Matthew Macfadyen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Matthew Macfadyen
Matthew Macfadyen 2019.jpg
Macfadyen in 2019
Born (1974-10-17) 17 October 1974 (age 48)
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1995–present
(m. 2004)

David Matthew Macfadyen (/məkˈfædiən/; born 17 October 1974) is an English actor known for his performances on stage and screen. He gained prominence for his role as Mr. Darcy in Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice (2005) for which he received a London Film Critics' Circle nomination for Best Newcomer. He currently stars as Tom Wambsgans in the HBO drama series Succession (2018-present) for which he has received a Primetime Emmy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.[1]

Macfayden is also known for his roles in films such as Death at a Funeral (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008), Anna Karenina (2012), The Assistant (2019), and Operation Mincemeat (2021). He made his television debut in 1998 as Hareton Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights. He portrayed Tom Quinn in the BBC One spy series Spooks (2002-04, 2011), and Inspector Edmund Reid in the BBC mystery series Ripper Street (2012-2016). He also starred as Henry Wilcox in Kenneth Lonergan's miniseries Howards End and Charles Ingram in the Stephen Frears' limited series Quiz (2020).

Early life[edit]

Macfadyen in 2007

Macfadyen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the son of Meinir (née Owen), a drama teacher and former actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil engineer.[2][3][4] His paternal grandparents were Scottish and his maternal grandparents were Welsh.[2][5] Macfadyen was brought up in a number of places, including Jakarta, Indonesia, as a result of his father's occupation.[2] He attended schools in England (including in Louth, Lincolnshire), Scotland and Indonesia, and went to Oakham School in Rutland, before being accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at 17. As a student, he was inspired by Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, which he thought was "[a]n example to follow – an example of people acting with each other...", and "[f]eatured just the most extraordinary acting I'd ever seen".[6]


After having studied at the RADA from 1992 to 1995, Macfadyen became known in British theatre primarily for his work with the stage company Cheek by Jowl, for which he played Antonio in The Duchess of Malfi, Charles Surface in The School for Scandal, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. His Benedick was played as an officer-class buffoon with a moustache and a braying laugh. In 2005, he played Prince Hal in Henry IV, Parts One and Two at the Royal National Theatre, with Michael Gambon in the role of Falstaff. In 2007, he returned to the stage, portraying an American, Clay, a stay-at-home father with a liberal attitude in the play The Pain and the Itch.

A TV breakthrough came when he appeared as Hareton Earnshaw in an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, screened on the ITV network in 1998. Further television drama work followed, including starring roles in the dramas Warriors (1999) and The Way We Live Now (2001), both for the BBC. Also in 2001, he earned acclaim for his starring role in the BBC Two drama serial Perfect Strangers, which was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. In 2002, he starred in The Project, a BBC drama charting New Labour's rise to power. He starred in Spooks, which became a success when screened on BBC One. A longer second season was screened in 2003, and a third season was broadcast in autumn 2004, with him leaving the series in the second episode. The series was aired as MI-5 on the A&E Network. In 2007 he appeared in the one-off Channel 4 drama Secret Life, which dealt with paedophilia.[7] Macfadyen won the Best Actor award at the Royal Television Society 2007 Awards for this part, and was nominated for a BAFTA. He also appeared in a short sketch for Comic Relief as the bridegroom in Mr. Bean's Wedding, alongside Rowan Atkinson and Michelle Ryan.

Bust of Mr. Darcy played by Matthew Macfadyen in Pride & Prejudice

Macfadyen appeared in films including Enigma (released in 2001), and In My Father's Den, for which he received the New Zealand Screen Award for Best Actor.[8] He starred as the romantic lead Fitzwilliam Darcy in an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, released in the UK in September 2005.

Macfadyen starred in Frank Oz's Death at a Funeral and the film Incendiary, based on Chris Cleave's novel alongside Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor. He also appeared in Ron Howard's film Frost/Nixon, in which he played John Birt. In 2008, he played the male lead Arthur Clennam in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit. In 2009 Macfadyen appeared alongside Academy Award-nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter in the BBC Four movie Enid, based on the life of Enid Blyton, as Hugh Pollock, Blyton's publisher and first husband.

In 2010, he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood. He starred as Prior Philip in the TV serial The Pillars of the Earth, and was the middle-aged Logan Mountstuart in Any Human Heart. In June 2010, Macfadyen won a British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Criminal Justice.

In 2011, Macfadyen made a final cameo in the BBC show Spooks, and in 2012, he played Oblonsky in Joe Wright's film, Anna Karenina. In December 2012 he began portraying Detective Inspector Edmund Reid in BBC One's Ripper Street.

In 2013-14 he played Jeeves in the production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End of London. The play won the 2014 Olivier award for Best New Comedy.[9][10][11]

In 2015 Amazon Prime picked up Ripper Street and, after good reviews, it was recommissioned for fourth and fifth seasons. Macfadyen said he was "delighted to be embarking on another dose of Ripper Street – blood and guts, pocket watches and Victorian headgear, wonderfully dark, moving and mysterious story lines from Mr Richard Wardlow".[12] The series also aired in the U.S. on BBC America. Also in 2015, he guest starred in the pilot episode of The Last Kingdom.

