Matthew Macfadyen

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Matthew Macfadyen
Matthew Macfadyen in London, 2007
Macfadyen in London, 2007
Born David Matthew Macfadyen
(1974-10-17) 17 October 1974 (age 40)
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor
Years active 1995–present
Spouse(s) Keeley Hawes (m. 2004)
Children 2

David Matthew Macfadyen (born 17 October 1974) is a BAFTA award-winning English actor, known for his roles as MI5 Intelligence Officer Tom Quinn in the BBC television drama series Spooks, Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice and Daniel in the Frank Oz comedy Death at a Funeral. He is also known for portraying John Birt in the political drama Frost/Nixon, as well as Detective Inspector Edmund Reid in the BBC series Ripper Street.

Early life[edit]

Macfadyen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the son of Meinir (née Owen), a drama teacher and former actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil executive.[1][2] His paternal grandparents were Scottish and his maternal grandparents were Welsh.[1][3] Macfadyen was brought up in a number of places, including Jakarta, Indonesia, as a result of his father's profession.[1] He attended schools in England (including in Louth, Lincolnshire), Scotland and Indonesia, and went to Oakham School in Rutland, before being accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at 17.


After having studied at the RADA from 1992 to 1995, Macfadyen became known in British theatre due primarily to his work with the stage company Cheek by Jowl, for whom he played Antonio in The Duchess of Malfi, Charles Surface in The School for Scandal, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. His Benedick was played as an officer-class buffoon with a moustache and a braying laugh. In 2005, he played Prince Hal in Henry IV, Parts One and Two at the Royal National Theatre, with Michael Gambon in the role of Falstaff. In 2007, he returned to the stage, portraying an American, Clay, a stay at home father with a liberal attitude in the play The Pain and the Itch.

A TV breakthrough came when he appeared as Hareton Earnshaw in an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, screened on the ITV network in 1998. Further television drama work followed, including starring roles in the dramas Warriors (1999) and The Way We Live Now (2001), both for the BBC. Also in 2001, he earned acclaim for his starring role in the BBC Two drama serial Perfect Strangers, which was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. In 2002, he starred in The Project, a BBC drama charting New Labour's rise to power. He starred in Spooks, which became a success when screened on BBC One. A longer second season was screened in 2003, and a third season was broadcast in autumn 2004, with him leaving the series in the second episode. The series was aired as MI-5 on the A&E Network. In 2007 he appeared in the one-off Channel 4 drama Secret Life, which dealt with the controversial subject of paedophilia.[4] Matthew won the 'Best Actor' award at the Royal Television Society 2007 Awards for this part, and was nominated for a BAFTA. He also appeared in a short sketch for Comic Relief as the bridegroom in Mr Bean's Wedding, alongside Rowan Atkinson and Michelle Ryan.

Macfadyen appeared in films including Enigma (released in 2001), and In My Father's Den, for which he received the New Zealand Screen Award for Best Actor. He stars as the romantic lead Fitzwilliam Darcy in an acclaimed adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, released in the UK in September 2005.

Macfadyen starred in Frank Oz's "Death at a Funeral" and the film Incendiary, based on Chris Cleave's novel alongside Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor. He has also appeared in Ron Howard's film Frost/Nixon, in which he played John Birt. In 2008, he played the male lead Arthur Clennam in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit. In 2009 Macfadyen appeared alongside Academy Award nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter in the BBC Four movie Enid, based on the life of Enid Blyton, as Hugh Pollock, Blyton's publisher and first husband.

In 2010, he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood. He starred as Prior Philip in the TV serial The Pillars of the Earth, and was the middle-aged Logan Mountstuart in Any Human Heart. In June 2010, Macfadyen won a British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Criminal Justice.

In 2011, Macfadyen made a final cameo in the BBC show Spooks, and in 2012, he played Oblonsky in Joe Wright's film, Anna Karenina. In December 2012 he played Detective Inspector Edmund Reid in BBC One's Ripper Street.

Personal life[edit]

In 2002, he began a relationship with his then-married Spooks co-star Keeley Hawes.[5] They were married in November 2004.[6] The couple have two children, daughter Maggie (b. December 2004)[6] and son Ralph (b. September 2006).[7] Macfadyen is stepfather to Hawes's son, Myles, from her previous marriage.[5] The couple are both patrons of the Lace Market Theatre in Nottingham.[8]





Year Title Role Notes
2000 Maybe Baby Nigel
2001 Enigma Lt. Cave
2003 The Reckoning King's Justice
2004 In My Father's Den Paul Prior Nominated – BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film
2005 Pride & Prejudice Mr. Darcy Nominated – London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Newcomer of the Year
2006 Middletown Gabriel Hunter
2007 Grindhouse Eye Gouging Victim Segment: Don't
2007 Death at a Funeral Daniel Howells
2008 Incendiary Terence Butcher
2008 Frost/Nixon John Birt Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2010 Robin Hood Sheriff of Nottingham
2011 The Three Musketeers Athos
2012 Anna Karenina Oblonsky
2014 Lost in Karastan Emil Forester

