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At the age of five, Dickson contracted polio, but he was fortunate enough to make a complete recovery a year later. He attended Worksop College in Nottinghamshire playing Coriolanus in the Junior Play 1966. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and spent several seasons working in repertory theatres in Sheffield, Manchester, Leicester and Oxford among others. In 1975, he made his West End debut in Pinero's The Gay Lord Quex, opposite Dame Judi Dench, which was directed by Sir John Gielgud at the Albery Theatre.
While playing Dean Rebel in Trafford Tanzi at London's Mermaid Theatre, he was spotted by the producers of the NBC mini-series A.D., who cast him in the lead role of Valerius. He spent the following nine months on location in Tunisia working opposite James Mason, Susan Sarandon, Ava Gardner and Ian McShane. Upon his return, he was cast in the eponymous role of James Bigglesworth in the British feature film, Biggles (American title: Biggles: Adventures in Time), which was selected as the Royal Premiere Film in 1986. He went on to star in several mini-series and the cult sci-fi series She-Wolf of London, which was given the alternate title Love & Curses when syndicated in the United States. In 2008, he starred in the film Chasing Chekhov, which won the first BAFTA LA Film Festival Award. He has recently completed work on Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.
He currently resides with his wife Lynda and their two daughters, Lucy and Chloe, in Los Angeles.
TV credits include: I, Claudius, Secret Army, Blake's 7, Airline, Boon, Rockliffe's Babies, She-Wolf of London aka Love & Curses, Dynasty, Matlock, Baywatch, Sliders, Iron Man, Diagnosis: Murder, Alias and Mad Men.
Film credits include Biggles: Adventures in Time and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. He also appeared alongside Barbara Windsor, Joss Ackland & the late Gareth Hunt in the Pet Shop Boys film, It Couldn't Happen Here, Lionheart, David Lynch's Inland Empire, King of the Wind, Ridley Scott's Body of Lies and Charles Dennis's "The Favour of Your Company" and "Atwill".