David John Bradley
17 April 1942
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
David John Bradley (born 17 April 1942) is an English actor. He is known for his screen roles including Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film series, Walder Frey in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, and Abraham Setrakian in the FX horror series The Strain.
A character actor, Bradley has notably acted in Our Friends in the North, the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy and After Life. He has made several appearances as the First Doctor in Doctor Who, having portrayed the role's originator, William Hartnell, in the TV biopic An Adventure in Space and Time. In 2021, he received an Annie Award for Best Voice Actor in a Television Series for his work as Merlin in Guillermo del Toro’s animated Netflix series Tales of Arcadia.
An alumnus of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bradley is also an established stage actor, with a career that includes a Laurence Olivier Award for his role in a production of King Lear and appearing in the Harold Pinter play No Man's Land at the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End.
Bradley was born in York, where he attended the Catholic St George's Secondary Modern School, where he was a member of the choir. He first performed on stage in musical productions, as a member of a youth club and with the Rowntree Youth Theatre. Upon leaving school, he completed a five-year apprenticeship with the optical instruments maker Cooke, Troughton & Simms and remained with the firm until 1966, when he moved to London to train as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Bradley joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company in the early 1970s. He first appeared on television in 1971, as a police officer in the comedy Nearest and Dearest. He was awarded a Laurence Olivier Award in 1991 for his supporting role as the Fool in King Lear at the Royal National Theatre. He appeared in the Royal National Theatre's 1997 production of The Homecoming, as well as productions of The Caretaker at Sheffield Theatres and the Tricycle Theatre from 2006 to 2007. In 2005 he played the title role in Nicholas Hytner's production of Henry IV Parts One and Two at the Olivier Theatre, London.
Bradley played fictional Labour Member of Parliament Eddie Wells in the 1996 BBC Two serial Our Friends in the North. Also in 1996, he appeared as gangster Alf Black in Band of Gold. In 1998, he appeared in the BBC adaptation of Vanity Fair as the miserly Sir Pitt Crawley, and Our Mutual Friend as the villainous Rogue Riderhood. Other television appearances include the 2001 series The Way We Live Now, directed by David Yates, who would work with Bradley five years later on the Harry Potter films.
From 2002 to 2004, Bradley starred as Jake in the BBC comedy series Wild West. Bradley acted in the 2004 musical drama serial Blackpool on BBC One. He appeared in the 2005 BBC drama Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, playing a morose coach driver who takes an unruly party of pupils on a trip to Salisbury Cathedral, and the 2006 BBC drama Sweeney Todd. He had a small role in a 2005 episode of the series Taggart. In 2003, he played Tom in the Midsomer Murders episode "The Green Man". He appeared as the electrolarynx-using gangster Stemroach in the BBC comedy series Ideal and as Electric in the BBC's Thieves Like Us, as well as the BBC One series True Dare Kiss in 2007–08.
Bradley appeared in the 2002 film Nicholas Nickleby which was based on The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, and had a small role in the 2007 comedy film Hot Fuzz as a farmer who illegally hoards weapons. He played Cohen the Barbarian in a Sky One adaptation of The Colour of Magic in 2008. That same year he appeared as Spooner in a production of Harold Pinter’s No Man's Land at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, which later transferred to London's West End.
In 2009, Bradley appeared in Ashes to Ashes, playing an animal rights activist, and in The Street, both on BBC. Bradley portrayed Will Somers, Henry VIII's court fool, in an episode of the Showtime series The Tudors in 2009. In 2010, he appeared in the film Another Year, which earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor from the London Film Critics Circle Awards. From 2011 to 2017, Bradley appeared as the villainous Lord Walder Frey in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Bradley played Solomon, a ruthless buccaneer, in the 2012 Doctor Who episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". He previously provided voice work for The Sarah Jane Adventures serial Death of the Doctor. It was announced in January 2013, that Bradley had been cast as actor William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time, a BBC docudrama about the creation of Doctor Who in 1963. The special aired in November 2013, adding to the buildup to the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who later that month. He also appeared in the first series of Broadchurch, for which he won the BAFTA for “Best Supporting Actor”. In 2013, he also appeared in The World's End, a follow-up to Hot Fuzz in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, this time portraying "Mad" Basil, an eccentric local man from the fictional English town Newton Haven.
