Martin Jarvis (actor)
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4 August 1941 |
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
Jarvis trained at RADA, where he won the Vanbrugh Award and the Silver Medal. He has acted in many stage productions in London and abroad, most recently starring alongside Diana Rigg and Natascha McElhone in Joanna Murray-Smith's Honour at London's Wyndham's Theatre until May 2006.
Jarvis has had a long association with the BBC, particularly BBC Radio 4. In the 1980s Michael Frayn's columns for the Guardian and the Observer, described by some as models of the comic essay, were adapted and performed in many voices for BBC Radio 4 by Jarvis. He performs regularly in radio dramas and readings, both comic and serious. In David Mamet's Mind Your Pantheon he played the actor Strabo. He is probably best known for his long series of readings of Richmal Crompton's Just William stories, which show his characteristic and flexible reading voices. He has also narrated the Billy Bunter series, by Frank Richards. As a result of this extensive work Jarvis is satirised by the radio show Dead Ringers by Mark Perry, highlighting his seeming ubiquity on Radio 4 programmes and as a guest in Dictionary Corner on Countdown.
Jarvis's first television appearance was in 1965 in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who, as Hilio, captain of the butterfly-like Menoptra, in The Web Planet. He became a familiar face on television when he played Jon in the BBC's landmark 1967 adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, the lead in a BBC serialisation of Nicholas Nickleby (1968), Uriah Heep in the 1974 BBC version of David Copperfield and the male lead in the sitcom Rings On Their Fingers (1978–80) with Diane Keen. In 1993 he starred with Ewan McGregor and Rachel Weisz in the BBC adaptation of Scarlet and Black. He also appeared in the 2002 BBC children's miniseries Bootleg.
Jarvis has made several guest appearances in Doctor Who, including the serial Vengeance on Varos in 1985 as the beleaguered governor of the planet Varos. He has also appeared in "Jubilee", a Doctor Who spin off audio drama by Big Finish Productions alongside his wife.
Jarvis has also voiced various characters in animated series such as Billy and Mandy (where he voiced Nergal, replacing David Warner) and The Life and Times of Juniper Lee. An interesting note is that in the former's case, he inherits the role of the character Nergal from his Titanic co-star David Warner. In 2000 he voiced John Dread in the TV series Max Steel. He has also voiced all the characters in the children's stop-motion animated series Huxley Pig and narrated "The Tempest" in Shakespeare: The Animated Tales.
Jarvis was the subject of BBC television's This Is Your Life in 1999.
Jarvis did the voiceovers for the 2010 BBC series Just William. He is the narrator of the 2011 audiobook of The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. In 2007, Jarvis has voiced in video gaming for the first time and plays the role of The Chronicler in the Spyro the Dragon video game series. He also provided the voice of Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib Qwib in Mass Effect 2 (2010) and Mass Effect 3 (2012). He also voiced Alfred Pennyworth in the 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City and reprised his role in the 2013 video game Batman: Arkham Origins. Also in 2011, Jarvis also performed a voice-over part for the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Jarvis has also lent his voice to audiobooks on Sir P.G. Wodehouse's works and has won the Audie Award for the same. Further work in 2011 includes the audiobook for the Wilbur Smith novel 'The Leopard Hunts in Darkness'.
He married Rosalind Ayres on 23 November 1974 in Ealing and has two sons by a previous marriage. He met Ayres when playing in Hamlet together, where she played Ophelia. Together with his wife, Jarvis runs the radio production company "Jarvis & Ayres Productions", frequently used by Radio 4. He was awarded the OBE in 2000. He has also published a book of memoirs titled Acting Strangely: A Funny Kind of Life (ISBN 0413728501 hardback, ISBN 0-413-74550-3 paperback). He has houses in London and Los Angeles.
- Doctor Who (1965) (TV)
- Secrets of a Windmill Girl (1966)
- The Forsyte Saga (1967) (TV)
- Jackanory (1967) (TV)
- The Last Escape (1970)
- Rings On Their Fingers (1978) (TV BBC)
- Breakaway (1980) (TV)
- The Bunker (1981) (TV)
- The Reluctant Dragon (1987)
- Buster (1988)
- Huxley Pig (1988) (TV) (voice)
- Rumpole of the Bailey (1988) (TV)
- The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship (1990) (voice)
- Shakespeare: The Animated Tales (1992) (TV) (voice)
- The Tick (1994) (TV) (voice)
- Fourways Farm (1994) (TV) (voice)
- The Queen's Nose (1995) (TV)
- Richie Rich (1996) (TV) (voice)
- Testament: The Bible in Animation (1996) (TV)
- Space: Above and Beyond (1996) (TV)
- A Touch of Frost (1996) (TV)
- Titanic (1997)
- Extreme Ghostbusters (1997) (TV) (voice)
- Max Steel (2000–2003) (TV) (voice)
- Jackie Chan Adventures (2000) (TV) (voice)
- The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (2003–2008) (TV) (voice)
- Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown (2003) (Video game) (voice)
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee (2005) (TV) (voice)
- Eragon (2006) (Film) (voice)
- The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (2007) The Chronicler (Video game)
- The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (2008) The Chronicler (Video game)
- Dragon Age: Origins (2009) (Video game) (voice)
- EastEnders (2010)
- Mass Effect 2 (2010) Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib Qwib (Video game)
- Batman: Arkham City Alfred Pennyworth (2011) (Video game)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Various Roles (2011) (Video Game)
- Mass Effect 3 (2012) Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib Qwib (Video game)
- Wreck-It Ralph Satine (2012) (Film) (voice)
- Endeavour Henry Broom (2013) (TV)
- Batman: Arkham Origins Alfred Pennyworth (2013) (Video Game)
- By Any Means (2013) (TV)
- Martin Jarvis at the Internet Movie Database
- Guardian Q & A September 2007
- The Times May 2004
- The Actor's Compendium