Martin Freeman

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Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman during filming of Sherlock cropped.jpg
Freeman during filming of Sherlock in 2010
Born Martin John Christopher Freeman[1]
(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971 (age 42)
Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Alma mater Central School of Speech and Drama
Occupation Actor
Years active 1997–present
Partner(s) Amanda Abbington
Children 2
Awards BAFTA TV – Best Supporting Actor for Sherlock (2011)

Martin John Christopher Freeman (born 8 September 1971)[2] is an English actor. He is best known for his portrayals of Tim Canterbury in The Office, Dr. Watson in Sherlock, and Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy.

His other notable film roles include Love Actually (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Nativity! (2009), and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, most prominently in The World's End (2013).[3]

Early life

Martin Freeman was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and Geoffrey Freeman, a naval officer, separated when Freeman was a child, and when Freeman was ten, Geoffrey died of a heart attack.[4][5] Freeman attended the Salesian School, Chertsey before attending Brooklands College for media studies.[6] His elder brother Tim became a musician with the group Frazier Chorus.

Freeman was raised as a Roman Catholic. Although his family was not strict in their religious practices, his religion had a profound influence on him. As a child, he was asthmatic, and had to undergo a hip operation for what he has described as a "dodgy leg".[7][8]


Freeman joined a youth theatre group at 15, but it was not until he was 17 that his confidence in his acting led to the decision to pursue it as a career.[7] He went on to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama.[6] Freeman has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He is notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office. He appeared in the sitcom Hardware. He also appeared in several films, including Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Richard Curtis' Love Actually (2003).[6]

He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons and had a cameo in episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, as well as the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".[citation needed]

In May 2009 he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.[9]

He currently plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. He starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, who also went on to perform in The Hobbit films with Freeman. The first episode of Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011 and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. He plays Bilbo Baggins, the main character, in the three-part Peter Jackson film series The Hobbit.[10][11]

Accolades that his performance in the first part, An Unexpected Journey, garnered him include Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards[12] and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.[13]

Freeman appeared in all three of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He is a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End.[citation needed]

On the 5 October 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society.

Personal life

Freeman lives in Hertfordshire with his partner, actress Amanda Abbington, whom he met on the set of Channel 4’s Men Only in 2000.[14] The couple have two children together, Joe (born 2006) and Grace (born 2008),[15][7][8] and have since appeared in other productions together, including Sherlock, Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together.

In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, he discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a medic who was killed a couple of days before the Dunkirk evacuation at the beginning of World War II. Leonard's father Richard was born blind and had been a piano tuner and organist at St Andrew's Church, West Tarring and later a music teacher in Kingston upon Hull.[4]

Freeman is a vegetarian.[16] He has struggled with religion, stating "My relationship with my belief has never been easy."[17]

Freeman in 2011 took part in a charity cricket match to raise money for victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[18]



Year Film Role Notes
1998 I Just Want to Kiss You Frank Short film
2000 The Low Down Solomon
2001 Round About Five The Man
2001 Fancy Dress Pirate
2002 Ali G Indahouse Ricky C
2003 Love Actually John
2004 Blake's Junction 7 Vila Short film
2004 Call Register Kevin
2004 Shaun of the Dead Declan Cameo
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent
2006 Confetti Matt
2006 Breaking and Entering Sandy
2007 Dedication Jeremy
2007 The Good Night Gary Shaller
2007 Hot Fuzz Met. Sergeant
2007 Lonely Hearts The pig Short film
2007 The All Together Chris Ashworth
2007 Rubbish Kevin Short film
2007 Nightwatching Rembrandt
2008 Rembrandt's J'Accuse Rembrandt Documentary
2009 Nativity! Paul Maddens
2009 Swinging with the Finkels Alvin Finkel
2010 Wild Target Dixon
2010 The Girl is Mime[19] Clive Buckle Short film
2011 What's Your Number? Simon
2012 The Pirates! Band of Misfits The Pirate with a Scarf (voice)
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Bilbo Baggins
2013 The World's End Oliver Chamberlain
2013 Svengali Don
2013 Saving Santa Bernard (voice)
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Bilbo Baggins
2013 The Voorman Problem Dr. Williams Short film
2014 The Hobbit: There and Back Again Bilbo Baggins Post-Production