From 2014, Bradley plays Professor Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor turned vampire hunter in Guillermo del Toro's TV series The Strain. In 2015, Bradley became a public supporter of Chapel Lane Theatre Company based in Stratford-Upon-Avon. In 2017, Bradley joined the cast of Guillermo del Toro’s animated Netflix series Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia playing the role of Merlin. In 2021, he received an Annie Award for Best Voice Actor in a Television Role for his role in the final chapter of the trilogy, Wizards: Tales of Arcadia as the wizard Merlin.
In 2017, in the final episode of the tenth series of Doctor Who, "The Doctor Falls", Bradley returned to portray the First Doctor, having previously portrayed Hartnell, who originally played the character. He reprised the role in the 2017 Christmas special, "Twice Upon a Time", in an audio series for Big Finish Productions titled Doctor Who: The First Doctor Adventures alongside his An Adventure in Space and Time cast, and in the immersive theatre show Doctor Who: Time Fracture. This makes him the third actor to play the role in the television programme, after William Hartnell and Richard Hurndall since the premiere of Doctor Who in 1963, and at the age of 75, he is the also the oldest actor to play the role of the Doctor on television. He again played the First Doctor in the final episode of the 2022 specials, "The Power of the Doctor".
From 2019 to 2022, Bradley played Ray Johnson, the demented father of Tony (Ricky Gervais) in the Netflix series After Life. In 2021, it was announced that Bradley would be joining the cast of Allelujah, a film adaptation of Alan Bennett's play of the same name directed by Richard Eyre, which will star Jennifer Saunders, Bally Gill, Russell Tovey, Derek Jacobi, and Judi Dench. In 2022, it was announced that Bradley would voice Fowler in Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.
Bradley married his wife Rosanna in 1978. They have three children. His eldest son, George, is an architect, who has featured on the ITV series Love Your Home and Garden alongside Alan Titchmarsh. His daughter, Francesca, works in casting, having worked on Michael Bay's 6 Underground. He has said that it was his children who turned his attention to the Harry Potter film franchise and coached him for the role of Argus Filch.
Bradley is the president of Second Thoughts Drama Group, which performs in and around Stratford-upon-Avon. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick (17 July 2012) and York St John University (19 November 2015).
|†||Denotes works that have not yet been released|
|1979||The Frisco Kid||Julius Rosensheine|
|1987||Prick Up Your Ears||Undertaker|
|1999||Tom's Midnight Garden||Abel|
|2000||The King Is Alive||Henry|
|Gabriel & Me||Grandad|
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone||Argus Filch|
|2002||This Is Not a Love Song||Mr. Bellamy|
|The Intended||The Priest|
|Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets||Argus Filch|
|Nicholas Nickleby||Nigel Bray|
|Pas de Trois||Porter||Short|
|2004||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Argus Filch|
|Exorcist: The Beginning||Father Gionetti|
|2005||Red Mercury||Neil Ashton|
|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Argus Filch|
|2007||Hot Fuzz||Arthur Webley|
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Argus Filch|
|2008||The Daisy Chain||Sean Cryan|
|I Know You Know||Mr. Fisher|
|2009||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||Argus Filch|
|Harry Brown||Leonard Attwell|
|2011||Lucy and the Attack of the Malevolon||Narrator||Short, voice role|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2||Argus Filch|
|Captain America: The First Avenger||Church Keeper|
|2013||The World's End||"Mad" Basil|
