Timothy Spall

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Timothy Spall
Spall in February 2011
Born Timothy Leonard Spall
(1957-02-27) 27 February 1957 (age 57)
Battersea,[1] London, England
Occupation Actor, presenter
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Shane Spall (m. 1981)
Children Pascale, Rafe and Mercedes

Timothy Leonard Spall, OBE (born 27 February 1957) is an English character actor and occasional presenter. Some of his more high-profile roles include Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter film series, Winston Churchill in the The King's Speech (2010), Peter Taylor in The Damned United (2009), Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and his own documentary Timothy Spall: Back at Sea (2010–2012). He also had a lead role in the Palme d'Or winning, five-time Academy Award nominated 1996 film, Secrets & Lies, had a supporting role in The Last Samurai, released in 2003, and played the lead role in Pierrepoint which was released in 2005.

Early life[edit]

Spall, the third of four sons,[2] was born in Battersea, South London. His mother, Sylvia R. (née Leonard), was a hairdresser, and his father, Joseph L. Spall, was a postal worker.[3][4][5][6] He trained at the National Youth Theatre and RADA, where he was awarded the Bancroft Gold Medal as the most promising actor in his year. His brother, Matthew, is studio director of the computer games company Morpheme. Another brother, Richard, is the landlord tenant of the Astolat public house in Guildford.


Spall initially made his mark in theatre performing in productions for Birmingham Rep and, later, the Royal Shakespeare Company including The Merry Wives of Windsor, Three Sisters, Nicholas Nickleby and The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

Following a film debut in Quadrophenia and wider TV exposure playing the awkward Barry Taylor in all four series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Kevin in Outside Edge and as Aubrey the appalling chef in Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet, Spall has since appeared in films such as Crusoe, Secrets & Lies, Shooting the Past, Topsy-Turvy, Vanilla Sky, Rock Star, The Last Samurai, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and The King's Speech. He gained international recognition as Peter Pettigrew ("Wormtail") in the Harry Potter film series. In 1991 he guest-starred in the series 5 Red Dwarf episode Back to Reality. In 1993, Spall was in Rab C. Nesbitt.

On 31 December 1999, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).[7]

Spall performed lead vocals on the song The Devil is an Englishman[8] from the Ken Russell film Gothic (1986), in which Spall portrayed John William Polidori.

Spall filming Enchanted in New York City, March 2007

Spall played the starring role of Albert Pierrepoint in the 2005 film Pierrepoint, which was released as The Last Hangman in the United States. In the 2006 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Spall voiced Phil Collins' manager, Barry Mickelthwaite. In 2007, he starred as Nathaniel in Disney's Enchanted and Beadle Bamford in Tim Burton's production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He also starred as Georgie Godwin in a one-off television drama The Fattest Man in Britain on ITV 1 which aired on 20 December 2009. The drama also featured Bobby Ball, Frances Barber, Aisling Loftus and Jeremy Kyle.

In 2010, he portrayed Winston Churchill in critically acclaimed film The King's Speech for which as a member of the ensemble he was jointly awarded the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Spall reprised the role at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.

In 2012, Spall filmed Wasteland, with actors Matthew Lewis and Vanessa Kirby. The Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, California, will screen Wasteland on Sunday, 28 April 2013 and Monday 29 April 2013.[9] Also in 2012 Spall played Charlie Morgan in the edgy Comes a Bright Day.

Personal life[edit]

Spall is married to Shane and has three children: Pascale (born 1976), Rafe (born 1983), who is also an actor, and Mercedes (born 1985). He lives in Forest Hill,[10] south-east London.[11][12]

In 1996, Spall was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, but has since been in remission.[13] He has said of his illness: "I didn't know what made me ill but stress had something to do with it and the point is now to head off stress at the pass. It made me aware of things and become more selective. I am less worried about employment. I really do my homework so I am not getting stressed on the set because I don't know what I'm doing."

He is the owner of a Dutch barge that he and his wife have been sailing around the British Isles as part of a BBC Four TV series Timothy Spall: Back at Sea.[14]