He currently stars as Tom Wambsgans in the HBO series Succession, for which he has received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and in 2022, a Primetime Emmy Award win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

In 2020, he appeared in the role of Major Charles Ingram in a three-part ITV drama, Quiz, based on the controversial coughing cheat scandal on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in 2001.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In 2002, Macfadyen began a relationship with his Spooks co-star Keeley Hawes. They were married in November 2004.[14] The couple have two children.[14][15] Macfadyen is stepfather to Hawes's son from her previous marriage.[16] The couple are patrons of the Lace Market Theatre in Nottingham.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Maybe Baby Nigel
2001 Enigma Lt. Cave
2002 The Project Paul Tibbenham
2003 The Reckoning King's Justice
2004 In My Father's Den Paul Prior
2005 Pride & Prejudice Fitzwilliam Darcy
2006 Middletown Gabriel Hunter
2007 Grindhouse Eye Gouging Victim Segment: Don't
Death at a Funeral Daniel Howells
2008 Incendiary Terence Butcher
Frost/Nixon John Birt
2010 Robin Hood Sheriff of Nottingham
2011 The Three Musketeers Athos
2012 Anna Karenina Oblonsky
2014 Lost in Karastan Emil Forester
2015 The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music Georg von Trapp
2016 Revolution: New Art for a New World Vladimir Lenin (voice) Documentary
2017 The Current War J. P. Morgan
2018 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Benjamin Stahlbaum
2019 The Assistant Wilcock
2021 Operation Mincemeat Charles Cholmondeley


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Wuthering Heights Hareton Earnshaw Television movie
1999 Warriors Alan James
2000 Murder Rooms: Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes Brian Waller Episode: "The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes: Part 1"
2001 Perfect Strangers Daniel Symon 3 episodes
2001 The Way We Live Now Sir Felix Carbury 4 episodes
2002–2004, 2011 Spooks Tom Quinn 19 episodes
2007 Mr. Bean's Wedding The Groom Short video
2007 Secret Life Charlie Television movie
2008 Ashes to Ashes Gil Hollis Episode #1.7
2008 Little Dorrit Arthur Clennam 8 episodes
2008 Agatha Christie's Marple Inspector Neele Episode: "A Pocket Full of Rye"
2009 Enid Hugh Pollock Television movie
2009 Criminal Justice Joe Miller 3 episodes
2010 The Pillars of the Earth Prior Philip 8 episodes
2010 Any Human Heart Logan Mountstuart 4 episodes
2012–2016 Ripper Street Det. Insp. Edmund Reid 36 episodes
2013 Ambassadors Prince of Darkness 3 episodes
2015 The Enfield Haunting Guy Playfair
2015 The Last Kingdom Lord Uhtred Episode #1.1
2016 Churchill's Secret Randolph Churchill Television movie
2017 Howards End Henry Wilcox 4 episodes
2018–present Succession Tom Wambsgans Main role
2020 Quiz Maj. Charles Ingram 3 episodes
TBA Stonehouse John Stonehouse Main role; upcoming drama[18]


Year Title Author Notes Ref.
2000 The Voyage of the Beagle Charles Darwin BBC Radio 4 [19]
2001 Trampoline Meredith Oakes BBC Radio 4 [20]
2004 The Coma Alex Garland audio book [21]
2004 Getting Away From It: The Island Tim Pears BBC Radio 4 [22]
2005 Stories We Could Tell Tony Parsons audio book [23]
2007 The Making of Music BBC Radio 4 [24]


Year Title Notes Ref.
2003 Essential Poems (To Fall in Love With) BBC Two [25]
2004 The Hungerford Massacre BBC One [26]
2006 The 9/11 Liars Channel 4 [27]
2006 Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial BBC Two [28]
2007 The Blair Years BBC One [29]
2007 Last Party at the Palace Channel 4 [30]
2008 Dangerous Jobs for Girls Channel 4 [31]
2008 Words of War ITV1 [32]
2009 Wine BBC Four [33]
2009 Inside MI5 ITV1
2014 Horse Power Sky Atlantic


Year Title Role Playwright Venue Ref.
1994 The Crimson Island Dymogatsky Mikhail Bulgakov Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts [34]
Lorca's Death Rafael/Intellect Ben Benison [35]
The Feigned Inconstancy Chevalier Marivaux [36]
The Beggar's Opera Macheath John Gay [37]
1995 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Chief Bromden Dale Wasserman [38]
The Libertine John Wilmot Stephen Jeffreys [39]
My Funny Valentine Solo Performer
The Duchess of Malfi Antonio Bologna John Webster Cheek by Jowl [40]
1996 A Midsummer Night's Dream Demetrius Shakespeare Royal Shakespeare Company [41]
1998 Much Ado About Nothing Benedick Cheek by Jowl [42]
The School for Scandal Charles Surface Richard Brinsley Sheridan Royal Shakespeare Company [43]
1999 Battle Royal Mr. Brougham Nick Stafford Royal National Theatre [44]
2005 Henry IV Prince Hal Shakespeare [45]
2006 Total Eclipse Paul Verlaine Christopher Hampton reading at Royal Court Theatre [46]
2007 The Pain and the Itch Clay Bruce Norris Royal Court Theatre [47]
2010 Private Lives Elyot Chase Noël Coward Vaudeville Theatre [48]
2013 Perfect Nonsense Jeeves David and Robert Goodale Duke of York's Theatre

