Mark Williams (actor)

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Mark Williams
Williams wearing a blue checked shirt with top buttons undone covered by a navy blue gilet with brown shoulder pads
Williams in 2017
Born (1959-08-22) 22 August 1959 (age 64)
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • presenter
  • screenwriter
Years active1982–present

Mark Williams (born 22 August 1959)[1] is an English actor, comedian, presenter and screenwriter. He first achieved widespread recognition as one of the central performers in the popular BBC sketch show The Fast Show. His film roles include Horace in the 1996 version of 101 Dalmatians and Arthur Weasley in seven of the Harry Potter films. He made recurring appearances as Brian Williams in the BBC television series Doctor Who and as Olaf Petersen in Red Dwarf. Since 2013, Williams has portrayed the title character in the long-running BBC series loosely based on the Father Brown short stories by G. K. Chesterton.

Early life[edit]

Williams was born on 22 August 1959 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Educated at North Bromsgrove High School and then Brasenose College, Oxford, where he performed with the Oxford University Dramatic Society, he made a career as a theatre actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. He came to wider public attention through his appearances on the BBC television programmes, Alexei Sayle's Stuff and The Fast Show.[2] Williams has described the huge popularity of the latter show as a "double-edged sword", as it has led to his being seen by the public as a comedian rather than as an actor.[2]


Williams made his film début alongside fellow débutants Hugh Grant and Imogen Stubbs in the Oxford University Film Foundation production Privileged in 1982.[3]

His most famous cinema role is as Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, making his first appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002. Other high-profile appearances include the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro and Claire Danes in 2007 and a 2012 role in Doctor Who as Brian Williams, father of the Doctor's companion, Rory.[4]

Since 2013, he has appeared as the lead role in the BBC costume drama Father Brown. Williams also featured in the first series of Blandings, the BBC TV adaptation of the P. G. Wodehouse Blandings Castle stories, broadcast in 2013, in which he played Beach, the Emsworths' tipsy butler; he did not return for the show's second series, for which he was replaced by Tim Vine.

In 2014 and 2015, he presented the BBC daytime game show The Link. The show ran for two series. His other film roles include 101 Dalmatians and The Borrowers, both with Hugh Laurie.

Aside from his acting work, Williams has also presented several documentary programmes exploring his passion for industrial history:[5] Mark Williams' Big Bangs on the history of explosives, a follow-up to previous series Mark Williams on the Rails, Industrial Revelations and More Industrial Revelations.

Interviewed in 2014 by the Lancashire Evening Post, when asked if some people still saw him as a comedy actor, Williams replied, "Well, it's only a few people in the BBC. In America, they see me as a major British character actor, but unfortunately, the BBC is pretty parochial and people are institutionalised here."[6]

Personal life[edit]

Williams was married, [7] and has a daughter from a previous relationship, born in 2002.[8][failed verification]

In a 2005 interview Williams said he was a supporter of Aston Villa F.C.[9]

Despite playing Father Brown on television, Williams does not consider himself to be a religious man. In an interview with MuggleNet, he revealed: "I was brought up in the Church of England, so that’s part of my culture. But I don’t practise my religion. Father Brown believes in redemption, and he believes that we're all God's children, and he's a man of faith, so I respect him.” [10]



Year Title Role Notes
1982 Privileged Wilf
1987 Out of Order PC
1988 High Season Benny
1994 Prince of Jutland Aslak
1996 101 Dalmatians Horace
1997 The Borrowers Exterminator Jeff
1998 Shakespeare in Love Wabash
1999 Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? Roland Thornton
2000 High Heels and Low Lifes Tremaine
2001 Second Star To The Left Duke
2002 Anita and Me The Reverend 'Uncle' Alan
The Final Curtain Declan Farrell
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Arthur Weasley
2004 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London Inspector Crescent
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Arthur Weasley
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2006 A Cock and Bull Story Ingoldsby
2007 Stardust Billy the Innkeeper
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Arthur Weasley
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Flutter Raymond
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Arthur Weasley
Albert Nobbs Sean
2016 Golden Years Phil (Publican)
2022 Surprised by Oxford Professor Nuttham
TBA Lead Heads


