Hugh Bonneville

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Hugh Bonneville
Hugh Bonneville MingFilmFest 2011 n1.jpg
Bonneville at the 2011 Minghella Film Festival
Born Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams
(1963-11-10) 10 November 1963 (age 51)
Blackheath, London, UK
Education Sherborne School
Alma mater
Occupation Actor
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Lulu Williams
(m. 1998)[1]

Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams (born 10 November 1963), known professionally as Hugh Bonneville,[2] is an English stage, film, television and radio actor, who is best known for playing Robert Crawley in the ITV period drama series Downton Abbey since 2010.

Early life and education[edit]

Bonneville was born in Blackheath, London, to a nurse mother and a urological surgeon father.[3] He was educated at Sherborne School,[4] an independent school in the market town of Sherborne, Dorset.

Following secondary education, Bonneville read Theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge,[5] and studied acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.[6] He left Cambridge with a 2:2 in theology and has since said that he tended to do more acting than academic work.[7]

Bonneville is also an alumnus of the National Youth Theatre.[4]


Bonneville's first professional stage appearance was at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. In 1987, he joined the National Theatre where he appeared in several plays, then the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991, where he played Laertes to Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1992–1993). He played Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Bergetto in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Kastril and later Surly in The Alchemist.[8]

In 1991, Bonneville made his television debut, billed as Richard Bonneville. His early roles were usually good-natured bumbling characters like Bernie in Notting Hill (1999) and Mr. Rushworth in Mansfield Park (1999). In the BBC television series, Take A Girl Like You (2000) and Armadillo (2001), he played more villainous characters, leading up to the domineering Henleigh Grandcourt in Daniel Deronda (2002) and the psychopathic killer James Lampton in The Commander (2003) series. In Love Again, he played the poet Philip Larkin.

In Iris (2001), he played the young John Bayley opposite Kate Winslet, with his performance lauded by critics and receiving a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004, Bonneville played Sir Christopher Wren in the docudrama Wren – The Man Who Built Britain. Bonneville also works extensively in radio. He played the role of Jerry Westerby in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the John le Carré novel The Honourable Schoolboy, first broadcast in January 2010.[9] Earlier, he appeared in the surreal parallel universe comedy Married.

Since 2010, he has appeared in the ITV period drama Downton Abbey, as Robert, Earl of Grantham. In early 2010, he appeared in the comedy film Burke and Hare.[10] In 2011 and 2012, he starred as Ian Fletcher in the award-winning BBC comedy series Twenty Twelve. In December 2012, he appeared on BBC 2 with co-star Jessica Hynes in World's Most Dangerous Roads, travelling through Georgia. He will also appear in the much-delayed film Hippie Hippie Shake with Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller.

Since 2011, Bonneville has been the narrator of the Channel 4 show The Hotel.

In 2014, Bonneville played Mr. Brown in the film Paddington.

Personal life[edit]

Bonneville married Lulu Evans in 1998. The couple have a son, Felix, and live in West Sussex.

In 2009, Bonneville was the voice of Justice Fosse in Joseph Crilly's UK premiere of Kitty and Damnation for the Giant Olive Theatre Company at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town.[11] Shortly thereafter he became Giant Olive's first Patron.[12] Bonneville is also a patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard and of the medical relief charity Medical Emergency Relief International.[13]

