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Christopher Timothy

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Christopher Timothy
Timothy in 2012
Born (1940-10-14) 14 October 1940 (age 83)
Alma materRoyal Central School of Speech and Drama
Occupation(s)Actor and narrator
Years active1964–present
Susan Boys
(m. 1965, divorced)
Annie Swatton
(m. 1982)
RelativesAndrew Timothy (father)

Christopher Timothy (born 14 October 1940) is a Welsh actor and narrator. He is known for his roles as James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small, Mac McGuire in the BBC soap opera Doctors, and Ted Murray in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.

Early life[edit]

Timothy was born in Bala, North Wales in 1940.[1] He is the son of Anglican priest and BBC announcer Andrew Timothy and his first wife, Gwladys Marian nee Hailstone.[2][3]

When aged five Timothy moved with his family to south London, and at thirteen to Shrewsbury, where he attended Kingsland Grange Preparatory School and Priory Grammar School for Boys,[4] and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.[1] After leaving school and until his first paid acting engagements he worked in a Shrewsbury hat shop.[4]


Timothy's first professional stage engagement was in the play Chips with Everything in London and New York, in the role of a RAF military policeman for more than six months.[4] In the 1960s, Timothy was part of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre company and appeared in such productions as The Master Builder, Juno and the Paycock and Olivier's Othello.[5] Timothy's television career started with the 1969 series Take Three Girls, and he went on to appear in UFO (1970 episode "The Psychobombs"), Doctor at Large in 1971, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em in 1973 and Murder Most English: A Flaxborough Chronicle in 1977 before winning the role of Herriot.

He played the role of James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small (1978 TV series) for the full 90 episodes, from 1978 until 1990.[6] Timothy later recalled meeting the author, Alf Wight, who had "a soft, lilting Scottish accent – though I was told to keep my speech neutral to retain the universality of the part. Which I thought was complete bollocks".[7]

His film career included roles in Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967), Alfred The Great (1969), The Virgin Soldiers (1969), Spring and Port Wine (1970), The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970), Up the Chastity Belt (1971), and the sex comedy Eskimo Nell (1975).

In 1980, he played Jesus Christ in the York Mystery Plays. He continued work as James Herriot until 1990.

In 2000, he was cast as Mac McGuire in the BBC soap opera Doctors staying in the series for six years, and directing some of the episodes.

In 2004, he made an appearance in Casualty as the murderer of long-standing character Finlay Newton. He also appeared as a special guest on ITV1 drama The Bill, which was aired on New Years Day 2009. More recently he has appeared in Lewis (ITV1) in the episode "Wild Justice", The Grapes of Wrath, All the Fun of the Fair, Haunting Julia and Casualty (2014).

He is the son of BBC announcer Andrew Timothy, and has done regular voice work himself including taking his father's place as the Announcer for the Goon Again Show in 2001 marking the 50th anniversary of The Goon Show (Andrew had been the announcer for the show back in the early 1950s). He played the Announcer role on The Kinks' 1974 double album, Preservation Act 2.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2000 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel on the set of Doctors at the BBC's Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham.[8]

He voiced and appeared in numerous television commercials for The Sun newspaper in the 1970s when Rupert Murdoch had entered British newspaper publishing; these were extremely unusual commercials for the time in the level of energy and even aggression evident in Timothy's delivery. As the person in these advertisements, he became a character, a role, in the 2017 stage production of Ink, a play about Australian Rupert Murdoch's start on Fleet Street in British newspaper publishing with The Sun. Timothy was played by Jack Holden in the Almeida opening[9] and by Andrew Durand[10] in the Broadway production. The play was directed by Rupert Goold, at the Almeida Theatre, London, and later moved to the West End, and then performed on Broadway.[11]

He appeared in BBC Radio's Just a Minute in 1988 and 1989. He was also used in the marketing material for Dignity plc, primarily for their prepaid funeral plans.

In 2008 Timothy took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about his Welsh family history. In 2011, he played himself in the audio drama We are not the BBC[12] written by Susan Casanove and produced by the Wireless Theatre Company.

