Anthony Head

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Anthony Head
Head, Anthony Stewart (2007).jpg
Head at the 2007 Scream Awards.
Born (1954-02-20) 20 February 1954 (age 64)[1]
Camden Town, London, England[1]
Education Sunbury Grammar School
Occupation Actor
Years active 1978–present
Partner(s) Sarah Fisher (1984–present)[1]
Children Emily Head
Daisy Head
Relatives Murray Head (brother)
Website anthonyhead.org

Anthony Stewart Head (born 20 February 1954) is an English actor and musician. He rose to fame in the UK following his role in the Gold Blend couple television advertisements for Nescafé Gold Blend, and is known for his roles as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Uther Pendragon in Merlin, the Prime Minister in Little Britain, and as Herc Shipwright in BBC Radio 4's Cabin Pressure.

Early life[edit]

Head was born in Camden Town, London. His father was Seafield Laurence Stewart Murray Head (1919–2009), a documentary filmmaker and a founder of Verity Films, and his mother is actress Helen Shingler. They had married in 1944 in Watford. His older brother is actor and singer Murray Head. Both brothers have played the part of Freddie Trumper in the musical Chess at the Prince Edward Theatre, London, with Murray a part of the original cast in 1986, whilst Anthony was in the final cast in 1989.

Career[edit]

Head was educated at Sunbury Grammar School and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).[1]

In discussing why he chose acting as a career, in an interview in 2013 he said that 'When it's in your family, it's a choice, it's there. It's not a jump to say: 'I want to act.' When I was six I was in a little show my mother's friends organised, playing the Emperor in The Emperor's New Clothes. I remember thinking: 'This is the business, this is what I want to do.'[2]

His first role was in the musical Godspell; this led to roles in television on both BBC and ITV, one of his earliest being an appearance in the series Enemy at the Door (ITV, 1978–1980). In the early 1980s he provided backing vocals for the band Red Box.[3] In the late 1980s, he appeared in a storyline series of twelve coffee commercials with Sharon Maughan for Nescafé Gold Blend. (A version made for North America featured the American brand name Taster's Choice.) The soap opera nature of the commercials brought him wider recognition, along with a part in the Children's ITV comedy drama Woof!

Head played Frank N. Furter in the 1990–91 West End revival of The Rocky Horror Show at London's Piccadilly Theatre, with Craig Ferguson as Brad Majors. In 1991 Head's rendition of "Sweet Transvestite" was released as a single by Chrysalis Records. Head played the role again in the summer of 1995 at London's Duke of York's Theatre, a 3 May 2006 tribute show at London's Royal Court Theatre, and a 14 October 2000 production at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.[4]

Success on the stage and a number of brief appearances on American television, such as in the short-lived VR.5, led to accepting the role of Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997. For this role he lived full-time in the United States during the late 1990s and early 2000s, although his family continued to live in the UK. Head left the regular cast of Buffy during the show's sixth season and subsequently appeared several times as a guest star through the conclusion of the series. In many interviews at the time, Head said he left the show to spend more time with his family, having realised that he had spent most of the year outside Britain, which added up to more than half his youngest daughter's life.

Early to mid-2000s[edit]

In 2002, he co-starred in the BBC Two television series Manchild, a show revolving around four friends approaching their fifties who try to recapture their fading youth and vitality while dealing with life as 'mature' men. He also appeared in guest roles in various other dramas, such as Silent Witness, Murder Investigation Team, and Spooks. He appeared in the 4th series of the British hit sitcom My Family in 2003 playing one of the main character's (Abi's) father in the episode "May the Best Man Win". He was featured as the Prime Minister in the popular BBC comedy sketch show Little Britain from 2003 to 2005, and guest starred in several episodes of the 2004 series of popular drama Monarch of the Glen.

Outside television work, he has released an album of songs with musician George Sarah entitled Music for Elevators. Early in his career he provided vocals for some of the tracks on the Chris de Burgh album The Getaway and the reading from The Tempest on Don't Pay the Ferryman.

