Born on 28 November 1968 in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, to Peter Waddington and Averill Stubbs, he is the second of two children. Waddington attended Lawns Park Primary School and Intake High School, both in Leeds. He acted in school plays and appeared in several Yorkshire Television productions, among them Emmerdale Farm and “Eighteen Desperate Hours”, sometimes as an extra and sometimes with a few lines of dialogue. Shortly after his eighteenth birthday he won a place at East 15 Acting School in Loughton, Essex. He finished his training in the summer of 1989 and subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, first at Stratford and then at the Barbican and on tour in Newcastle. He was cast in his first film, Edward II, after being recommended to Derek Jarman by fellow actor, Nigel Terry, with whom he had worked previously in a production of “Pericles” at the RSC.