He returned to theatre in March 2013 in The Living Room.[13] In 2014 he played Inspector Hubbard in the UK tour of the stage thriller Dial M for Murder.[14]

In April 2017, it was announced that he would be joining the BBC soap opera EastEnders as regular character Ted Murray, in which he made his last appearance on 27 September 2019.[15] Timothy appeared with Peter Davison in two series of Great British Car Journeys for Channel 4 in 2018 and 2019.[16] He also appeared in Midsomer Murder S21E1 “The Point of Balance” as Ned Barnaby. In February 2020 Timothy appeared in Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators as Major Terence Benedick episode #3.3 "The Sticking Place".

In April 2020 Timothy appeared in ITV Series Kate & Koji (Series 1, episode 5) When Kate's flashy ex-husband Dennis arrives in town with his much younger wife, Kate feigns an attachment to Koji

Timothy had narrated the first nine series of Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet which features veterinarians Julian Norton and Peter Wright. He had hoped to do so for the tenth series as well, but was self-isolating owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. Peter Davison was asked to take on the role, because his home was equipped with a recording studio, allowing him to complete the project in spite of the lockdown. Timothy was gracious in his comments. "I’m so sorry not to be able to do the voiceover for The Yorkshire Vet right now, but I can’t tell you all how delighted I am that Peter is taking over. He most definitely would be my first choice while I’m in lockdown!"[17][18]

Timothy had also narrated the audio books of the James Herriot series, written by veterinarian Alf Wight who practised for decades in Thirsk.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Timothy has been married twice; first to Susan Boys, with whom he had four sons and two daughters. During the 1978–1980 first run of All Creatures Great and Small, he had an affair with his screen wife, Carol Drinkwater.[20] He has been married to Annie Veronica Swatton since 1982, and they have one daughter.[21] He is a supporter of National League football club Hartlepool United. Timothy learned to play violin whilst at school and plays occasionally in a local amateur orchestra although he described his ability as moderate (Right Notes May 1992).



Year Title Role Notes
1965 Othello Cypriot Officer
1968 Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush Spike
1969 Alfred the Great Cedric
The Virgin Soldiers Cpl. Brook
1970 Spring and Port Wine Joe
The Mind of Mr. Soames T.V. Camera Operator
1972 Up the Chastity Belt Vendor
1975 Eskimo Nell Harris Tweedle


Year Title Role Notes
1967 Boy Meets Girl Cowper Episode: "Long After Summer"
1967 Theatre 625 Andreyushkin Episode: "The Single Passion"
1967 Much Ado About Nothing Server TV film
1968 Half Hour Story Cave Episode: "The Money Spider"
1969 Thirty-Minute Theatre Andrea Episode: "These Men Are Dangerous: Mussolini"
1969 BBC Play of the Month Cinna Episode: "Julius Caesar"
1969 Galton and Simpson Comedy Tony Episode: "Friends in High Places"
1969 World in Ferment Various Episode: #1.6
1970 BBC Play of the Month Fedotik Episode: "The Three Sisters"
1970 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Valentine Episode: "Twelfth Night"
1970 Take Three Girls Henley Episode: "Gloria for First Offence"
1970 Hark at Barker P.C. Billings Episode: "Rustless on Law"
1970 ITV Playhouse Mark Episode: "A Family and a Fortune"
1970 Hark at Barker Barry Episode: "Rustless on Sport"
1970 Menace David Episode: "The Straight and the Narrow"
1970 UFO Skydiver 3 Navigator Episode: "The Psychobombs"
1971 Six Dates with Barker Albert Episode: "1937: The Removals Person"
1971 The Liver Birds Harry Episode: "Three's a Crowd"
1971 Z Cars George Swainson Episode: "Triangle Squared: Part 1"
1971 The Two Ronnies Harry Episode: #1.7
1971 Doctor at Large Car Salesman Episode: "A Little Help from My Friends"
1971 Kate Bob 2 episodes
1971 The Fenn Street Gang Tony Lawson Episode: "The Start of Something Big"
1971 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Tony Abbott 3 episodes
1972 The Pathfinders Flight Lt. Bill Booth Episode: "Our Daffodils Are Better Than Your Daffodils"
1973 The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Solicitor Episode: "The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway"
1973 The Moon Shines Bright on Charlie Chaplin Corporal TV film
1973 The Upper Crusts Parsloe Episode: "By Endeavour Alone"
1973 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Tom Palmer Episode: "Harlequinade"
1973 Crown Court Richard Quennel 3 episodes
1973 Van der Valk Ernest Episode: "The Rainbow Ends Here"
1973 2nd House L. Cpl. Johnson Episode: "National Service"
1973 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Roy Episode: "Frank and Marvin"
1973 Murder Must Advertise Mr. Willis All 4 episodes
1975 Rooms Tim 2 episodes
1975 Goose with Pepper Sergeant TV film
1976 Killers Sidney Harry Fox Episode: "Murder at the Metropole"
1976 The Dick Emery Show Various 2 episodes
1977 Murder Most English Det. Sgt. Love All 7 episodes
1977 Van der Valk Policeman Episode: "The Professor"
1977 BBC2 Play of the Week Kevin Episode: "The Kitchen"
1978-1990 All Creatures Great and Small James Herriot All 90 episodes
1978 Return of the Saint The Gent Episode: "The Poppy Chain"
1982 Take Three Women Henley Episode: "Victoria"
1984 All the World's a Stage Various 2 episodes
1984 See How They Run Lt. Cpl. Clive Winton
1986-1988 Hot Metal Voiceover 5 episodes
1987 C.A.T.S. Eyes Voice on Commercial Episode: "Carrier Pigeon"
1987-1988 The Kenny Everett Television Show Various 2 episodes
1998 The Bill D.S. Duffield Episode: "Big Day"
2000 Holby City Chris Collins Episode: "A Life Worth Saving"
2000-2006 Doctors Dr. Brendan 'Mac' McGuire 955 episodes
2004 Casualty Karl Ackerman 4 episodes
2009 The Bill Jeff Phelps Episode: "The Morning After"
2011 Lewis Barry Winter Episode: "Wild Justice"
2014 Casualty Richard Lynd Episode: "Once in a Lifetime"
2015- The Yorkshire Vet Narrator 146 episodes
2017-2019 EastEnders Ted Murray 128 episodes
2019 Midsomer Murders Ned Barnaby Episode: "The Point of Balance"
2020 Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators Major Terence Benedick Episode: "The Sticking Place"
2020 Kate & Koji Dennis Episode: #1.5