In 2001, he appeared in a special webcast version of Doctor Who, a story called Death Comes to Time, in which he played the Time Lord Valentine. He also guest starred in the Excelis Trilogy, a series of Doctor Who audio adventures produced by Big Finish Productions, and in 2005 narrated the two-part documentary Project: WHO?, detailing the television revival of the series, for BBC Radio 2 (and released to CD in 2006 by BBC Audio). In April 2006 he appeared as a school's alien headmaster, Mr. Finch, in an episode of the second series entitled "School Reunion". Soon after, he recorded an abridged audio book of the Doctor Who novel The Nightmare of Black Island by Mike Tucker. He narrated the third and fourth series of Doctor Who Confidential. He also voiced the character Baltazar, Scourge of the Universe (an evil space pirate searching for the Infinite), in the first ever animated Doctor Who special, "The Infinite Quest". Head had previously auditioned for the role of the Eighth Doctor for the 1996 television film, but lost out to Paul McGann.

In early 2006, he appeared in an episode of Hotel Babylon, a BBC One drama set in a hotel, in which he played a suicidal man who recovers and lands a music deal. The same year he filmed a pilot for a new show entitled Him and Us, loosely based on the life of openly gay rock star Elton John, for American TV channel ABC, co-starring Kim Cattrall. In July he appeared as Captain Hook at the Children's Party at the Palace, a live pantomime staged in the grounds of Buckingham Palace as part of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday celebrations. In October 2006, he voiced Ponsonby, leader of MI6, in Destroy All Humans! 2.

2000s[edit]

At Comic-Con International in 2007, Joss Whedon said talks were almost completed for a 90-minute Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Ripper, as a BBC special,[5] with both Head and the BBC on board.

Head with Paris Hilton and Bill Moseley at the 2007 Scream Awards.

In 2007, he portrayed Stockard Channing's gay brother in the English film Sparkle and appeared as Mr Colubrine in the ITV1 comedy drama Sold. Head also appeared as Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion.[6] Head also narrated a BBC behind-the-scenes programme for the American television series Heroes, Heroes Unmasked. He has also been seen as Maurice Riley in the BBC Drama The Invisibles alongside Warren Clarke.

After seeing Anthony Head in the Buffy musical episode, "Once More With Feeling", Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman cast him in his 21st century rock opera, Repo! The Genetic Opera.[7] Head portrays an organ repossessor, employed by a fictional dystopian medical firm; "Anthony Head was my number one choice for Repo Man from the very beginning", said Bousman in an interview[7] shortly before the film's release on 7 November 2008. The film also stars Sarah Brightman and Paris Hilton.

Head has also performed for radio, taking two of the lead roles—arch-villain Mr Gently Benevolent, and his descendant, journalist Jeremy Sourquill—in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series, Bleak Expectations (five series, 2007–12). He also had a significant recurring role in the last two series (2011–13) of the Radio 4 sitcom Cabin Pressure as Hercules Shipwright, a romantic interest for the airline CEO played by Stephanie Cole, and returned for show's two-part finale in 2014.

Head was part of the regular cast of the BBC drama series Merlin, about the mythical wizard Merlin.[8] Head played King Uther Pendragon, the father of Prince Arthur.

2010s[edit]

Head also provides voice-over work in the Nintendo Wii video game, Flip's Twisted World, developed by Frozen North Productions.[9]

For his acting in the film Despite the Falling Snow he won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 2016 Prague Independent Film Festival.[10]

In July 2018 Head was added to the cast of long-running BBC radio soap-opera The Archers, playing Robin Fairbrother, member of a family with several past and current connections to the Archers themselves.

