Don Warrington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don Warrington

Don Warrington signing (cropped2).jpg
Warrington in 2017
Donald Williams

(1951-05-23) 23 May 1951 (age 71)
EducationHarris College
Drama Centre London
Years active1974–present

Don Warrington MBE (born Donald Williams, 23 May 1951) is a Trinidadian-born British actor.[1] He is best known for playing Philip Smith in the ITV sitcom Rising Damp (1974–78), and Commissioner Selwyn Patterson in the BBC detective series Death in Paradise (2011–present).

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[2]

Early life[edit]

Warrington was born in Trinidad, but moved to England with his mother and brother at a young age, while his sister stayed in Trinidad. He was brought up in Newcastle upon Tyne.[3] His father, Basil Kydd, was a Trinidadian politician who died in 1958.[4]

Warrington attended Harris College (now the University of Central Lancashire) and trained as an actor at the Drama Centre London.[5] As there was already an actor called Don Williams when he joined Equity, he took the stage surname "Warrington" after Warrington Road, the street he grew up on. He started acting in repertory theatre at the age of 17.[6]


Television and film[edit]

Warrington is best known for playing Philip Smith in Rising Damp, from 1974 to 1978, alongside Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale, and Frances de la Tour. Warrington also appeared as series regular in the crime drama C.A.T.S. Eyes, as government contact Nigel Beaumont (1985–1987); in Impact Earth (2007) playing General Harris; and in New Street Law as Judge Ken Winyard.

In 1993 Warrington played television reporter Graham Gaunt in To Play the King, the second part of the BBC's House of Cards trilogy.

He has had smaller roles in many programmes including Red Dwarf, Lovejoy, Manchild, and Diamond Geezer. Warrington portrayed the founder of Time Lord society, Rassilon, in several Doctor Who audio plays, and also appeared as the President of an alternative-universe Great Britain in the Doctor Who episode "Rise of the Cybermen" (2006). Soon after, he recorded an abridged audio book of the Doctor Who novel The Art of Destruction by Stephen Cole.

He is one of the interviewees on the BBC 2 series Grumpy Old Men, and he appears in a series of Kenco coffee advertisements in the United Kingdom in which he plays an African coffee plantation owner. He regularly provides voice-overs for both BBC television and radio.

Warrington has also appeared in BBC1 sitcom The Crouches, which aired from 9 September 2003 until 2005. He played Bailey, who was Roly's boss at a London Underground station in South London. Roly was played by Robbie Gee. Warrington played the role of the Hospital Chaplain in Casualty, assuming the role of Trevor. He also starred in the 2010 film It's a Wonderful Afterlife. He also appeared in Grange Hill as Mr Peters, the father of pupil Lauren Peters.

He provided voiceover links, reading out the various methods of contacting the show on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2, which was broadcast from 11 January 2010.

Since 2011, Warrington has played Commissioner Selwyn Patterson in the BBC show Death in Paradise.[7][8]

He also appeared as jazz musician Frederick J. Louden in a BBC radio production of The Devil's Music, written by Alan Plater. In 2011, Warrington played the father of a suspected terrorist in the last series of the BBC drama Waking the Dead.

In 2012, he played master of the college Marcus Harding in “Generation of Vipers”, S6:E2 of Lewis.

His film roles included the movie version of Rising Damp (1980), the Kenny Everett horror comedy Bloodbath at the House of Death (1983), The Lion of Africa (1987), Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996), Peter Greenaway's 8½ Women (1999) and the horror film Lighthouse (1999).


Warrington is also a theatre actor and has performed with the National Theatre,[9] the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Exchange, Manchester.

