Anthony Head

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Anthony Head
Head, Anthony Stewart (2007).jpg
Head at the 2007 Scream Awards
Anthony Stewart Head

(1954-02-20) 20 February 1954 (age 69)
Camden Town, London, England[1]
EducationSunbury Grammar School
Alma materLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active1977–present
PartnerSarah Fisher (1982–present)[1]
RelativesMurray Head (brother)

Anthony Stewart Head (born 20 February 1954)[1] is an English actor and singer. Primarily a performer in musical theatre, he rose to fame in the UK in the 1980s following his role in the Gold Blend couple television advertisements for Nescafé, which led to major roles in several television series. He is best known for his roles as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), the Prime Minister in Little Britain (2003–2006), and Uther Pendragon in Merlin (2008–2012), as well as voicing 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 (20 August 1919 – 22 March 2009), a documentary filmmaker and a founder of Verity Films, and his mother was actress Helen Shingler (29 August 1919 – 8 October 2019); they married in 1944 in Watford. His older brother is actor/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, while Anthony was in the final cast in 1989.[citation needed]

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]


1970s to 1990s[edit]

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] He was featured as well on the album Face in the Window (1983) by Two Way.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]In 1985 Head appeared as the character Phil Norton in Howards' Way as one of Lynne Howard's (Tracey Childs) love interests.


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 characters' (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.

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,[7] with both Head and the BBC on board, though this has not come to fruition. 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.[8] 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.

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

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.[9] 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[9] 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.[10] Head played King Uther Pendragon, the father of Prince Arthur.


Head also provided voice-over work for the Nintendo Wii video game Flip's Twisted World, developed by Frozen North Productions.[11] For his acting in the film Despite the Falling Snow he won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 2016 Prague Independent Film Festival.[12] 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 in Bath, Somerset with his partner, Sarah Fisher. They have two daughters, Emily and Daisy, both of whom are actresses.[1]



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 Short
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 Underdogs Adult Flash Voice role
2013 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Chiron
2013 Convenience Barry
2014 Flying Home Mr. Montgomery
2016 Despite the Falling Snow Old Misha
2016 A Street Cat Named Bob Jack Bowen
2018 Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Alfred Pennyworth Voice role
Direct-to-video release
2021 School's Out Forever Headmaster
2021 Let the Wrong One In Henry
TBA Upgraded Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Enemy at the Door Clive Martel 2 episodes
1978 Lillie William Le Breton ITV miniseries
1978 Accident Simon Lovell Episode: "The Figures Man"
1979 Jackanory Playhouse Spare Episode: "The Christmas Cuckoo"
1979 The Mallens Weir 2 episodes
1979 Secret Army Hanslick Episode: "A Safe Place"
1980 Love in a Cold Climate Tony Kroesig 3 episodes
1981 Crown Court Timothy Preston-Berry Episode: "Hen Party"
1981 Bergerac Bill Episode: "See You in Moscow"
1981 BBC2 Playhouse Chief Hook Episode: "The Grudge Fight"
1984, 1988 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"
1989 Hard Cases DC 'Spider' Webb Episode #2.6
1991 Woof! Bentley 2 episodes
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 10 episodes
1995 The Ghostbusters of East Finchley Terry 2 episodes
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 role (seasons 1–5); recurring role (seasons 6–7)
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 Voice role
Episodes: "Red Robins Don't Fly", "A Cold Day at X"
2002–2003 Manchild James 15 episodes
2003, 2005 My Family Richard Harper / Himself 2 episodes
2003 And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself William Benton HBO television film
2003 Reversals Andrew Barton ITV television film
2003–2006 Little Britain Michael Stevens 23 episodes
2004 True Horror with Anthony Head Presenter 5 episodes
2004 New Tricks Sir Tim Episode: "Painting on Loan"
2004 Monarch of the Glen Chester Grant 4 episodes
2005 Murder Investigation Team Stewart Masters Episode #2.2
2005 Rose and Maloney David Terry Episode: "Annie Johnson"
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
2007–2008 Heroes Unmasked Narrator Series 1 & 2
2007–2009 Doctor Who Confidential Narrator 30 episodes
2008 Freezing Lindsay Posner Episode #1.2
2008–2012 Merlin Uther Pendragon 43 episodes
2008 The Invisibles Maurice Riley BBC One series
2009 Free Agents Stephen Caudwell Channel 4 TV series
2011–2012 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"
2013–2014 Warehouse 13 Paracelsus 4 episodes
2013–2015 You, Me & Them Ed Walker UKTV Gold series
2014–2015 Dominion David Whele Main cast
2015 Galavant Galavant's Father[13] Episode: "My Cousin Izzy"
2015–2016 Yonderland Nigel Maddox 3 episodes
2016 Drunk History Admiral Horatio Nelson, Alexander Graham Bell 2 episodes
2016 Guilt James Lahue 5 episodes
2017 Still Star-Crossed Lord Silvestro Capulet Series regular
2017 Shadowhunters Angel Raziel Voice role
Episode: "Beside Still Water"
2018 Girlfriends John 5 episodes
2018 The Split Oscar Defoe 6 episodes
2018 Vanity Fair Lord Steyne 3 episodes
2019 Jack Ryan Rupert Thorne 2 episodes
2019–2022 Motherland Bill 4 episodes
2020 The Stranger Ed Price 8 episodes
2020 The Big Night In Michael Stevens TV special
2020 Robot Chicken Rupert Giles / Albus Dumbledore Voice role
Episode: "Endgame"
2020–2023 Ted Lasso Rupert Mannion Recurring role (season 1); guest (season 2); regular (season 3)
2021 Back Charismatic Mike Episode #2.2
2021 Feel Good George Senior 2 episodes
2021 The Canterville Ghost Sir Simon de Canterville 4 episodes
2022 Bridgerton Lord Sheffield Episode: "An Unthinkable Fate"


