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Simkins at a 2007 book signing
4 February 1956 |
Greenford, Middlesex, England, UK
Life and career
Simkins was born in Greenford, Middlesex, in February 1957, and moved to Brighton, Sussex when he was four after his parents bought a sweet shop. He attended Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School and while still at school performed works by Gilbert and Sullivan in a group called the Wandering Minstrels, which he co-founded in the 1970s.
He is married to the actress Julia Deakin.
Simkins has starred in film and television (including the character of Hugh Reid in Foyle's War) as well as West End theatre productions including Mamma Mia! and Chicago. In 1996, Simkins played Paul in the Sondheim Musical Company directed by Sam Mendes. Simkins played the character Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre for several extended periods. He also played the role of Sam Carmichael in the stage version of Mamma Mia!. Other West End credits include Burn This, The Scarlet Pimpernel, A View from the Bridge, Look Look, Henceforward, Richard III, Donkey's Years, The Old Masters and Mary Stuart. His most recent stage role was Sir Humphrey Appleby in the west end production of Yes Prime Minister.
Michael played Dr Lionel Mead in the TV series Doctors. He has also appeared in A Touch Of Cloth and ITV's police dramas Above Suspicion and The Bill. Films include Topsy-Turvy, V For Vendetta and The Iron Lady. In 2013, he appeared in the BBC series EastEnders.
In addition he is a regular voice on BBC Radio 4 programmes such as BH, Front Row and Quote Unquote. He also writes for the Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Mail on Sunday, and has a regular column in The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi. In 2010 he achieved a lifetime ambition by starring in a Gilbert & Sullivan spectacular for Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night.
His autobiography, What's My Motivation, published in March 2004, describes the highs and lows of a jobbing actor. This work came out of a series of weekly articles published in The Guardian. It was serialised on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week.
In 2007 Simkins published Fatty Batter, a book about his lifelong obsession with cricket. The book tells how, from his earliest awkward days as a fat boy growing up in Brighton to his years running a team of dysfunctional inadequates still chasing the sweet spot, cricket offered him a shelter from life's irksome realities and a place in which to quietly dream. The book was shortlisted for the Costa Book of the Year prize and has sold well in excess of 80,000 copies.
In 2009 he wrote Detour De France: An Englishman in Search of a Continental Education, after he decided to take a break from his day-job as an actor to spend three months discovering his very own Gallic fantasy.
His fourth book, published in 2011 and titled The Last Flannelled Fool, tells of a journey to rediscover the lost soul of English cricket. His next book, due out in July 2013, is a survivor's handbook for acting and actors.
- Simkins, Michael (July 2013). The Rules of Acting. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-195128-3.
- Simkins, Michael (7 May 2009). Detour de France. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-192752-3.
- Simkins, Michael (3 April 2008). Fatty Batter. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-190151-6.
- Simkins, Michael (5 May 2006). What's My Motivation?. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-189749-9.