In 2012–13, he toured with Gwen Taylor in a new stage version of Driving Miss Daisy.[10]

In 2013, Warrington played the lead role of Joe Keller, in Talawa Theatre Company's all-black revival of Arthur Miller's tragedy All My Sons at the Royal Exchange, Manchester,[11] directed by Michael Buffong – a production that The Guardian reviewer called "flawless", giving it a five-star rating.[12]

Warrington performed in the lead role of King Lear in a 2016 Talawa Theatre Company and Royal Exchange, Manchester production. Mark Shenton wrote in The Stage that "Warrington seizes and owns it with magnetic, majestic power" as "one of many virtues in this outstanding production."[13] Claire Allfree in The Telegraph wrote: "Lear is the Everest of roles, and Don Warrington ... ascends the cliff face with magnificent authority. He rages around his daughters like a hulking thunder cloud in human form, not just the incarnation of absolute rule but of something more ancient and of the earth."[14]

Warrington appeared as George in David Mamet's Glengarry Glenn Ross between October 2017 and February 2018 at the Playhouse Theatre alongside Christian Slater, Robert Glenister, Kris Marshall and Daniel Ryan.[15]

He appeared as the central protagonist Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman at the Royal Exchange Theatre from October to November 2018.[16]

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

In 2008, Warrington competed in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with the 2005 and 2006 British National Champion in Latin American dance, Lilia Kopylova.[17] After Week 4, Warrington was joint seventh out of the remaining 12 contestants with an average of 24.5 points. In Week 5, he was eliminated, having lost the dance-off against Heather Small, with the first three judges all voting for Small over Warrington.

He joined the show to step out of his comfort zone, and he appreciated the opportunity to learn to dance.[18]

Week # Dance/Song Judges' score Result
Horwood Phillips Goodman Tonioli Total
1 Cha-Cha-Cha / "Let's Groove Tonight" 3 5 6 5 19 Dance Off
3 Tango / "Whatever Lola Wants" 7 7 8 8 30 Safe
5 American Smooth / "Can't Smile Without You" 6 6 7 6 25 Eliminated

Selected television roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1974–1978 Rising Damp Philip Smith
1985–1987 C.A.T.S. Eyes Nigel Beaumont
1992 Red Dwarf Binks ("Holoship")
1993 To Play the King Graham Gaunt
2002–2003 Manchild Patrick
2003–2005 The Crouches Bailey
2006–2007 New Street Law Judge Ken Winyard
2006 Doctor Who The President ("Rise of the Cybermen")
2009–2010 Casualty Hospital Chaplain Trevor
2011– Death in Paradise Commissioner Selwyn Patterson
2014 Chasing Shadows Chief Superintendent Harley Drayton
2016 The Five Ray Kenwood
2020– The World According to Grandpa Grandpa


  1. ^ "Don Warrington MBE" Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The British Blacklist.
  2. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 24.
  3. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (15 May 2013). "Don Warrington: Rigsby's a racist – but that's not the real issue". The Telegraph.
  4. ^ Don Warrington biography, from Caribbean Britain: The Cultural and Biographical Directory by Marjorie H. Morgan. Historical Biographies, 1 October 2012.
  5. ^ Don Warrington biography, ATG Tickets.
  6. ^ "Don Warrington", Ultimate Strictly.
  7. ^ Characters, Death in Paradise, BBC One.
  8. ^ "Don Warrington", Internet Movie Database.
  9. ^ Don Warrington page Archived 4 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Royal National Theatre.
  10. ^ Marion McMullen, "Driving force behind Don Warrington's stage return" Archived 4 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Coventry Telegraph, 8 February 2013.
  11. ^ "All My Sons" Archived 4 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Talawa Theatre Company. Clare Brennan, "All My Sons – review", The Observer, 6 October 2013.
  12. ^ Alfred Hicking, "All My Sons – review", The Guardian, 2 October 2013.
  13. ^ Shenton, Mark (2 April 2016). "King Lear". The Stage. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  14. ^ Allfree, Claire (2016). "Don Warrington's King Lear is a heartbreaking tour de force". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Glengarry Glen Ross".
  16. ^ "Death of a Salesman – Royal Exchange Theatre".
  17. ^ "Don Warrington & Lilia Kopylova", Strictly Come Dancing, BBC One.
  18. ^ Alex Fletcher, "Don Warrington ('Strictly Come Dancing')", Digital Spy, 22 October 2008.

External links[edit]