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


Year Title Role Notes
1985–1986 Yonadab[14] Absalom
1990–1991 The Rocky Horror Show[15] Dr. Frank-N-Furter As part of the 1990-91 West End revival production at the Piccadilly Theatre
1994 Rope[16] Rupert Cadell
2005 Otherwise Engaged[17] Jeff Golding Directed by Simon Curtis, also starring Richard E. Grant and David Bamber
2010 Six Degrees of Separation[18] Flan Kittredge Also starring Lesley Manville and Obi Abili
2015 Ticking[19] Edward (Simon's father)
2017 Love In Idleness[20] Sir John Fletcher Also starring Eve Best
2018 The Muppets Take the O2[21] 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".

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Destroy All Humans! 2 Ponsonby [22]



  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. ^ "". Archived from the original on 27 October 2007.
  4. ^ "Albums". Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  5. ^ a b McHorse, Shawn (1997–2011). "Anthony Stewart Head". RockyMusic.
  6. ^ Palmer, Katie (3 December 2020). "Giles Buffy Actor: Why did Anthony Stewart Head really leave as Watcher Giles?". Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Television News, Reviews and TV Show Recaps – HuffPost TV". The Huffington Post.
  8. ^ "Persuasion 2007 Casting News". AustenBlog. 29 August 2006.
  9. ^ a b "Darren Lynn Bousman: Repossessed". 7 November 2008. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
  10. ^ "Richard Wilson and Anthony Head lead cast in Merlin, a fantasy drama for BBC One". 17 March 2008. Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2008.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "A trio of awards for Despite The Falling Snow". Enlightenment Productions. 24 August 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Disney General Entertainment Press – Disney General Entertainment Press". Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  14. ^ "Production of Yonadab". Theatricalia. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  15. ^ David Hutchison (11 October 2015). "Anthony Head: 'We're the only artists in the world who don't practise'". The Stage. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  16. ^ Paul Taylor (13 April 1994). "THEATRE / Murder most horrid: Paul Taylor finds chilling parallels in Keith Baxter's production of Patrick Hamilton's Rope at Wyndham's". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  17. ^ Michael Billington (1 November 2005). "Otherwise Engaged". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  18. ^ Dominic Cavendish (23 December 2009). "Six Degrees of Separation at the Old Vic". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  19. ^ Paul Taylor (15 October 2015). "Ticking, Trafalgar Studios, theatre review: Let's just get this execution on the road". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  20. ^ Sarah Crompton (20 March 2017). "Review: Love in Idleness (Menier Chocolate Factory)". Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  21. ^ Bruce Dessau (6 July 2018). "News: David Tennant, Kylie Minogue, Adam Hills Join The Muppets". Beyond The Joke. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Anthony Head (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 25 September 2021. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Amazon. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Articles and interviews