Title Year Role Notes
Quadrophenia 1979 Harry the Projectionist
Missionary, TheThe Missionary 1982 Parswell
Home Sweet Home 1982 Gordon Leach Television film; working with Mike Leigh for the first time
Oliver Twist 1982 1st Constable Television film
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet 1983–2004 Barry Taylor Television programme
Bride, TheThe Bride 1985 Paulus
Dutch Girls 1985 Lyndon Baines Jellicoe
Gothic 1986 Dr. John William Polidori
Body Contact 1987 Paul
Dream Demon 1987 Peck
To Kill a Priest 1988 Igor
Crusoe 1989 Reverend Milne
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Hodkins, Bush Pilot
Sheltering Sky, TheThe Sheltering Sky 1990 Eric Lyle
1871 1990 Ramborde
Red Dwarf 1991 Andy (video game operator) Television programme, episode "Back to Reality"
Life Is Sweet 1991 Aubrey, Regret Rien Owner
Frank Stubbs Promotes 1993 Frank Stubbs Television programme
Rab C Nesbitt 1993 Cell Mate Television programme
Outside Edge 1994 Kevin Costello Television programme
Secrets & Lies 1996 Maurice Purley
Hamlet 1996 Rosencrantz
Neville's Island 1998 Gordon Television programme
Our Mutual Friend 1998 Mr. Venus
Still Crazy 1998 David 'Beano' Baggot
Wisdom of Crocodiles, TheThe Wisdom of Crocodiles 1998 Inspector Healey
Topsy-Turvy 1999 Richard Temple
Shooting the Past 1999 Oswald Bates Nominated — British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
The Clandestine Marriage 1999 Sterling
Love's Labour's Lost 2000 Don Armado
Vatel 2000 Gourville
Chicken Run 2000 Nick Voice
Chucklevision 2000 Hot Dog Man Television programme
Old Man Who Read Love Stories, TheThe Old Man Who Read Love Stories 2001 Mayor Luis Agalla
Perfect Strangers 2001 Irving Television programme
Lucky Break 2001 Cliff Gumbell Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Vanilla Sky 2001 Thomas Tipp
Intimacy 2001 Andy
Rock Star 2001 Mats
Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise 2001 Tommy Rag
Ivor the Invisible 2001 Dad Television programme
All or Nothing 2002 Phil
Bodily Harm 2002 Mitchel Greenfield Television programme
Nicholas Nickleby 2002 Charles Cheeryble National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
When Love Speaks 2002 Shakespeare's "Sonnet 3"
Last Samurai, TheThe Last Samurai 2003 Simon Graham
My House in Umbria 2003 Quinty
Gettin' Square 2004 Darren 'Dabba' Barrington Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events 2004 Mr. Poe
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004 Peter Pettigrew
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2005 Peter Pettigrew
Cherished 2005 Terry Cannings Television film
Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle 2005 Mr. Harvey Television film
Pierrepoint 2005 Albert Pierrepoint Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year
Street, TheThe Street 2006–09 Eddie McEvoy Television programme
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories 2006 Barry Mickelthwaite Video game
Mysterious Creatures 2006 Bill Ainscow Television film
Death Defying Acts 2007 Sugarman
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 2007 Peter Pettigrew uncredited
Enchanted 2007 Nathaniel
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 2007 Beadle Bamford
A Room with a View)A Room with a View 2007 Mr. Emerson Television programme
Oliver Twist 2007 Fagin Television serial
Appaloosa 2008 Phil Olson
Damned United, TheThe Damned United 2009 Peter Taylor
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 2009 Peter Pettigrew
Heartless 2009 George Morgan
Desert Flower 2009 Terry Donaldson
From Time to Time 2009 Boggis
Gunrush 2009 Doug Beckett Television programme
Fattest Man in Britain, TheThe Fattest Man in Britain 2009 Georgie Godwin Television programme
Alice in Wonderland 2010 Bayard Hamar, the Bloodhound Voice
Wake Wood 2010 Arthur
Jackboots on Whitehall 2010 Winston Churchill Voice
Reuniting the Rubins 2010 Lenny Rubins
King's Speech, TheThe King's Speech 2010 Winston Churchill
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 2010 Peter Pettigrew
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 2011 Peter Pettigrew Archive footage
Nominated—Scream Award for Best Cast
Won—People's Choice Award for Favorite Ensemble Movie Cast
Timothy Spall: Back at Sea 2010–12 Himself Television series
Assassin's Bullet (also Sofia) 2012 Dr. Aaron Kahn
Comes A Bright Day 2012 Charlie
Upside Down 2012 Bob Boruchowitz
Ginger & Rosa 2012 Mark
Love Bite 2012 Sid
Boy 2012 Man Internet film, featured on YouTube released for 2012 Olympics
Syndicate, TheThe Syndicate 2012 Bob Davies 5 part Drama Series
Nominated – National Television Award for Best Drama Performance
Sinbad 2012 Anicetus / Death Television series
Wasteland 2012 D.I. West Feature film
Blandings 2013 - 2014 Lord Clarence Emsworth BBC television series
Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun 2013 Narrator Channel 5 television documentary series


  1. ^ "Find my past". Findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Smith, Julian Llewellyn. "Timothy Spall: A bloke for all seasons." The Independent. 20 August 2001.[dead link]
  3. ^ Deborah Ross (12 January 2008). "Timothy Spall: Lucky Tim – Features – Films". The Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Timothy Spall: Victim of his own success – Profiles – People – The Independent". News.independent.co.uk. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "You'll know the face". www.smh.com.au. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "timedetectives.co.uk" (PDF). Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "ENTERTAINMENT | Spall and Steadman collect OBEs". BBC News. 13 June 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  8. ^ liner notes from the 2009 reissue of the Thomas Dolby album The Flat Earth. Dolby composed the score for Gothic.
  9. ^ ”Wasteland Newport Beach Film Festival 2013 Screenings”
  10. ^ Lynn Barber. "Timothy Spall: Cruise, characters and chemotherapy | Film | The Observer". Film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Stuart Jeffries. "Stuart Jeffries talks to Timothy Spall | Film | The Guardian". Film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Timothy Spall goes down to the sea". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "/ Arts / Film & Television – Nothing to lose, everything to enjoy". Ft.com. 8 April 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "BBC News – Actor Timothy Spall rescued by Sheerness lifeboat". bbc.co.uk. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 

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