Ralph Brown

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Ralph Brown
Brown on 26 March 2009
Ralph William John Brown

(1957-06-18) 18 June 1957 (age 66)
  • Actor
  • writer
Years active1982–present
(m. 1992)

Ralph William John Brown[1] (born 18 June 1957)[1] is an English actor and writer, known for playing Danny the drug dealer in Withnail and I,[2] the security guard Aaron (a.k.a. "85") in Alien 3, DJ Bob Silver in The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, super-roadie Del Preston in Wayne's World 2, the pilot Ric Olié in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,[3] and Henry Clinton in Turn: Washington's Spies. He won the Samuel Beckett Award for his first play Sanctuary written for Joint Stock Theatre Company in 1987, and the Raindance and Sapporo Film Festival awards for his first screenplay for the British film New Year's Day in 2001.

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Cambridge, the son of Heather R. and John F. W. Brown. He has 2 younger brothers, Paul and Andrew. He lived in Portsmouth, Hampshire until the age of seven, then moved to East Sussex where he attended Lewes Priory School. He graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1979.



His film roles include Dil's on-off boyfriend Dave in the Academy Award-winning film The Crying Game, Danny the drug dealer in Withnail & I, Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs in Buster, roadie Del Preston in Wayne's World 2, teacher and rugby league player Phil in Up 'n' Under, prison guard captain Mr Burton in Mean Machine, Sgt Major Harris in the Paul Schrader film Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, and CIA renegade Mr Collins alongside Wesley Snipes in The Contractor. In 1997, Brown appeared in Steven Spielberg's slavery epic Amistad. In 2007, he was cast in Caught in the Act, an independent British film. Brown starred as DJ Bob Silver in The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio (2009), written and directed by Richard Curtis, Huge directed by Ben Miller (2009), The Kid (2010), directed by Nick Moran, Mission: London, a Bulgarian comedy directed by Dimitar Mitoviski which premiered in Sofia on 13 April 2010, and Sus (2010), written by Barrie Keeffe and directed by Robert Heath. He worked on the film Killing Bono (2010) and the feature film Dark Tide (2010) in Cape Town, opposite Halle Berry, I, Anna (2011) with Gabriel Byrne and Charlotte Rampling, then went on to work on Tower Block (2012) in London, Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) directed by Bryan Singer, and Stoker (2013) in Nashville, directed by Park Chan-wook. In 2018 he appeared in Final Score with Dave Bautista, directed by Scott Mann, about West Ham United's now-abandoned Boleyn Ground. He worked with Will Smith in Ang Lee's Gemini Man (2019).


Among TV appearances, Brown appeared as PC Pete Muswell in The Bill from 1985 to 1986;[4] guest starred as Captain Carlisle in A Touch of Frost in 1996; appeared in Dennis Potter's Karaoke in 1995; portrayed Prince John in the BBC's adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe in 1997; appeared as John Geddes in the ITV post-apocalyptic drama serial The Last Train; appeared as the moustachioed policeman Wintersgill in the Channel 4/Showtime series Cape Wrath; and did a memorable turn as shaven-headed gang-boss "Miami Vice" in the 2000 series Lock, Stock...The Series.

In 2005, he appeared in Coronation Street as Barney, roadie to Status Quo, and with Julia Davis in the cult TV sitcom Nighty Night as perverted new-age sex therapist Jacques. In 2007, he appeared in the final two episodes of Life on Mars as Frank Morgan, an interim DCI in 1973 sequences, and Sam's (John Simm's) surgeon in 2006 sequences.[5]

Brown played Sarah Solemani's father in Him & Her, which began airing in 2010 and continued through 2014 for BBC Three comedy, winning a BAFTA for the final series, "The Wedding." In 2012, he worked on Inspector George Gently with Martin Shaw, The Poison Tree for ITV, and The Mimic for C4. In 2013, he worked on the aborted Marvin Gaye film Sexual Healing directed by Julian Temple, and the ABC series The Assets in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2014, he was cast in Babylon for C4 and Elementary for CBS, followed by TURN: Washington's Spies for AMC, playing General Sir Henry Clinton, leader of the redcoats. Brown returned for seasons 3 and 4 of the series. He also played Johann Fennhoff / Ivchenko, in Agent Carter for Marvel,[6] and guest starred on Blacklist.

In 2015 Brown starred in all ten episodes of Legends[7] with Sean Bean, with whom he had worked on Extremely Dangerous in the early 1990s. In 2016-17 he returned to Prague with showrunner Ken Biller to shoot Genius: Einstein for Nat Geo, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2017.