TV and filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1990 Chancer Jas TV series (2 episodes)
1991 Dodgem Rick Bayne TV series (5 episode)
1993 Paul Merton: The Series Captain TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.6")
1993 Stalag Luft Barton TV film
1994 The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Victor Savage TV series (1 episode: "The Dying Detective", credited as Richard Bonneville)
1994 Peak Practice Dominic Kent TV series (1 episode: "Perfect Love")
1994 Cadfael Daniel Aurifaber TV series (1 episode: "The Sanctuary Sparrow", credited as Richard Bonneville)
1994 Frankenstein Schiller
1994 Between the Lines Henry Oakes TV series (1 episode: "Close Protection", credited as Richard Bonneville[14])
1995 The Imaginatively Titled Punt & Dennis Show TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.5")
1995 The Vet Alan Sinclair TV series (6 episodes)
1995 EastEnders Headmaster TV series (1 episode: "14 December 1995")
1996 Married for Life Steve Hollingsworth TV series (7 episodes); a British remake of Married... with Children
1996 Bugs Nathan Pym TV series (1 episode: "Bugged Wheat")
1997 Breakout Peter Schneider TV film
1997 See You Friday Daniel TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.1")
1997 The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous Ferdinand Fitzgerald TV mini-series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.1")
1997 Get Well Soon Norman Tucker TV series (4 episodes)
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies Air Warfare Officer – HMS Bedford
1998 Heat of the Sun Reverend Edward Herbert TV series (1 episode: "Hide in Plain Sight")
1998 Mosley Bob Boothby TV series (4 episodes)
1998 The Scold's Bridle Tim Duggan TV film
1998 Holding the Baby Gordon Muir TV series (series 2)
1999 Murder Most Horrid Inspector Dawson TV series (1 episode: "Confessions of a Murderer")
1999 Notting Hill Bernie
1999 Mansfield Park Mr. Rushworth
2000 Thursday the 12th Brin Hopper TV film
2000 Madame Bovary Charles Bovary TV film
2000 Take a Girl Like You Julian Ormerod TV series
2001 Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairy Tale Publisher TV film
2001 Blow Dry Louis
2001 High Heels and Low Lifes Farmer
2001 The Cazalets Hugh Cazalet TV series (6 episodes)
2001 The Emperor's New Clothes Bertrand
2001 Armadillo Torquil Helvoir Jayne TV series
2001 Iris Young John Bayley Berlin International Film Festival Award for New Talent
Nominated—BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—European Film Award for Best Actor
2002 Impact Phil Epson TV film
2002 The Gathering Storm Ivo Pettifer TV film
2002 Right Under My Eyes James TV film
2002 The Biographer Eric TV film
2002 Midsomer Murders Hugh Barton TV series (1 episode: "Ring Out Your Dead")
2002 Tipping the Velvet Ralph Banner TV series
2002 Doctor Zhivago Andrey Zhivago TV film
2002 Daniel Deronda Henleigh Grandcourt TV film
2003 The Commander James Lampton TV film
2003 Conspiracy of Silence Fr. Jack Dowling
2003 Love Again Philip Larkin TV film
2003 Hear the Silence Dr. Andrew Wakefield TV film
2004 Piccadilly Jim Lord Wisbeach
2004 Wren: The Man Who Built Britain Christopher Wren TV documentary
2004 Stage Beauty Samuel Pepys
2005 The Commander: Virus James Lampton uncredited
2005 The Commander: Blackout James Lampton uncredited
2005 The Rotter's Club Voice of Adult Ben TV series
2005 Man to Man Fraser McBride
2005 Asylum Max Raphael
2005 The Robinsons George Robinson TV series (6 episodes)
2005 Underclassman Headmaster Felix Powers
2006 Beau Brummell: This Charming Man Prince Regent TV film
2006 Courting Alex Julian/Charles Carter TV series (10 episodes)
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Gerry
2006 Tsunami: The Aftermath Tony Whittaker TV film
2007 Four Last Songs Sebastian Burrows
2007 The Diary of a Nobody Pooter TV film
2007 The Vicar of Dibley Jeremy Ogilvy TV series (1 episode: "The Vicar in White")
2007 Five Days DSI Iain Barclay TV series (4 episodes)
2007 Miss Austen Regrets Rev. Brook Bridges TV film
2007 Hola to the World Painter short
2007 The Replacements Voice TV series (1 episode: "London Calling")
2007 Freezing Matt TV series (3 episodes: 2007–2008)
2008 Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story Sir Hugh Carleton Greene TV film
2008 Bonekickers Gregory Parton TV series (6 episodes)
2008 Lost in Austen Mr. Bennet TV mini-series (4 episodes)
2008 One of Those Days Mr. Burrell short
2008 French Film Jed Jury Prize – Best Actor
2008 Country House Rescue (series 1) Narrator TV series (6 episodes: 2008–2009)
2009 Knife Edge Charles Pollock
2009 Hunter DSI Iain Barclay TV mini-series (2 episodes)
2009 Glorious 39 Gilbert
2009 From Time to Time Captain Oldknow
2009 Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue Narrator TV series (6 episodes)
2009 Country House Rescue Revisited Narrator TV series (3 episodes: 2009)
2010 Legally Mad Gordon Hamm TV film
2010 Critical Eye Brian
2010 Ben Hur Pontius Pilate TV mini-series (2 episodes)
2010 Shanghai Ben Sanger
2010 Third Star Beachcomber
2010 Agatha Christie's Poirot Edward Masterman TV series (1 episode: "Murder on the Orient Express")
2010 The Silence Chris TV series (4 episodes)
2010 Rev. Roland Wise TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.4")
2010 Burke & Hare Lord Harrington
2010 As Time goes by (film)
2010 Hippie Hippie Shake John Mortimer Unreleased[15]
2010 Country House Rescue (series 2) Narrator TV series (8 episodes: 2010)
2010 Downton Abbey Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham TV series (43 episodes: 2010–)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2012)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film (2010)
Nominated – Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012-2013)
2011 Marple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side Inspector Hewitt TV film
2011 Twenty Twelve Ian Fletcher TV series
Nominated – BAFTA TV Award for Best Male Comedy Performance
2011 Doctor Who Captain Avery TV series (2 episodes: "The Curse of the Black Spot" and "A Good Man Goes to War")
2011 Country House Rescue (series 3) Narrator TV series (7 episodes: 2011)
2011 The Hotel Narrator Series 1
2011 Third Star Beachcomber Film
2011 Rev. Roland Wise TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.1")
2012 The Hotel Narrator Series 2
2012 Turn Back Time: The Family Narrator TV series (5 episodes: 2012)
2012 Getting On Philip Moore TV series (1 episode: 2012)
2012 Mr Stink Mr Stink TV film
2012 World's Most Dangerous Roads TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.3.2")
2013 The Hotel Narrator Series 3
2013 Da Vinci's Demons Duke of Milan TV series (1 episode: 2013)
2014 Top Gear Himself TV series (1 episode, Series 21 Episode 1: "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car")
2014 The Monuments Men Lieutenant Donald Jeffries
2014 Muppets Most Wanted Irish Journalist
2014 W1A Ian Fletcher
2014 Paddington Mr. Brown

