David Haig

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David Haig

David Haig Collum Ward

(1955-09-20) 20 September 1955 (age 68)
Alma materLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Occupation(s)Actor, playwright
Years active1978–present
Julia Gray
(m. 2010)

David Haig Collum Ward MBE (born 20 September 1955) is an English actor and playwright. He has appeared in West End productions and numerous television and film roles over a career spanning four decades.

Haig wrote the play My Boy Jack, which premièred at the Hampstead Theatre on 13 October 1997. On Remembrance Day 2007, ITV broadcast a television drama based on the play, in which Haig played Rudyard Kipling and Daniel Radcliffe played Kipling's son, John. He went on to star as the Player in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead alongside Radcliffe in 2017.

Haig's second play The Good Samaritan was also first staged at the Hampstead Theatre, opening on 6 July 2000. His third play Pressure premiered at the Chichester Festival in 2014, before being revived in 2018 on a UK Tour and then in the West End at the Ambassadors Theatre. In 2018, he portrayed Bill in the critically acclaimed BBC America thriller series Killing Eve.

Haig was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to drama.[1]

Early life[edit]

Haig was born on 20 September 1955 in Aldershot, Hampshire, the son of opera singer Shirley R. C. (née Brooks) and army officer (and later director of the Hayward Gallery) Francis W. He had a younger sister who died at 22 of a brain aneurysm when he was 26. He grew up in Rugby, Warwickshire where he attended Rugby School.[2]


Film and television[edit]

Haig appeared in the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral and had a supporting role in the BBC television sitcom The Thin Blue Line playing Inspector Grim, the inept foil to Rowan Atkinson's Inspector Fowler. He also appeared in Love on a Branch Line, a TV series broadcast by the BBC in four episodes. In 2002 he played the brother of Four Weddings' co-star Hugh Grant in the romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice. In 2007, he appeared in a Comic Relief sketch called "Mr. Bean's Wedding" as the bride's father, reuniting with Atkinson.

Other TV work includes Doctor Who story The Leisure Hive (1980); Blake's 7 episode "Rumours of Death" (1980); Diamonds (1981 TV series); Campion story Sweet Danger (1990); Inspector Morse episode "Dead on Time" (1992); and Cracker story To Say I Love You (1993). In the 1990s, he appeared in series 1 of the TV series Soldier Soldier.

He appears in the Richard Fell adaptation of the 1960s science fiction series A for Andromeda, on the UK digital television station BBC Four. Haig wrote the play My Boy Jack and later appeared in the television adaptation as Rudyard Kipling, with Daniel Radcliffe playing Kipling's son, John.[citation needed]

In 2008, he appeared in the BBC film Dustbin Baby and The 39 Steps. He also appeared in the Midsomer Murders episode "The Glitch". In 2009 he appeared as Steve Fleming in BBC TV's The Thick of It and as Jon, husband to former MP Mo Mowlam in the drama Mo opposite Julie Walters. Also in 2009, he appeared in two episodes as the headmaster of Portwenn Primary School, Mr Straine on ITV comedy drama Doc Martin.

In January 2013, Haig started appearing as Jim Hacker in a re-make of classic 1980s comedy series Yes Prime Minister, broadcast on Gold TV in the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

In 2012 a new sitcom pilot, starring Haig and written by Ben Elton, was filmed for the BBC.[3] Filming for a full six-part series of the sitcom, The Wright Way (formerly known as Slings and Arrows) was completed in March 2013, and began airing on BBC One on 23 April.[4]

An August 2018 announcement indicated that Haig would be among the new cast to join the original actors in the Downton Abbey film which started principal photography at about the same time.[5] In September 2018 he appeared in the critically acclaimed BBC series Killing Eve.[citation needed]


In 2008, he played Maurice Haigh-Wood in the BBC Radio adaptation of Michael Hastings' play Tom and Viv, and 2010 he starred as Norman Birkett in "Norman Birkett and the Case of the Coleford Poisoner" on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play series. He also played the narrator and the older Lewis Eliot in C. P. Snow's "Strangers and Brothers" on Radio 4 in 2003, repeated on Radio 4 Extra every few years.


He also won an Olivier Award in 1988 for Actor of the Year in a New Play, for his performance in Our Country's Good at the Royal Court in Sloane Square.[6] He toured Britain with the stage version of My Boy Jack, which he wrote, and in which he played Rudyard Kipling and directed a production of Private Lives by Noël Coward, which made a national tour in 2005.