Year Series Role Notes
1997 The Bill Craig Parnell Episode: "Mantrap"
1997 This Life Stuart Episode: "Last Tango in Southwark"
1998 Casualty Ricky Beck Episode: "She Loved the Rain"
1998 Picking up the Pieces Brendan Episode: "1.7"
1999 Exhaust The Car Owner TV Special
2000 Bruiser Various characters 6 episodes
2000 Lock, Stock... Jaap 2 episodes
2000 Black Books Doctor Episode: "Cooking the Books"
2001 Men Only Jamie TV film
2001 World of Pub Various characters 5 episodes
2001–2003 The Office Tim Canterbury 14 episodes
2002 Helen West DC Stone 3 episodes
2002 Linda Green Matt Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
2003 The Debt Terry Ross TV film
2003 Margery and Gladys D.S. Stringer TV film
2003 Charles II: The Power and The Passion Lord Shaftesbury TV miniseries
2003–2004 Hardware Mike 12 episodes
2004 Pride Fleck TV film
2005 The Robinsons Ed Robinson 6 episodes
2007 Comedy Showcase Greg Wilson Episode: Other People
2007 The Old Curiosity Shop Mr. Codlin TV film
2008 When Were We Funniest? Himself 4 episodes
2009 Boy Meets Girl Danny Reed TV miniseries
2009 Micro Men Chris Curry TV film
2010–present Sherlock Dr. John Watson 9 episodes
2014 Fargo Lester Nygaard 10 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated For Award Category Result
2002 The Office British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Actor Nominated
2004 The Office (for "The Office Christmas Specials") BAFTAs Best Comedy Performance Nominated
British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actor Nominated
Love Actually Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Cast Nominated
Hardware Rose d'Or Best Male Comedy Performance Won
2011 Sherlock BAFTAs Best Supporting Actor Won
2012 Nominated
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia") Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards TV Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actor Won
Sherlock Crime Thriller Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
PAAFTJ Awards Best Cast in a Miniseries or TV Movie Won
PAAFTJ Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie Nominated
Tumblr TV Awards Hottest Male Character in a TV Show Nominated
Tumblr TV Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Won
Tumblr TV Awards Best Male Character in a TV Series Nominated
Tumblr TV Awards Best Cast in a TV Show Won
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Total Film Hotlist Awards Hottest Actor Nominated
2013 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Empire Awards Best Actor Won[13][20]
Saturn Award Best Actor Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Scared-as-S**t Performance Nominated[21]
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Won[12]
SFX Awards Best Actor Nominated
Shorts Awards Visionary Actor Won
New Zealand Movie Awards Hero of the Year Nominated
Constellation Awards Best Male Performance In A 2012 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series Nominated
Tumblr Movie Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
Tumblr Movie Awards Best Ship Nominated
Stella Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Won
The World's End Alternative End of Year Film Awards Best Ensemble Cast Won
2014 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Empire Awards Best Actor Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Nominated
Constellation Awards Best Male Performance In A 2013 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series Pending
Comic Vine Movie Awards Best Hero Nominated
YouReviewers Awards Best Hero Nominated
Stella Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Won


  1. ^ "Martin Freeman (April 2012)". Slow Boat Records. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  2. ^ Larman, Alexander. "Freeman, Martin (b. 1971)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  3. ^ Braun, J.W. (2010). The Lord of the Films. ECW Press. 
  4. ^ a b "Martin Freeman". Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interview: Martin Freeman, Actor". The Scotsman. 27 November 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. 30 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:'The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Paton, Maureen (17 July 2010). "In a taxi with...Martin Freeman". Daily Mail (London). 
  9. ^ Boy Meets Girl Interview: Martin Freeman profile, (30 April 2009); retrieved 27 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit". BBC News. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Child, Ben (22 October 2010). "Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, a match made in Hobbit heaven". Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Calautti, Katie (April 15, 2013). "Bilbo Baggins Beats Snow White For Best Hero At MTV Movie Awards". MTV Movie Awards.
  13. ^ a b Szalai, Georg (25 March 2013). Sam Mendes Win Empire Awards in U.K. for 'Skyfall', The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ Power, Vicki."How Tim from The Office found real love: Amanda Abbington on life with Martin Freeman". Daily Mail. 17 July 2011.
  15. ^ McLean, Craig (26 May 2013). "Amanda Abbington: Sherlock's Martin and Benedict have a fantastic chemistry". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Lily Allen and Friends: Martin Freeman". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:' The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The 48 Hour Film Project: Behind the Scenes". Pixiq. February 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Best Actor – Martin Freeman". Empire. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Best Scared-As-S**t Performance". MTV Movie Awards. Retrieved May 29, 2013.

External links