|2016||The Young Messiah||Old Rabbi|
|Broadcast Signal Intrusion||James' Father||Short|
|Edmund the Magnificent||Farmer||Short|
|2018||Await Further Instructions||Grandad|
|2020||Doctors Assemble||The First Doctor||Short, voice role|
|Emily the Little Match Girl||Harry Smith|
|Catherine Called Birdy||Lord Gideon Sidebottom|
|Pinocchio||Mister Geppetto||Voice role|
|Your Christmas or Mine?||Jack|
|2023||Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget||Fowler||Voice role|
|TBA||Good Grief †||TBA||Filming|
|1971||Nearest and Dearest||2nd Policeman||Episode: "Barefaced in the Park"|
|A Family at War||Colin Woodcock||Recurring role|
|1972||ITV Sunday Night Theatre||Parker Street Goalie||Episode: "Another Sunday and Sweet F.A"|
|Thirty-Minute Theatre||The Evangelist||Episode: "That Quiet Earth"|
|1976||Bill Brand||Peter Malone||Episode: "August for the Party"|
|1978||The Professionals||Tony Kristo||Episode: "Close Quarters"|
|1980||Coronation Street||Detective Sergeant Simms||1 episode|
|1981||Play for Today||Communist speaker||Episode: "The Union"|
|BBC2 Playhouse||Wike||Episode: "Clapperclaw"|
|Barman||Episode: "Findings on a Late Afternoon"|
|1982||Frost in May||Rambler||Episode: "The Lost Traveller"|
|1983||Tartuffe, or The Imposter||Cleante||TV film|
|1985||One by One||Mr. Fazakerly||Episode: "To Hear the Sea Maid's Music"|
|Theatre Night||Charron||Episode: "Molière"|
|1986||King of the Ghetto||Ralph||Mini-series|
|1989||Shadow of the Noose||Edward Lawrence||Episode: "Gun in Hand"|
|The Play on One||Harry||Episode: "A Master of the Marionettes"|
|1992||ScreenPlay||Mr. Preach||Episode: "Bad Girl"|
|Between the Lines||Sergeant Harry Ross||Episode: "Lies and Damned Lies"|
|1993||Full Stretch||Don Naylor||Episode: "Deals on Wheels"|
|The Buddha of Suburbia||Helen's Father||Mini-series|
|1994||Screen Two||Headmaster||Episode: "Criminal"|
|Performance||Barnadine||Episode: "Measure for Measure"|
|Martin Chuzzlewit||David Crimple||Mini-series|
|1995||The Vet||Dick Sims||Episode: "Relative Values"|
|Casualty||Stanmore||Episode: "Hit and Run"|
|1996||A Touch of Frost||Les James||Episode: "Unknown Soldiers"|
|Band of Gold||Alf||Episode: "Hustling"|
|Our Friends in the North||Eddie Wells||Series regular|
|Wycliffe||Joe Mawnan||Episode: "Total Loss"|
|In Your Dreams||Tutor||TV film|
|Cracker||Frank Carter||Episode: "White Ghost"|
|Kiss and Tell||Superintendent Hines||TV film|
|1997||Reckless||Arnold Springer||Series regular|
|Bramwell||Charles Matthews||1 episode|
|The Moth||Dave Waters||TV film|
|1998||Our Mutual Friend||Rogue Riderhood||Mini-series|
|Where the Heart Is||Derek Woodford||Episode: "She Goes On"|
|Reckless: The Movie||Arnold Springer||TV film|
|Vanity Fair||Sir Pitt Crawley||Mini-series|
|The Canterbury Tales||January||Animated series, voice role|
|1999||Doomwatch: Winter Angel||Angel||TV film, voice role|
|2000||The Wilsons||Ray Wilson||Series regular|
|Black Cab||Gerald||Episode: "Marriage Guidance"|
|Station Jim||Elliot||TV film|
|Murphy's Law||Hatcher Snr.||TV film|
|The Way We Live Now||Mr. Broune||Mini-series|
|Sweet Dreams||Jim||TV film|
|2002–2004||Wild West||Old Jake Trethowan||Series regular|
|2003||The Mayor of Casterbridge||Councillor Vatt||TV film|
|Midsomer Murders||Tom||Episode: "The Green Man"|
|Charles II: The Power and the Passion||Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey||1 episode|
|Blue Dove||Max Turnbull||Mini-series|
|Murphy's Law||Hatcher Snr.||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2005||Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle||Archie||TV film|
|2006||Sweeney Todd||Sweeney's Father||TV film|
|Taggart||Elijah Buckland||Episode: "Law"|
|2007||Thieves Like Us||Electric||Recurring role|
|True Dare Kiss||Stanley Tyler||Recurring role|
|2008||The Colour of Magic||Cohen the Barbarian||Episode: "Part 2: The Light Fantastic"|