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Coppers Constable Spud Murphy
The Storyteller Fearnot's brother Episode "Fearnot"
Red Dwarf Olaf Petersen Three episodes: "The End", "Balance of Power" and "Stasis Leak"
Alexei Sayle's Stuff First series, six episodes
1989 Tumbledown Lumpy
1990 Kinsey Danny
Making Out Manfred Episodes 1 and 2
KYTV Episode "Launch"
1991 Merlin of the Crystal Cave Cerdic
Bottom Boris Episode "Accident"
1993 The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer Don Powell Seven episodes 1993–1995
1994 Health and Efficiency Steven Episode "Cinderella Rockafeller"
The Fast Show Various characters 23 episodes 1994–2000
Chef! Policeman 2 Episode "Masterchef"
1995 The Big Game Tommy Hollis
Searching Gerald
Peak Practice Roland Grogan Episode "Life and Soul"
1998 The Fast Show Live Various characters
The Canterbury Tales Chanticleer Episode "Leaving London" – voice
Ted & Ralph Confirmed Bachelor
1999 Hunting Venus Peter
2000 Gormenghast Professor Perch
The Strangerers Cadet Flynn Nine episodes
2001 Fun at the Funeral Parlour Larry Nazareth Episode "The Jaws of Doom"
Industrial Revelations Himself Two series (as presenter)
2002 Shackleton Dudley Docker[citation needed]
2003 Grass Ben Six episodes
2004 Mark Williams on the Rails Himself Presenter
Carrie and Barry Kirk Twelve episodes
2006 Mark Williams' Big Bangs Himself Presenter
Saxondale Deggsy One episode
2007 Tumbledown Lumpy
2008 Sense and Sensibility (2008 TV series) Sir John Middleton
2009 Inspector George Gently Joe Bishop Episode "Gently into the Night"
Blood in the Water Jerry Hourihan
Agatha Christie's Marple Claud Evans Episode "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"
New Tricks David Beaumont Episode "The Truth is out There"
2010 The Indian Doctor Richard Sharpe[11] Five episodes
Merlin Voice of the Goblin Episode "Goblin's Gold"
2011 Frankenstein's Wedding Alphonse Frankenstein
2012 Being Human Regus
Hustle Dale Ridley
Doctor Who Brian Williams Episodes "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and "The Power of Three"
2013 Blandings Sebastian Beach Six episodes
Still Open All Hours Planter's Salesman
2013-Present Father Brown Father Brown Title character, 100(+) episodes
2014–2015 The Link Presenter BBC daytime game show
2015 Drunk History Robert Catesby Episode: "Episode Four"
2016 Twirlywoos Waiter Television series, "More About This Way, That Way"
2021 Midsomer Murders Pat Everett Episode: "The Wolf Hunter of Little Worthy"
The Dumping Ground Les Vegas Episode: "Old Friends"
2022 Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts Himself HBO Max Special
2022 Sister Boniface Mysteries Father Brown cameo Episode 1.4 "My Brother's Keeper"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2016 Lego Dimensions Arthur Weasley (voice)

Theme park rides[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2019 Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Arthur Weasley Face capture & voice only (stunt double used in pre-show)



  1. ^ "Mark Williams". IMDb. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Mark Williams: I'm not a comedian". 12 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Mark Williams". Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Other Series 7 stars announced". Tardis Times. 2012. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Mark Williams: Captain of industry". The Independent. 16 July 2013. Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  6. ^ "I'm a British character actor – not a comedian". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  7. ^ "To Mark Williams of 'Father Brown,' the actor's life is a leap of faith". Archived from the original on 25 April 2023. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  8. ^ "To Mark Williams of 'Father Brown,' the actor's life is a leap of faith". Archived from the original on 25 April 2023. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Mark Williams: Captain of industry" Archived 16 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine. The Independent, 21 September 2005. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  10. ^ "Mark Williams — things you didn't know about the 'Harry Potter' star". 9 June 2021. Archived from the original on 21 November 2021. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  11. ^ Ian Wolf. "The Indian Doctor – Production Details". British Comedy Guide. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2010.

External links[edit]