Wil Johnson

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Not to be confused with the American musician Will Johnson (see Will Johnson (musician))
Wil Johnson
Born Wilbert Johnson
1965 (age 48–49)
Muswell Hill, London, England, UK
Occupation Actor, DJ
Years active 1985–present
Notable work(s) Emmerdale
Waking the Dead
Waterloo Road

Wilbert "Wil" Johnson (born 1965) is an English actor and DJ, who has had notable television roles in Waking the Dead and Babyfather, and on stage in Othello. He played Dom Andrews in Emmerdale from 2012 to 2014.

Early life[edit]

Wil Johnson was born in Muswell Hill and raised in Tottenham.[1] His mother was invested in stocks and his father a worker at UPS.[2] Johnson had no interest in singing while he was in primary school, after he filled in a role for an absent drummer, he changed his mind.[3] He did not go to drama school, but instead went to Mount View (Theatre Drama group and school in Crouch End). He also joined another drama group at 'The Haringey Theatre'. He also went to a dance group and learned ballet, contemporary dancing and break dancing which he preformed for about 7 years. He also attended National Youth Theatre for three years.[1]


Johnson's first professional acting role came in the play Four Seasons at the 1985 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[2] For the rest of the 1980s he made minor appearances in television series such as Casualty and London's Burning, before playing detective Stevie Johnson in the London Weekend Television series Anna Lee. From 1994 to 1995 he played the supporting role of Detective Constable Skelton in Cracker. Between roles, Johnson worked for a local undertakers, driving the hearse and acting as a pallbearer. At one funeral, a mourner recognised him from Cracker and asked for his autograph.[4]

In 2000, he appeared in the BBC One television pilot Waking the Dead, as Detective Sergeant Spencer Jordan, a member of a specialised police unit tasked with investigating "cold cases". Waking the Dead returned for a complete series in 2001, and Johnson has been a main cast member since, until the series ended in 2011. From 2000 to 2002, he appeared as Steve Robinson in Paul Abbott's popular drama series Clocking Off. From 2001 to 2002, he appeared as a main cast member in two series of the BBC's Babyfather.[5]

In 2004, Johnson played the title character in the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company's Othello.

He also played Marcus Kirby in the BBC One school-based drama Waterloo Road. He departed in the second half of series.

In 2010, he appeared in In a Better World (film) as 'Dr. Najeeb'.[6]

He also performed in a play, called ‘The Swallowing Dark’ at the Liverpool Playhouse and Theatre 503. In 2011, he also starred as gangster boss Big Mike in Anuvahood and in 2008 as Big Man in Adulthood

In Nov 2011, Johnson appeared as 'Sean Dolan' a Consultant paediatrician in BBC One's Holby City.[6]

In 2012 it was announced that Johnson would be joining Emmerdale as single father Dominic "Dom" Andrews in the later part of the year. On 23 February 2014, it was announced that he would be leaving the show later this year following the death of his character's daughter, Gemma (Tendai Rinomhota).[7]

In 2013, he appeared as an gangster in a film thriller called Life Outside.[6] He also was a special guest DJ at a 'MonologueSlam' event (actors showcase) at 'The Green Carnation' cocktail lounge, Soho.[8]

In 2013, he also co-produced with Christian Ashaiku a film called "Disorientated Generation" (about a Nigerian man living in London). The film was partially funded by Enfield Council,[1] with a small grant from UK Film Council. The film was originally shot in 2006.[9]


Year Film Role Director / Notes
2008 'Adulthood' Big Man Noel Clarke
2010 'In a Better World' Dr Najeeb Susanne Bier
2010 'Pimp' Byron Robert Cavanah
2011 'Anuvahood' Big Mike Adam Deacon
2013 'Life Outside' (unknown role)


Year TV Series Role Notes
1980 Casualty Bit part
1982 London's Burning Bit part
2010 Anna Lee Stevie Johnson
1994-1995 Cracker Detective Constable Skelton
2000-2011 Waking the Dead Detective Sergeant Spencer Jordan Final episode was on 11 April 2011
2000-2002 Clocking Off Steve Robinson
2001-2002 Babyfather Beres
2010-2011 Waterloo Road Marcus Kirby Series 6
2011-2012 Holby City Sean Dolan Plays a Consultant paediatrician
2012–2014 Emmerdale Dom Andrews Ongoing Role

Personal life[edit]

Johnson has seven children.[2] His eldest daughter (aged 25) lives in New York,[1] as a musician singer songwriter composer while she attends the Manhattan School of Music.[10] He is an advocate of colour-blind casting in British television:

"There are a lot more black and Asian actors who the nation knows by name, which is fantastic [...] [Colour-blind casting] happens regularly in theatre, but in mainstream television it could be implemented a lot more. I'm tentative to use the word 'stereotyping', because a lot of the black roles emerging on television I wouldn't categorise as stereotypical: my role in Waking the Dead certainly wasn't."[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Eluka, Clare (12 October 2013). "Interview Wil Johnson". www.thepromota.co.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Staff (15 May 2009). "Since I started singing on youtube I've thought of nothing else...". Evening Telegraph (Coventry Newspapers): pp. 30–31.
  3. ^ Peake, Jon (30 June 2001). "Dead not buried". The Sun (News Group Newspapers): p. 15.
  4. ^ Dempster, Nigel (20 February 2001). "It's called rehearsing". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers): p. 43.
  5. ^ "Babyfather". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC Drama. October 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "Wil Johnson – (In A Better World – 2010)". mattjhorn.wordpress.com. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (25 October 2012). "'Emmerdale' announces four new characters". digitalspy.co.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Wil Johnson special guest DJ for Welcome 20th July". triforcepromotions.co.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Morris, Davina (25 April 2010). "different face of black British film-making". jamaica-gleaner.com. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Giwa, Kemi (4 May 2010). "Actor: Wil Johnson interview". www.flavourmag.co.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Green, Chris (25 February 2008). "'Why TV makes me depressed'". The Independent (Independent News & Media): p. 4.

External links[edit]