James Fleet

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James Fleet
James Edward Fleet

(1952-03-11) 11 March 1952 (age 70)
Years active1979–present
Spouse(s)Jane Booker
(m. 1985)

James Edward Fleet (born 11 March 1952) is an English actor of theatre, radio and screen. He is most famous for his roles as the bumbling and well-meaning Tom in the 1994 British romantic comedy film Four Weddings and a Funeral and the dim-witted but kind hearted Hugo Horton in the BBC sitcom television series The Vicar of Dibley.

Early life[edit]

Fleet was born in Bilston, Staffordshire,[2][3] to a Scottish mother, Christine, and an English father, Jim. He lived in Bilston until he was 10 but, when his father died, he moved to Aberdeenshire with his mother.[4] He studied engineering at university in Aberdeen, where he joined the university dramatic society.[5] Afterwards, he studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.



Fleet began his career in the RSC, appearing in several plays in the early 1980s.[6][7][8] He has since appeared in touring productions of, among others, Habeas Corpus[9] and In the Club,[10] as well as in Festen and Mary Stuart[11] and others in the West End. He also played Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington in 2002.

In 2003 he played Kulygin in Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters alongside Kristin Scott Thomas who played Masha.

In 2009 he portrayed Sir Andrew Aguecheek in the RSC Production of Twelfth Night. In 2011 he was in Richard Bean's The Heretic directed by Jeremy Herrin at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Starting in November 2011 he was in the original line-up of The Ladykillers as Major Courtney at the Gielgud Theatre.


Between 2000 and 2006, Fleet played the painfully upright and decent Captain Brimshaw in Revolting People, a BBC Radio 4 comedy set in pre-revolutionary America. He also appeared in the radio legal sitcom Chambers, which later moved onto television. As of 2005, he has starred as Duncan Stonebridge MP in the topical radio sitcom The Party Line.[citation needed] He also appeared as the Captain on the BBC Radio 7 series The Spaceship. He also plays the part of Sir John Woodstock in the BBC Radio 4 sitcom The Castle and Inspector Lestrade in the first, third and fourth series of The Rivals. Fleet played John Aubrey in the 2008 BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour production by Nick Warburton of Aubrey's Brief Lives.


In 1999–2001 he was the voice of "Dog" in the children's TV show Dog and Duck.[12] Probably his most famous role is that of Hugo in The Vicar of Dibley; he appeared in all 20 episodes, broadcast between 1994 and 2007. In 2004 he appeared in an episode of Monarch of the Glen. In 2005 he played a leading role in an episode of the long-running ITV murder mystery series Midsomer Murders. In 2007 he was a guest star in one episode of the sitcom Legit. He appeared as Frederick Dorrit in the BBC's 2008 production of Little Dorrit.[13] When Fleet appeared on the quiz show School's Out,[14] it was revealed that one of his teachers at Banff Academy had written in his school report that "[James] is the stupidest boy I have ever had to teach, out of all the stupid boys I have ever had to teach," and that he was the only student in his sixth form not to have been made a prefect. Despite his apparent lack of scholastic ability, he still won the show. In 2009, Fleet appeared in a cameo role in the third series of Skins.

Earlier in his career, Fleet was seen in a 1983 episode of Grange Hill as a teacher at the eponymous school's upmarket rival Rodney Bennett. In 1992 he played Paul Morgan in an episode of The Bill 'Runaway'. In 1999 he starred in the sitcom Brotherly Love.

Fleet appeared in Coronation Street in 2010. He played a character called Robbie Sloan, a recently released convict, helping escaped prisoner Tony Gordon plot revenge on his ex-wife Carla Connor. They intend to kidnap and kill her. Sloan lures Connor into her Underworld factory, and holds her at gunpoint. Leaving her tied to a chair with her mouth taped shut, Sloan also lures Hayley Cropper into the hostage situation. Sloan was eventually shot by Gordon during a siege at the factory.

In February 2011, Fleet appeared as George (senior), the father of werewolf George Sands, in Being Human.

In December 2013 the BBC aired one of their major dramas for the Christmas season, Death Comes to Pemberley, a three-part British television drama based on characters created by Jane Austen in her novel Pride and Prejudice. The first episode was broadcast on BBC One at 8.15 pm on Boxing Day 2013. It was based on the best-selling novel by P. D. James, in which the characters of Pride and Prejudice are involved in a new story involving a murder. Fleet played the part of Mr Bennett in the series. In September 2014, Fleet appeared in the BBC Three sitcom Bad Education as Richard, an ex-boyfriend of Rosie Gulliver. He has most recently appeared in an episode of ITVs second series of Plebs, as Stylax's racing patron. In 2013, Fleet was engaged to play Scottish historian, the Reverend Dr. Reginald Wakefield, in seasons 1 and 2 of the Award-winning Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, broadcast in 2014–2016.

