing Frank Gallagher in Channel 4's series Shameless. He has also directed several episodes of the show. In April 2014, he portrayed comedian Tommy Cooper in a television film entitled Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This.
The son of a plumber, Tommy Threlfall and his wife, David was born in Burnage, Manchester, Lancashire. His introduction to drama came from school and two English teachers, at Wilbraham High School, where he was a contemporary of the younger Lorraine Ashbourne. Encouragement from those teachers led to his playing the male lead in a four-performance school production of Ann Jellicoe's Rising Generation in 1971. December that year saw him playing John Proctor in a school production of The Crucible and then to his getting involved with Manchester Youth Theatre.
He went to art college in Sheffield (now Sheffield Hallam University), but only stayed for a year. A few months of labouring and thinking followed. Then, having consulted a magazine in a public library which listed drama colleges, Threlfall successfully applied to Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama. By graduation, he had an audition with Mike Leigh.
Threlfall graduated from the Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre. He has notched up a wide range of film and television credits since his 1977 acting debut in the Play for Today version of the film Scum as the eloquent Archer. Television appearances include Trevor in Mike Leigh's 1977 made-for-TV film Kiss of Death, Leslie Titmuss in Paradise Postponed, Edgar in the 1984 Granada Television production of King Lear opposite Laurence Olivier in the title role. He also had regular roles in the situation comedies Nightingales and Men of the World, and guest appearances in dramas such as Cutting It, The Knock, CI5: The New Professionals and Spooks. He played Prince Charles in Diana: Her True Story in 1993 and his father Prince Philip in the 2005 drama The Queen's Sister. David played the key character of Frank Gallagher in Paul Abbott's Shameless, shown on Channel 4 for 11 series between 2004 and 2013.
He also played the role of Friedrich Kritzinger in the BBC/HBO drama Conspiracy, a dramatisation of the infamous Wannsee Conference. In 2006, he played the domineering husband of wartime diarist Nella Last, in the TV drama Housewife, 49. Film credits include John le Carré's The Russia House, Patriot Games, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, alongside Cate Blanchett, and Nowhere Boy in which he took the part of John Lennon's Uncle George.
He also had a small role in the 2006 film Alien Autopsy and played the character Martin Blower in the 2007 film Hot Fuzz, acting alongside Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. He starred in an episode of The Whistle Blowers. He starred as the lead role in the fifth episode of the BBC docu-drama series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire as the Emperor Constantine I.
Threlfall voiced the part of Iago in Othello for the Arcangel audio production of same. He also voiced the detective Paolo Baldi in BBC Radio 4's Baldi. He also read Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for a radio adaptation. In 1980, he played Smike in the eight-hour stage version of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby for the Royal Shakespeare Company in both London and New York.
Other notable stage performances include Riddley Walker, Oedipus, Macbeth, Your Home In The West and Peer Gynt at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, Bolingbroke in Richard II and Orgon in Tartuffe at the National Theatre in London. Threlfall played Jack in When the Whales Came (1989), opposite Paul Scofield and Helen Mirren. In 2010, he appeared as a guest on Have I Got News for You.
Threlfall was awarded an honorary doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University on 15 July 2013.
In 2013, he played retired London detective Len Harper in the short murder mystery BBC series What Remains.
- Blackie, The Sons of Light by David Rudkin for the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon (1977)
- Jake, A&R by Pete Atkin for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Warehouse Theatre, London (1978)
- Fitz, Savage Amusement by Peter Flannery for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Warehouse Theatre, London (1978)
- Mike, Shout Across The River by Stephen Poliakoff for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Warehouse Theatre, London (1978)
- Mark Antony, Julius Caesar at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (1979)
- Slender, The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (1979)
- Viktor, The Suicide by Nikolai Erdman for the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon (1979)
- Smike, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby adapted by David Edgar for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych Theatre, London and then at the Plymouth Theatre, New York (1980)
- Bolingbroke, Richard II at the Nationall Theatre, London (1985)
- Riddley Walker, Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1986)
- Hamlet for the Oxford Playhouse at the Edinburgh Festival (1986)
- Oedipus, Oedipus by Sophocles at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1987)
- The Traveller by Jean Claude Van Itallie at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester and then the Almeida (1987)
- Macbeth, Macbeth at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1988)
- Bussy D'Ambois by George Chapman at the Old Vic (1988)
- Ian, Over a Barrel by Stephen Bill, Palace Theatre, Watford (1989)
- Gregers Werle, The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen at the Phoenix Theatre, London (1990)
- Micky, Your Home in the West by Rod Wooden at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1991)
- The Count, The Count of Monte Cristo at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1994)
- Lovborg, Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen at the Chichester Festival Theatre (1996)
- Norman Nestor, Odysseus Thump by Richard Hope at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (1997)
- Garry Essendine, Present Laughter by Noël Coward at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1998)
- Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1999)
- Orgon, Tartuffe by Moliere at the National Theatre, London (2002)
- Robert Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall at the Duchess Theatre, London (2001)
- Skellig by David Almond at the Young Vic, London (2003)
- Michael, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuiness at the Ambassadors Theatre, London (2005)
David has said that despite his Shameless character being a chain smoker, in real life he is a non-smoker who has a dislike for nicotine.
- Jury, Louise (6 January 2007). "David Threlfall: Frank, in more than one sense". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- Celebrity fans: David Threlfall, FourFourTwo.com
- Pryor, Cathy, David Threlfall: Being Frank and Shameless, Independent.co.uk, 7 January 2007
- BALDI SERIES 4, BBC.co.uk
- Murray, Braham (2007). The Worst It Can Be Is a Disaster. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 978-0-7136-8490-2.
- The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Words & Pictures 1976-1998, 1998, ISBN 0-9512017-1-9
- Elkin, Susan, Art of the shapeshifter — David Threlfall, TheStage.co.uk, 6 May 2004
- We're so shameless