|The Invisibles||'Knacker' Locke||Mini-series|
|2009||The Tudors||Will (Court Fool)||Episode: "Problems in the Reformation"|
|Ashes to Ashes||Robin Elliot||1 episode|
|The Street||Joe||Episode: "Meet the Parents"|
|2010||Arena||Various roles||Episode: "Harold Pinter: A Celebration"|
|Five Daughters||Patrick Palmer||Mini-series|
|New Tricks||Simon Beswick/John Plummer||Episode: "Dead Man Talking"|
|The Sarah Jane Adventures||Shansheeth Blue||Episode: "Death of the Doctor"|
|2011||Waking the Dead||George Barlow||Episode: "Waterloo"|
|2011–2017||Game of Thrones||Walder Frey||Recurring role|
|2012||Doctor Who||Solomon||Episode: "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"|
|Eternal Law||Mack Steen||1 episode|
|Benidorm||Stan Garvey||1 episode|
|The Hollow Crown||Gardener||Episode: "Richard II"|
|Bad Education||Ennis||Episode: "School Trip"|
|World Without End||Brother Joseph||Recurring role|
|Bad Sugar||Ralphfred Cauldwell||TV film|
|2012–2013||Prisoners' Wives||Frank||Recurring role|
|2012–2014||Mount Pleasant||Charlie||Series regular|
|2013||Broadchurch||Jack Marshall||Recurring role|
|An Adventure in Space and Time||William Hartnell||TV film|
|2014||Silk||LJ Reynolds||1 episode|
|2014–2017||The Strain||Abraham Setrakian||Series regular|
|2016||Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands||Gorrik||1 episode|
|Medici||Bardi||Episode: "The Dome and the Domicile"|
|2017, 2022||Doctor Who||First Doctor||3 episodes ("Twice Upon a Time" and "The Power of the Doctor"); cameo in "The Doctor Falls"; replaced William Hartnell|
|2017–2019||Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia||Merlin||Series regular, voice role|
|2018||Hang Ups||Frank Ellerby||1 episode|
|2018–2019||Les Misérables||Gillenormand||Series regular|
|2019–2022||After Life||Ray Johnson||Series regular|
|2020||Gangs of London||Jim||1 episode|
|Wizards: Tales of Arcadia||Merlin||Animated series, voice role|
|2021||Adventure Time: Distant Lands||Old Finn||Episode: "Together Again", voice role|
|2022||The Responder||Davey||2 episodes|
|2023||"Wish You the Best"||Lewis Capaldi|
|2021||Doctor Who: Time Fracture||First Doctor||Pre-recorded video|
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- Michael Coveney (9 October 2008). "No Man's Land (Duke of York's)". What's on Stage. whatsonstage.com. Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
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- Reporters, Telegraph (1 July 2017). "First look pictures of the First and Twelfth Doctors together in the Doctor Who Christmas special". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
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- "David Bradley returns to the TARDIS in Doctor Who - The First Doctor Adventures! - News - Big Finish". www.bigfinish.com. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- Warner, Sam (27 April 2021). "Doctor Who announces John Barrowman and David Bradley for Time Fracture show". Digital Spy. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- Martin, Dan (1 July 2017). "Doctor Who recap: series 36 finale – The Doctor Falls". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
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- Second Thoughts Our President for several years now has been David Bradley.
- "Honorary Graduates 2012". warwick.ac.uk. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
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- "BAFTA-winner David Bradley on Villa's 140 years". Aston Villa. 22 November 2014. Archived from the original on 1 December 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- David Bradley at IMDb
- Podcast interview with David Bradley on his career Interview with David Bradley on the occasion of receiving his honorary degree from the University of Warwick