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2005 British Independent Film Awards Best Actor In My Father's Den Nominated [49]
2006 London Critics Circle Film Awards Best Newcomer Pride & Prejudice Nominated
2008 Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture Frost/Nixon Nominated
2008 British Academy Television Awards Best Actor Secret Life Nominated
2010 Best Supporting Actor Criminal Justice Won
2019 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Succession Nominated
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2022 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2022 British Academy Television Awards Best Supporting Actor Won [50]
2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Won [51]


  1. ^ "Bafta TV Awards 2022: All the winners from British TV's biggest night". 8 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Cavendish, Dominic (2 February 2010). "Matthew Macfadyen interview". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  3. ^ Macdonald, Marianne (12 September 2005). "Leading question". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  4. ^ "With 'Succession', Matthew Macfadyen finds himself a long way from Mr. Darcy". Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  5. ^ "A man of mystery; Graham Keal talks to Spooks star Matthew Macfadyen about the new series, his Welsh roots and being hounded by the paparazzi.(Features) – Daily Post (Liverpool)". 7 June 2003.[dead link]
  6. ^ Lamont, Tom (21 August 2011). "The Observer". The film that changed my life: Matthew Macfadyen. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  7. ^ "TV star defends paedophile role". Evening Times.
  8. ^ "In My Father's Den". New Zealand Film Commission. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  9. ^ Billington, Michael (13 November 2013). "Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense – review". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Jeeves & Wooster, Duke of York's, review". 13 November 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  11. ^ 2014 Laurence Olivier Awards
  12. ^ Vine, Richard (13 May 2015). "Ripper Street to return for two more series of 'blood, guts and pocket watches'". The Guardian.
  13. ^ "ITV has commissioned 'Quiz' a three-part drama directed by Stephen Frears starring Hollywood star, Michael Sheen". ITV Media. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  14. ^ a b Liz Hoggard (1 April 2010). "Ashes to Ashes star Keeley Hawes on surviving a shobiz marriage". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes welcome second child". 11 January 2007. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  16. ^ "Spencer McCallum". Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Lace Market Theatre - Patrons". Archived from the original on 22 June 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  18. ^ "ITV commissions real life drama, Stonehouse, starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes". Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  19. ^ RadioListings Database Archived 10 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ RadioListings Database Archived 23 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Login".
  22. ^ RadioListings Database Archived 23 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Audiobook is not available -
  24. ^ "BBC - Radio 4 The making of music - Homepage".
  25. ^ "BBC - Press Office - BBC TWO Essential Poems (To Fall in Love With)".
  26. ^ "BBC NEWS - UK - Magazine - How a gun massacre changed Britain". 7 December 2004.
  27. ^ "9/11 The Five Year Anniversary on Channel 4".
  28. ^ "BBC - History - Nazis on Trial".
  29. ^ "BBC - Press Office - The Blair Years part three: Blair in Power".
  30. ^ "Last Party at the Palace on Channel 4".
  31. ^ "Dangerous Jobs for Girls on Channel 4".
  32. ^ The Words of War on ITV Archived 12 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "Wine News". Decanter.
  34. ^ "Au théâtre : The Crimson Island".
  35. ^ "Au théâtre : Lorca's Death".
  36. ^ "Au théâtre : The Feigned Inconstancy". Archived from the original on 22 September 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  37. ^ "Au théâtre : The Beggar's Opera". Archived from the original on 20 September 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  38. ^ "Au théâtre : One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest".
  39. ^ "Matthew Macfayden Theatre Credits". 17 May 2010.
  40. ^ Cheek by JowlArchived 30 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ RSC’s official archives Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Cheek by Jowl Archived 30 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ RSC’s official archives[permanent dead link]
  44. ^ "National Theatre".
  45. ^ "National Theatre".
  46. ^ "London Theatre Tickets, Theatre News and Reviews - WhatsOnStage". whatsonstage. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007.
  47. ^ "The Pain and the Itch at The Royal Court Theatre". Archived from the original on 29 June 2012.
  48. ^ "Vaudeville Theatre". London Theatreland.
  49. ^ "Mathew Macfayden - Awards". Internet Movie Database.
  50. ^ "BAFTA Television 2022: The Nominations". 29 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  51. ^ Schneider, Jordan Moreau,Michael; Moreau, Jordan; Schneider, Michael (12 July 2022). "Emmys 2022: The Complete Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved 12 July 2022.

External links[edit]