Voice work[edit]

  • 2000 : The Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin [ Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 ] (reader)[42]
  • 2001 : Trampoline, by Meredith Oakes [ Afternoon Play on BBC Radio 4 ] (Skeggs)[43]
  • 2003 : Essential Poems (To Fall In Love With) [ TV programme on BBC Two ] (actor/reader)[44]
  • 2004 : The Coma, by Alex Garland [ audio book ] (reader)[45]
  • 2004 : Getting Away From It: The Island, by Tim Pears [ Afternoon Reading on BBC Radio 4 ] (reader)[46]
  • 2004 : The Hungerford Massacre [ TV documentary on BBC One ] (narrator)[47]
  • 2005 : Stories We Could Tell, by Tony Parsons [ audio book ] (reader)[48]
  • 2006 : The 9/11 Liars [ TV documentary on Channel 4 ] (narrator)[49]
  • 2006 : Nuremberg: Nazis On Trial [ 3-part TV documentary on BBC Two ] (narrator)[50]
  • 2007 : Robin Hood's Quest & The Quest for Aladdin's Treasure [ video games by Oxygen Games ] (narrator)[51]
  • 2007 : The Making of Music [ BBC Radio 4 ] (reader)[52]
  • 2007 : The Blair Years [ 3-part TV documentary on BBC One ] (narrator)[53]
  • 2007 : Last Party at the Palace [ TV documentary on Channel 4 ] (narrator)[54]
  • 2008 : Dangerous Jobs for Girls [ 4-part TV documentary on Channel 4 ] (narrator)[55]
  • 2008 : Words of War [ TV documentary on ITV1 ] (narrator)[56]
  • 2009 : Wine [ 3-part TV documentary on BBC Four ] (narrator)[57]
  • 2009 : Inside MI5 [ TV documentary on ITV1 ] (narrator)
  • 2011: M&S food adverts
  • 2011: Bupa healthcare adverts
  • 2014: Horse Power Documentary on Scuderia Ferrari / Shell Motorsport on Sky Atlantic (narrator)


  1. ^ a b c Cavendish, Dominic (2 February 2010). "Matthew Macfadyen interview". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Macdonald, Marianne (12 September 2005). "Leading question". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "A man of mystery; Graham Keal talks to Spooks star Matthew Macfadyen about the new series, his Welsh roots and being hounded by the paparazzi.(Features) – Daily Post (Liverpool)". 7 June 2003. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Evening Times: News
  5. ^ a b Alison Boshoff (22 February 2008). "The very bizarre love life of Ashes to Ashes' rising star Keeley Hawes". Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Liz Hoggard (1 April 2010). "Ashes to Ashes star Keeley Hawes on surviving a shobiz marriage". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes welcome second child". 11 January 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Playbill
  10. ^ Playbill
  11. ^ Playbill
  12. ^ Playbill
  13. ^ Playbill
  14. ^ Cheek by Jowl
  15. ^ RSC’s official archives
  16. ^ Cheek by Jowl
  17. ^ RSC’s official archives
  18. ^ National Theatre
  19. ^ National Theatre
  20. ^ What's on Stage Gossip
  21. ^ Royal Court Theatre
  22. ^ Vaudeville Theatre
  23. ^
  24. ^ PBS Masterpiece
  25. ^ Warriors, l'impossible mission sur Arte
  26. ^ PBS Mystery
  27. ^ Fan site
  28. ^ PBS Masterpiece
  29. ^ The Project on the BBC
  30. ^ A collection of article/review excerpts
  31. ^ Spooks on the BBC
  32. ^ Official video
  33. ^ Secret Life on Channel 4
  34. ^ BBC Press Office
  35. ^ BBC Press Office
  36. ^ Miss Marple on ITV
  37. ^ Khan, Urmee. Helena Bonham Carter to play Enid Blyton in new BBC biopic, The Telegraph, March 7, 2009. Accessed September 15, 2013.
  38. ^ BBC Press Office
  39. ^ Tandem Communications Press release
  40. ^ "Channel 4 Sales News , Star studded cast start filming epic TV adaptation Any Human Heart". 15 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  41. ^ "Matthew Macfadyen and Jerome Flynn get to work on the set of bloody new series Ripper Street... as 19th century London is recreated in Dublin". The Daily Mail. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  42. ^ RadioListings Database
  43. ^ RadioListings Database
  44. ^ BBC Press Office
  45. ^ Review on Times online
  46. ^ RadioListings Database
  47. ^ BBC News
  48. ^ Excerpt on
  49. ^ 9/11 The Five Year Anniversary on Channel 4
  50. ^ BBC History
  51. ^ High Score Productions
  52. ^ The Making of Music on BBC Radio 4
  53. ^ BBC Press Office
  54. ^ Last Party at the Palace on Channel 4
  55. ^ Dangerous Jobs for Girls on Channel 4
  56. ^ The Words of War on ITV
  57. ^ Decanter Magazine

External links[edit]