Haig has appeared in several stage productions in London's West End, including Hitchcock Blonde at the Royal Court, Life X 3 at the Savoy Theatre, as the character Osborne in R.C. Sherriff's play Journey's End at the Comedy Theatre, and as Mr George Banks in Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre for which he received an Olivier Award nomination. He was also nominated for playing Christopher Headingley in a revival of Michael Frayn's comedy Donkeys' Years at the Comedy Theatre. Having appeared in the role of Pinchwife in the comedy The Country Wife at the Royal Haymarket Theatre in London, he appeared in The Sea at the same theatre. Haig's next role was Truscott in the Joe Orton black farce Loot at London's Tricycle Theatre from 11 December 2008 to 31 January 2009 and at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, 2 to 7 February 2009.

In 2010 he played the role of Jim Hacker in the stage version of Yes, Prime Minister[7] at the Chichester Festival Gielgud Theatre, in London's West End from 17 September 2010.[8]

In September 2023, it was announced that Haig was adapting Philip K. Dick's novella "The Minority Report" for the stage, to premiere at the Lyric Hammersmith the following spring.[9]

Filmography and stage credits[edit]


Year Title Role Production Notes
2018 Pressure
by David Haig
James Stagg Ambassadors Theatre, London
2017 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard The Player The Old Vic, London
2016 Blue/Orange
by Joe Penhall
Robert Young Vic
2015 Guys and Dolls
by Frank Loesser
Nathan Detroit Chichester Festival Theatre Olivier Award Nomination
2015 Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
by Frank McGuinness
Michael Minerva Theatre, Chichester
2014 Pressure
by David Haig
James Stagg Royal Lyceum Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre
2013 King Lear
by William Shakespeare
Lear Theatre Royal, Bath
2011–12 The Madness of George III
by Alan Bennett[10]
George III National Tour and Apollo Theatre Olivier Award Nomination
2010–11 Yes, Prime Minister
by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn[11]
Jim Hacker Chichester Festival Theatre and Gielgud Theatre
2009 Loot
by Joe Orton[12]
Inspector Truscott Tricycle Theatre
2008 The Sea
by Edward Bond[13]
Hatch Royal Haymarket Theatre
2007 The Country Wife
by William Wycherley[14]
Pinchwife Royal Haymarket Theatre
2006 Donkey's Years
by Michael Frayn[15]
Chris Headlingly Comedy Theatre Olivier Award Nomination
2005 Mary Poppins
by Julian Fellowes[16]
Mr Banks Prince Edward Theatre Olivier Award Nomination
2004 Journey's End
by R.C. Sherriff[17]
Osborne Comedy Theatre
2003 Hitchcock Blonde
by Terry Johnson[18]
Royal Court and Lyric Theatre, West End
2002 Life x3
by Yasmina Reza[19]
Henri Savoy Theatre
1997 "Art"
by Yasmina Reza[20]
Ivan Wyndham's Theatre and Broadway
1997 My Boy Jack
by David Haig[21]
Rudyard Kipling Hampstead Theatre
1994 Dead Funny
by Terry Johnson
Richard Hampstead Theatre and West End
1991 Measure For Measure
by William Shakespeare[22]
Angelo Young Vic and RSC tour
1988 Our Country's Good
by Timberlake Wertenbaker[citation needed]
Ralph Clark Royal Court Olivier Award Best Actor in a New Play
1988 The Recruiting Officer
by George Farquhar
Plume Royal Court
1988 Greenland Paul Royal Court
1985 Tom and Viv
by Michael Hastings[23]
Maurice Royal Court and Broadway