  1. ^ a b "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of the actor Christopher". The Independent. 15 January 2009.
  2. ^ Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, vol. 1, ed. Monica M. O'Donnell, Gale, 1984, p. 494
  3. ^ "Ciaran Brown meets actor Christopher Timothy".
  4. ^ a b c Elderwick, David (1989). 50 Shropshire Celebrities Past and Present. IMPRINT, Newtown, Powys. p. 53.
  5. ^ Olivier at Work, ed. Lyn Haill, 1989, pp 89-95
  6. ^ Jones, Craig (8 March 2021). "What happened to the All Creatures Great and Small cast after the original BBC series ended". Examiner: Yorkshire Live. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  7. ^ Watkins, Jack (6 February 2018). "How we made All Creatures Great and Small". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  8. ^ "This Is Your Life - Christopher Timothy". IMDb. 10 April 2000. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  9. ^ "WORLD PREMIERE —INK". Cast and Creatives. What’s On at Almeida Theatre. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  10. ^ "Andrew Durand". Broadway World. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  11. ^ Franklin, Marc J (5 March 2019). "Manhattan Theatre Club's American premiere of the James Graham play will begin performances April 2". Playbill. Retrieved 25 November 2022. Andrew Durand (Head Over Heels) as Beverly/Christopher Timothy,
  12. ^ "We are not the BBC". Archived from the original on 22 October 2013.
  13. ^ Billington, Michael (13 March 2013). "The Living Room – review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 May 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Dial M for Murder - UK Tour 2014". Archived from the original on 16 August 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  15. ^ Lindsay, Duncan (2 April 2017). "EastEnders casts a new couple carrying secrets from the past". Metro. Archived from the original on 29 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Great British Car Journeys". Channel4.com. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Peter Davison will now narrate The Yorkshire Vet instead of Christopher Timothy". Yorkshire Post. 21 April 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2021. Peter Davison, who played Tristan Farnon in the television adaptation of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small stories, will take over from Christopher Timothy to narrate The Yorkshire Vet.
  18. ^ "Peter Davison to narrate Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet". Evening Express. 20 April 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Christopher Timothy, narrator of books by James Herriot". Libby by OverDrive. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  20. ^ Stanford, Peter (15 November 2008). "A tear in Provence". Irish Independent. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  21. ^ Mike Godfrey (4 April 2012). "Whatever Happened to the "All Creatures Great and Small" Cast?". Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.

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