Personal life[edit]

Head lives with his partner Sarah Fisher and has two daughters, Emily, born in December 1988, and Daisy, born in 1991, both of whom are actresses.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Lady Chatterley's Lover Anton
1987 A Prayer for the Dying Rupert
1988 La Collina del diavolo Michael Toyle
1992 Woof Again! Why Me? Direct-to-video release
2003 I'll Be There Sam Gervasi
2004 Fat Slags Victor
2005 Framing Frankie Dennis Folley
2005 Imagine Me & You Ned
2006 Scoop Detective
2006 Little Britain Live Prime Minister Direct-to-video release
2007 Sparkle Tony
2007 The Magic Door George Direct-to-video release
2007 Amelia and Michael Michael
2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Gentleman in Street Uncredited role
Cameo appearance
2008 Repo! The Genetic Opera Nathan Wallace/Repo Man
2011 The Great Ghost Rescue Prime Minister
2011 The Inbetweeners Movie Will's Father
2011 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Benedict
2011 The Iron Lady Geoffrey Howe
2013 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Chiron
2013 Underdogs Adult Flash
2014 Flying Home Colin's father
2015 Convenience Suicidal man
2016 A Street Cat Named Bob Nigel Bowen
2016 Despite the Falling Snow Old Misha
2018 Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Alfred Pennyworth Voice role
Direct-to-video release

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1978 Enemy at the Door Clive Martel Episode: "Steel Hand from the Sea"
1978 Lillie William Le Breton ITV miniseries
1978 Accident Simon Lovell Episode: "The Figures Man"
1979 The Mallens Weir Episode: 1.1
Episode: 1.2
1979 Secret Army Hanslick Episode: "A Safe Place"
1980 Love in a Cold Climate Tony Kroesig Thames Television
1981 Crown Court Timothy Preston-Berry Episode: "Hen Party"
1981 Bergerac Bill Episode: "See You in Moscow"
1984–88 The Comic Strip Presents... Ricki
Recording Studio Engineer
Episodes: "Slags", "More Bad News"
1985 C.A.T.S. Eyes James Sinden Episode: "Goodbye, Jenny Wren"
1985 Howards' Way Phil Norton 5 episodes
1987 Boon Richard Rathbone Episode: "Day of the Yoke"
1988 Pulaski Dudley Fielding Episode: "The Price of Fame"
1988 Rockliffe's Babies Chris Patterson Episode: "A Trip to the Zoo"
1991 Woof! Bentley Episode: 3.7
Episode: 3.8
1993 The Detectives Simon Episode: "Acting Constables"
1993 Highlander: The Series Allan Rothwood Episode: "Nowhere to Run"
1994 Royce Pitlock Showtime television film
1995 VR.5 Oliver Sampson Episodes: 5–13
1995 Ghostbusters of East Finchley Terry Episode: 1.5
1995 NYPD Blue Nigel Gibson Episode: "Cold Heaters"
1996 Roger Roger Jimmy Price Television film
1997 Jonathan Creek Adam Klaus Episode: "The Wrestler's Tomb"
1997–2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rupert Giles 121 episodes; (main 1997–2001, Special Guest 2002–03)
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
1999 Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place Dr Staretski Episode: "Two Guys, a Girl and a Mother's Day"
2000 Best Actress Colin Truemans E! television film
2001 Silent Witness Henry Hutton Episode: "Two Below Zero"
2002 Spooks Peter Salter Episode: "Traitor's Gate"
2002 Fillmore! Professor Third Episode: "Red Robins Don't Fly", "A Cold Day at X"
2002–03 Manchild James 15 episodes
2003 My Family Richard Harper Episode: "May the Best Man Win"
2003 And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself William Benton HBO television film
2003 Reversals Andrew Barton ITV television film
2003–06 Little Britain Michael Stevens 23 episodes
2004 True Horror with Anthony Head Presenter Episodes: 1–5
2004 New Tricks Sir Tim Episode: 1.2
2004 Monarch of the Glen Chester Grant Episodes: 6.7–6.10
2005 Murder Investigation Team Stewart Masters Episode: 2.2
2005 Rose and Maloney David Terry Episode: 2.2
2006 Hotel Babylon Mr Machin Episode: 1.2
2006 Doctor Who Mr. Finch Episode: "School Reunion"
2006 Children's Party at the Palace Captain Hook BBC television special
2006 Him and Us Max Flash Unsold television pilot
2007 Comic Relief 2007: The Big One Various Television special
2007 Persuasion Sir Walter Elliot Television film
2007 Totally Doctor Who Baltazar Voice role in The Infinite Quest
2007 Sensitive Skin Tom Paine Episodes: "The Signals", "Here I Am"
2007 Sold Mr Colubrine 6 episodes
2007–08 Heroes Unmasked Narrator Series 1 & 2
2007–09 Doctor Who Confidential Narrator 30 episodes
2007–09 Little Britain Prime Minister 23 episodes
2008–12 Merlin Uther Pendragon 43 episodes
2008 The Invisibles Maurice Riley BBC One series
2009 Free Agents Stephen Channel 4 TV series
2011 Free Agents Stephen NBC TV series (US Remake of the Channel 4 series of the same name)
2013 Dancing on the Edge Donaldson BBC Two series
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Corningham Episode: "U-KO'ed"
2013 Warehouse 13 Paracelsus 3 episodes
2013 You, Me & Them Ed Walker UKTV Gold series
2014–15 Dominion David Whele Main cast
2015 Galavant Galavant's Father[11] Episode: "My Cousin Izzy"
2015–16 Yonderland Nigel 2 episodes
2017 Still Star-Crossed Lord Silvestro Capulet Series regular
2017 Shadowhunters Voice of Angel Raziel Episode: "Beside Still Water"
2018 The Split Oscar Defoe[12][better source needed] 6 Episodes