TV and film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1978 The Moon Stallion Todman TV series
1980 Blake's 7 Forres TV series (1 episode: "Rumours of Death")
Doctor Who Pangol TV series (4 episodes of "The Leisure Hive")
1981 Diamonds Alex Randolph TV series
1983 Chessgame Colin Jenkins TV series (1 episode: "Flying Blind")
A Flame to the Phoenix Mirek Grabinski
1984 Dark Enemy Ash
1985 Morons from Outer Space Palatial House Flunkey Film
1986 The Alamut Ambush Colin Jenkins TV film
Cold War Killers Colin Jenkins TV film
1989 Hannay Conrad Smyth TV series (1 episode: "The Good Samaritan")
Dramarama Bill Brock TV series (1 episode: "Badger")
1990 Campion Cully Randall/Guffy Randall TV series (2 episodes)
Portrait of a Marriage Harold Nicolson TV series (4 episodes)
1991 Chancer Dr. Haselden TV series (1 episode: "Remembrance")
Soldier Soldier Major Tom Cadman TV series (7 episodes)
1992 Inspector Morse Peter Rhodes TV series (1 episode: "Dead on Time")
Boon Jim Fisk TV series (1 episode: "Is There Anybody There?")
1993 The Darling Buds of May Captain Robert Battersby TV series (2 episodes)
The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries Arthur Wilde TV series (1 episode: "A Man Lay Dead")
Cracker Graham TV series (2 episodes)
1994 Four Weddings and Funeral Bernard, the Groom – Wedding Two
The Bill Brian Linton TV series (1 episode: "Secrets")
Love on a Branch Line Lionel Virley TV series (4 episodes)
Nice Day at the Office Chris Selwyn TV series (6 episodes)
1995 Wycliffe David Millar TV series (1 episode: "Charades")
The Four Corners of Nowhere Nick
The Thin Blue Line D.I. Grim TV series (14 episodes: 1995–1996)
1997 Keeping Mum Richard Beare TV series (16 episodes: 1997–1998)
1998 Talking Heads 2 Wilfred Paterson TV mini-series (1 episode: "Playing Sandwiches")
1999 The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Tales of Innocence Colonel Bonnet video
2000 Dalziel and Pascoe David Hallingsworth TV series (1 episode: "A Sweeter Lazarus")
2001 Ivor the Invisible Park Keeper voice
Station Jim Riorden Jnr TV film
2002 Crime and Punishment Luhzin TV film
Rachel's Attic Adam
Two Weeks Notice Howard Wade
2004 Hustle Sir Anthony Reeves TV series (1 episode: "The Last Gamble")
2006 A for Andromeda General Vandenburg
2007 Comic Relief 2007: The Big One Kate's Dad TV film
Church Going Priest short
My Boy Jack Rudyard Kipling TV film
2008 Dickens Secret Lover Charles Dickens TV film
Agatha Christie's Marple: Murder Is Easy Major Hugh Horton TV film
Dustbin Baby Elliot TV film
The 39 Steps Sir George Sinclair TV film
2009 My Family Jeremy Livingstone TV series (1 episode: "The Guru")
Midsomer Murders George Jeffers TV series (1 episode: "The Glitch")
Doc Martin Mr Straine (Headmaster of Portwenn Primary School) TV series (2 episodes)
The Thick of It Steve Fleming TV series (2 episodes)
2010 Mo Jon Norton TV film
2011 The Half-Light Man short
Strike Back Christopher Manning TV series (2 episodes)
2013 Yes Minister Jim Hacker TV series (6 episodes)
2013 The Wright Way Gerald Wright TV series (6 episodes)
2016 Florence Foster Jenkins Carlo Edwards
2016 The Witness for the Prosecution Sir Charles Carter TV mini series (2 episodes)
2018 Killing Eve Bill Pargrave TV series (3 episodes)
2019 Downton Abbey Mr Wilson
2020 COBRA Archie Glover-Morgan Series regular


  1. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 24.
  2. ^ Walker, Tim (18 April 2014). "David Haig says Rugby did not want him to become an actor". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  3. ^ "New sitcom from Ben Elton". TV Tonight. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  4. ^ Patrick Munn (5 January 2013). "Kacey Ainsworth, Rufus Jones & Michael Falzon Cast in BBC One's Ben Elton Sitcom". Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (30 August 2018). "Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James Join 'Downton Abbey' Movie".
  6. ^ "Olivier Winners 1988". The Society of London Theatre. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Stage plan for Yes Prime Minister". BBC News. 18 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Chicester Minister Bound for Gielgud, 17 Sep". Whats on Stage website. 11 June 2010. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  9. ^ Akbar, Arifa (25 September 2023). "Minority Report drama to feature in Lyric Hammersmith's 'really bold' spring lineup". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  10. ^ Spencer, Charles (24 January 2012). "The Madness of George III". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  11. ^ Benedictus, Leo (25 May 2010). "Yes Prime Minister". Guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Loot". Entertainment.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  13. ^ Taylor, Paul (25 January 2008). "The Sea". Independent. London. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  14. ^ "The Country Wife". Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Donkey's Years". Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Mary Poppins". Musicalheaven.com. August 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Journey's End". Indielondon.co.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Hitchcock Blonde". Royalcourttheatre.com. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Life x3". Whatsonstage.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Art". Londontheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  21. ^ "My Boy Jack". Nritishtheatreguide.info. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  22. ^ "Measure for Measure". Rscshakespeare.co.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Tom and Viv". Thebeautifulchanges.co.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2012.

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