An April 2021 announcement stated that Fleet would be joining the cast of the second season of All Creatures Great and Small in the role of Colonel Merrick.[15]


Fleet has starred in numerous films. He played the role of Kevin's father in the 2000 cult film Kevin & Perry Go Large. He played the roles of Lefevre in the 2004 film adaptation of Phantom of the Opera, John Dashwood in 1995's Sense and Sensibility, and Lytton Strachey in the 2003 film Al Sur de Granada (South from Granada). In 2014, he played John Constable in the Mike Leigh film Mr Turner. In 2016, he played Sir Reginald DeCourcy in Whit Stillman's Love and Friendship.



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Defence of the Realm Ministry Man
1987 Still Crazy Like a Fox Bellhop TV Movie
1992 Electric Moon Simon Lidell
1992 Blue Black Permanent Jim Thorburn
1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral Tom
1994 Milner Hugh Bonning
1995 3 Steps to Heaven Harry Roberts
1995 Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets Inspector Limp
1995 Sense and Sensibility John Dashwood
1995 The Butterfly Effect Oswald
1996 Lord of Misrule Prime Minister TV Movie
1996 Interview Day Simon TV Movie
1996 The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders James Bland TV Movie
1997 The Cows Thor Johnson TV Movie
1997 Gobble Prime Minister (voice) TV Movie
1997 Thursday Patrick Short film
1997 Remember Me? Donald
1998 Frenchman's Creek Sir Harry TV Movie
1999 Big Dreams and Paper Planes Son Short Movie
1999 Milk Adrian
1999 The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything William the Conqueror TV Movie
2000 Kevin & Perry Go Large Dad
2001 Charlotte Gray Richard Cannerly
2002 Dick Whittington Alderman Fitzwarren TV Movie
2002 Fields of Gold Alan Buckley TV Movie
2002 Two Men Went to War Major Bates
2002 Young Arthur Merlin TV Movie
2003 South from Granada Lytton Strachey
2003 Blackball Alan the Pipe
2003 Promoted to Glory Michael Prendergast TV Movie
2004 Three Sisters Kulygin TV Movie
2005 The Phantom of the Opera Monsieur Lefevre
2005 Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story Simon
2007 Lady Godiva: Back in the Saddle Alan Jenkins
2009 Micro Men Kenneth Baker TV Movie
2011 The Decoy Bride William
2013 Murder on the Home Front Professor Stephens
2014 Mr. Turner John Constable
2016 Billionaire Boy Mr Darrow TV Movie
2016 Love & Friendship Sir Reginald DeCourcy
2016 Revolution: New Art For A New World Wassily Kandinsky (voice) Documentary
2017 Love of My Life Tom
2018 The Spy Who Dumped Me Tom
2018 Death on the Tyne Jack TV Movie
2019 One Red Nose And A Wedding Tom TV Short
2020 Blithe Spirit Harry Price
2022 Operation Mincemeat Charles Fraser-Smith
2022 The Lost King John Ashdown-Hill


Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Omega Factor Tom TV Series
1983 Grange Hill Mr Perkins TV Series – Episode #6.5
1985 Dempsey and Makepeace Man in the Office TV Series – Episode: "In the Dark"
1987 The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Neil Fairfax TV Series – Episode: "A Sleeping Life"
1991 Boon Keith Dawson, Prosecution Barrister TV Series – Episode: "Trial and Error"
1991–1996 Screen Two Prime Minister / Algie / Peter Wentworth TV Series
1992 The Advocates Philip Jackson TV Series – Episode 2
1992 The Bill Paul Morgan TV Series – Episode: "Runaway"
1992 Screen One James Grahame TV Series – Episode: "Running Late"
1993 A Year in Provence Hugo Compton TV Series – Episode: "Room Service"
1993 An Exchange of Fire Michael Shanks TV Series – Episode #1.1 & #1.2
1994–2013, 2020 The Vicar of Dibley Hugo Horton TV Series
1994 Headhunters Alan Spence TV Series – Episodes: "Right as Rain" & "Maradona Land"
1994 Murder Most Horrid Tom TV Series – Episode: "We All Hate Granny"
1994 Cracker Michael Trant TV Series – Episode: "The Big Crunch"
1997 Harry Enfield and Chums Teacher Mr Banks TV Series – Episode #2.3
1997 A Dance to the Music of Time Moreland TV Mini Series
1997 Spark Ashley Parkerwell TV Series
2000 Brotherly Love Frank Robertson TV Series
2000–2001 Chambers Hilary Tipping TV Series
2004 Family Business David TV Series – Episode #1.5
2004 Murder in Suburbia John Stanton TV Series – Episode: "A Good Deal of Attention"
2004 Monarch of the Glen Liam TV Series – Episode #6.6
2005 Sea of Souls Findlay Morrison TV Series – Episode: Amulet Part 1 & 2
2005, 2017 Midsomer Murders Ralph Plummer/Michael Falconer "Sauce for the Goose", "The Curse of the Ninth"
2007 Legit Peter TV Series – Episode: "Danny, Champion of the World"
2008 Harley Street Max Rogers TV Series – Episode #1.5
2008 Little Dorrit Frederick Dorrit TV Series
2009 Skins Martin TV Series
2009 Hotel Babylon Martin Armstrong TV Series
2010 Coronation Street Robbie Sloan TV Series
2011 Being Human George Senior TV Series
2012 Lewis Dr Alex Falconer TV Series – Episode: "The Soul of Genius"
2012 Comedy Showcase Arthur Marvin TV Series
2013 Death in Paradise Jeremy Tipping TV Series
2013 It's Kevin Various TV Series – Episodes #1.1, #1.3, #1.4 & #1.5
2013 Big Bad World Kevin TV Series – Episodes #1.1, #1.2, #1.4, #1.6 & #1.7
2013 Citizen Khan Professor Stevens TV Series
2013 Death Comes to Pemberley Mr Bennett TV Series
2014 Father Brown Dr Adam Crawford TV Series
2014 Bad Education Richard TV Series
2014 Blandings Colonel Fanshawe TV Series
2014 Plebs Gaius Maecenas TV Series
2014–2016 Outlander Reverend Wakefield TV Series, 6 episodes
2015 Love and Friendship Sir Reginald DeCourcy TV Movie
2015 Partners in Crime Major Anthony Carter TV Mini Series, 6 episodes
2015 Top Coppers Charles Leatherby TV Mini Series, 2 episodes
2016 Indian Summers Lord Hawthorne TV Series, 4 episodes
2016 Houdini and Doyle Dr Pilsen TV Series
2016 The Hollow Crown Hastings TV Series
2017 Tracey Ullman's Show Various – Archie / Awards Host / Tough Man TV Series
2017 Urban Myths The Professor TV Series
2017 Hospital People Neville Burley Episode: "The Charity Single"
2018 Unforgotten Chris Lowe TV Series, 6 episodes
2018 Patrick Melrose Sir Victor Eisen TV Mini Series, Episode: "Never Mind"
2019 Thanks for the Memories Patrick Conway TV Series – Episode #1.1 & #1.2
2020 The Watch Archchancellor of Unseen University TV Series
2020 The Pale Horse Oscar Venables TV Series
2020 Belgravia The Reverend Stephen Bellasis TV Series
2020-present Bridgerton King George III TV Series
2023 Tom Jones Squire Allworthy TV miniseries


Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Vacillations of Poppy Carew Victor BBC Radio 4[16]
1996–1999 Chambers Hilary Tripping BBC Radio 4
2000–2006 Revolting People Captain Brimshaw BBC Radio 4
2005 The Party Line Duncan Stonebridge MP BBC Radio 4
2005 The Spaceship Captain Gordon "Flashdance" Taylor BBC Radio 7
2006 Quartermaine's Terms Mark Sackling BBC Radio 4
2007–2012 The Castle Sir John Woodstock BBC Radio 4
2008 Brief Lives John Aubrey BBC Radio 4
2008 Fortunes of War Yakimov BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial
2008 Max Warp O'Reilley BBC Radio 7 / Big Finish Productions
2011 Gormenghast Prunesquallor BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial
2011 The History of Titus Groan BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial
2011 The Rivals Inspector Lestrade BBC Radio 4
2013 Greenmantle Sandy Arbuthnot BBC Radio 4 Extra
2018–2020 Quanderhorn Professor Darius Quanderhorn BBC Radio 4


Year Title Role Notes
2011 The Heretic directed by Jeremy Herrin Professor Kevin Maloney Royal Court Theatre
2011 The Ladykillers directed by Sean Foley Major Courtney Gielgud Theatre

Personal life[edit]

Fleet lives in Sibford Gower, Oxfordshire with his wife, Jane Booker, and their one son.[4]


  1. ^ BFI biodata
  2. ^ [1] Archived 12 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ James Fleet – Questions and Answers – Interview
  4. ^ a b James Fleet 'in his own words' http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/content/articles/2008/05/15/james_fleet_interview_feature.shtml
  5. ^ 20 questions at whatsonstage.com"20 Questions with ... James Fleet - - Interviews - Whatsonstage.com". Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  6. ^ Cast list of RSC productions of The Taming of the Shrew www.rscshakespeare.co.uk/tamingOfTheShrew.html
  7. ^ Cast list of RSC productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream www.rscshakespeare.co.uk/midSummerNightsDream.html
  8. ^ Cast list of RSC productions of Henry IV, Part Two www.rscshakespeare.co.uk/Henry4th_part2.html
  9. ^ Review in The Stage http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/13225/habeas-corpus
  10. ^ Cast list in The Stage http://www.thestage.co.uk/listings/production.php/22083/in-the-club-tour
  11. ^ Review in The Stage www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/8761/mary-stuart
  12. ^ Mike Joyce. "Dog and Duck". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2013. (Press Release)
  13. ^ BBC Press Pack for Little Dorrit http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2008/10 october/13/dorrit7.shtml
  14. ^ Series Two, Episode Seven, originally broadcast 25 August 2007
  15. ^ "Patricia Hodge Replaces The Late Diana Rigg On Channel 5/PBS Series 'All Creatures Great & Small'". Deadline.com. 8 April 2021. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  16. ^ Mary Wesley - The Vacillations of Poppy Carew. Retrieved 21 January 2023.

External links[edit]