Further reading[edit]

  • Trowbridge, Simon. The Company: A Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford: Editions Albert Creed, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9559830-2-3.


  1. ^ "Biography for Hugh Bonneville". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. OCLC 607613318. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b Greensteet, Rosanna (6 November 2004). "Q&A: Hugh Bonneville". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Corpus Playroom Renovations". Corpus Christi College. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Franks, Alan (16 February 2008). "Hugh Bonneville and Tom Hollander on Freezing, fame and friendship". The Times. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Interview: Hugh Bonneville star of Downton Abbey". The Cambridge Student. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Trowbridge, Simon (2010). The Company: a Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford, England: Editions Albert Creed. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-0-9559830-2-3. 
  9. ^ "The Complete Smiley - The Karla Trilogy, Book 2: The Honourable Schoolboy". BBC. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Burke and Hare Teaser Art Debuts at Cannes". Dread Central. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Off-West End Announcements – 3 July 2009". What's on Stage. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "The History of Giant Olive Theatre Company". Giant Olive Theatre Company. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Scene & Heard – Who We Are". 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Between The Lines, November 1994. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  15. ^ Meacham, Steve; Maddox, Garry (14 February 2011). "Hippies tossed aside in corporate decision". The Sydney Morning Herald. After a promised release failed to eventuate last year, the British production company, Working Title, has confirmed it will not reach cinemas. The managing director of the distributor Universal Pictures in Australia, Mike Baard, said: 'I's going to land in the direct-to-video's off our release schedule.' 

External links[edit]