Radio[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2007-2012 Bleak Expectations Gently Benevolent & Jeremy Sourquill
2010 Ghost Stories by Walter de la Mare The Reader First broadcast on BBC Radio 7 – Mon 27 December 2010 Subsequent repeats on Radio 4 Extra

Episode 4 of 5: "A Recluse"

2011–2014 Cabin Pressure Herc Shipwright Episodes: "Newcastle", "Ottery St Mary", "Rotterdam", "Vaduz", "Yverdon-Les-Bains", "Zürich, Part 1", "Zürich, Part 2"
2012 Clayton Grange Saunders
2013 Neverwhere Mr Croup
2018 The Archers Robin Fairbrother

Stage[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2018 The Muppets Take the O2[13] Himself Head attempts to read William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", but joins a dance party with Pepe the King Prawn instead; he also joined the cast for a rendition of "Rainbow Connection"

Music[edit]

  • Face in the window – EP (1983 album) with his band Two way
  • "Sweet Transvestite" (1991 single) Chrysalis Records, 7″ single, 12″ single, CD single, and shaped picture CD[4]
  • Music for Elevators (2002 album) in collaboration with George Sarah
  • "Once More With Feeling" (2001 album) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Cry (2012 single) written by Marina Florance for the Oldie Composers Competition
  • Staring at the Sun (2014 album) A solo album of both covers and original work[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Official Anthony Stewart Head FAQ". The Official Anthony Head Site. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2008. 
  2. ^ "Anthony Head: Why I'm happy Eve Myles is my 'girlfriend'". Metro newspaper. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "LewisSlade.com". lewisslade.com. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. 
  4. ^ a b McHorse, Shawn (1997–2011). "Anthony Stewart Head". RockyMusic. 
  5. ^ "Television News, Reviews and TV Show Recaps – HuffPost TV". The Huffington Post. 
  6. ^ "Persuasion 2007 Casting News". AustenBlog. 
  7. ^ a b "Darren Lynn Bousman: Repossessed". SuicideGirls.com. 7 November 2008. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Richard Wilson and Anthony Head lead cast in Merlin, a fantasy drama for BBC One". bbc.co.uk. 17 March 2008. Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Gladney, Mitch (10 August 2010). "Flip's Twisted World Developer Diary: The Story of Flip's Twisted World". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "A trio of awards for Despite The Falling Snow". Enlightenment Productions. 24 August 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  11. ^ "Disney – ABC Press". 
  12. ^ The Split (TV series)
  13. ^ "David Tennant, Kylie Minogue, Adam Hills Join The Muppets" by Bruce Dessau July 6, 2018
  14. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Staring-At-The-Sun/dp/B001EDB1AU

External links[edit]

Articles and interviews