In June 2016, Brown played the role of Bob Clay in the BBC film Reg.[8]

In September 2017 Brown travelled to Guadeloupe for a guest role in the BBC show Death In Paradise.

In 2021, Brown portrayed former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in two episodes of Godfather of Harlem, a series on EPIX which explores the intersection between the criminal underworld and civil rights movement in the 1960s.[9]


In his early years, Brown was involved with the Moving Parts Theatre Company with Rachel Feldberg, Ruth Mackenzie, Anita Lewton, and Saffron Myers. John Godber adapted A Clockwork Orange for Man In The Moon, King's Road, then Brown appeared in West written & directed by Steven Berkoff at the Donmar for five months (also shot for C4), followed by Royal Court Theatre's Panic, Joint Stock's Deadlines, The RSC's Earwig by Paula Milne, and The Everyman in Liverpool playing the title role in Macbeth. He retired from the stage shortly thereafter, and returned briefly 20 years later at The Bush Theatre to play guitar in punk play The Dysfunkshonalz by writer Mike Packer. After only appearing in one play in 30 years Brown joined the company of The Ferryman on Broadway in February 2019[10] which won four Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Director, Best Set Design and Best Costume. Brown starred as IRA Commander Jimmy Muldoon in The Ferryman, which played at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre from 19 February until 7 July 2019.

As a writer[edit]

Ralph Brown wrote the play Sanctuary for Joint Stock Theatre Company in 1987 which toured the UK and won the Samuel Beckett Award in 1987 for best first play.

The No-Neck Monsters Theatre Company brought the playwright and actor to Washington, D.C. from London to adapt his 1987 Samuel Beckett Award-winning new play Sanctuary.[11] Re-written as a rap musical for the "No Necks", the show became a successful and controversial production capturing homelessness, runaways and crack hitting the streets of D.C. Scott Davenport Richards wrote the music for the rap musical and it was directed by Gwendolyn Wynne.[11] The first rap musical in the region The Washington Post, NPR, American Theatre Magazine and McNeil/Lehrer Newshour amongst others reported on the production.[12] The production was nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards:[13] Outstanding Resident Musical, Outstanding Lead Actress (Deidre L. Johnson) in a Resident Musical, and Outstanding Sound Design. Performers featured were Teagle F. Bougere, Erik Todd Dellums, Paul G. Griffin, Deidra L. Johnson, Helen Patton and Barbara Robinson.


Brown has written two plays, both rap musicals: Sanctuary for Joint Stock Theatre Company (Samuel Beckett Award 1987), adapted for the stage in Washington, D.C., as Sanctuary D.C. produced by No-Neck Monsters Theatre Company (three nominations for Helen Hayes Award 1988). His second play The House That Crack Built has never been produced.

Brown wrote the screenplay for the film New Year's Day directed by Suri Krishnamma in 1999, released in 2001 after screening at Sundance Film Festival and winning Raindance Film Festival award in 2001 and Sapporo Film Festival in the same year.

Brown also wrote the screenplays for the abandoned films Red Light Runners, High Times and In God's Footsteps.

He was a regular contributor to the Readers Recommend music blog in The Guardian, now at Song-Bar.com

Social media[edit]

Brown joined Twitter in November 2008.[14] His blog is titled My Pop Life.

Personal life[edit]

Brown has been married to actress Jenny Jules since 1992.[citation needed] He lives in New York City and is a lifelong fan of Brighton and Hove Albion. When Attila the Stockbroker was the club's DJ at the Withdean Stadium, he put together a version of Sussex by the Sea which featured Brown on saxophone and was played at home matches.[15]


Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
1982 The Merry Wives of Windsor John TV film
1984 The Hit Second Man
1985-1986 The Bill P.C. Pete Muswell 11 episodes
1986 London's Burning: The Movie Second Policeman TV film
1987 Withnail & I Danny
1988 Screenplay Insp. Drury 1 episode
Buster Ronnie Biggs
Christabel Lange TV mini-series
1 episode
1989 Scandal Paul Mann
Rules of Engagement Mick Rendall TV mini-series
5 episodes
Diamond Skulls Jack
1990 Mistress of Suspense Detective Inspector Rollason 1 episode
1991 4 Play Archie Heckle 1 episode
Impromptu Eugène Delacroix
The Pope Must Die Doctor
1992 Van der Valk Inspector Rep 1 episode
Alien 3 Francis Aaron ("85")
The Crying Game Dave
The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Peter Mullin 1 episode
1993 Undercover Blues Leamington
Between the Lines D.A.C. John Convey 1 episode
Wayne's World 2 Del Preston
1994 Don't Get Me Started Larry Swift
Requiem Apache Mick TV film
1995 Devil's Advocate Demagio TV film
1996 A Touch of Frost Captain Carlisle 1 episode
Dalziel and Pascoe Sam Connon 1 episode
Karaoke Peter Beasley 1 episode
Cold Lazarus Peter Beasley 1 episode
1997 The Place of the Dead Sgt Bob Mann TV film
Ivanhoe Prince John TV mini-series
6 episodes
Jonathan Creek Roy Pilgrim 1 episode
Amistad Lieutenant Gedney
1998 Up 'n' Under Phil
A Respectable Trade Dr. Hadley TV mini-series
2 episodes
1999 Peak Practice Stephen Westwood 1 episode
The Last Train Jonathan Geddes 2 episodes
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Ric Olié
Cleopatra Guevarius TV mini-series
2 episodes
Extremely Dangerous Joe Connor 4 episodes
2000 Lexx Duke 4 episodes
New Year's Day Mr. Diamond Also writer
Lock, Stock... Miami Vice 7 episodes
2001 NCS: Manhunt Ray du Barriatte TV film
The Grimleys Frankie Fate 1 episode
Waking the Dead Mike Coleman 2 episodes
Last Run Simon
Mean Machine Burton
2002 NCS: Manhunt Ray du Barriatte 5 episodes
A Tribute to the Likely Lads Gary TV film
The Final Curtain Timothy (Channel Controller)
2003 The Agency Andrei Kachan 1 episode
I'll Be There Digger
2004 Exorcist: The Beginning Sergeant Major
Lawless Phil Howell TV film
2005 Big Dippers Dave TV film
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Sergeant Major
Puritan Mickey Conway
Stoned Gysin
Nighty Night Jacques 6 episodes
Spooks Paul Seymour 1 episode
Coronation Street Barney 6 episodes
2006 Cattle Drive Truesdale 4 episodes
Eragon Psychic Twins Additional Scene
Modern Toss Various 6 episodes
2007 Cold Blood Bob Massum 7 episodes
Flood Mel's Dad
Life on Mars Frank Morgan 2 episodes
Straightheads Jamie
The Contractor Jeremy Collins Direct-to-Video Film
Cape Wrath Wintersgill 8 episodes
Nearly Famous Dominic Soloman 5 episodes
2008 Caught in the Act Joep
2009 The Boat That Rocked DJ Bob
2010 The Guards Sutton TV film
Mission London Detective Collway
The Kid Gordon Peters
Sus Karn
Huge Neil
Copelia Hathaway Short
2010–2013 Him & Her Nigel 8 episodes
2011 The Trigger Gamekeeper Short
Killing Bono Leo
2012 I, Anna George Stone
Dark Tide Brady
Tower Block Neville
2013 Stoker Sheriff Howard
Jack the Giant Slayer General Entin
All Things to All Men McDeer
Walking with the Enemy Grudez
2014 Elementary Tim Sherrington 2 episodes
2015 Agent Carter Johann Fennhoff / Ivchenko 4 episodes
The Blacklist Roger Hobbs Episode: "Vanessa Cruz (No. 117)"
Legends Terrence Graves 10 episodes
Hard Tide Gaz
2015–2017 Turn: Washington's Spies General Henry Clinton 12 episodes
2016 Reg Bob Clay TV movie
Jackie Dave Powers
2017 Genius: Einstein Max Planck 6 episodes
2018 Death in Paradise Charlie Blake S7E7
Final Score Steed
2019 Gemini Man Del Patterson
2021–2023 Godfather of Harlem President Lyndon Johnson 4 episodes
2022 New Amsterdam Sid Chiltern Episode: "The Crossover"
2023 Leverage: Redemption Ramsey Episode: "The Museum Makeover Job"
Genie Sorcerer
Year Title Role
2018 Red Dead Redemption II The Local Pedestrian Population
2022 Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Ric Olié


  1. ^ a b "Ralph Brown Biography (1957–)". filmreference.com.
  2. ^ "Withnail's Ralph Brown". Telegraph. 2016.
  3. ^ "Actor Ralph Brown: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".
  4. ^ Crocker, Oliver (2020). Witness Statements: Making The Bill: Series 1-3. Devonfire Books. ISBN 978-1838281908.
  5. ^ "The Bill Podcast 17 - Ralph Brown (PC Pete Muswell)". The Bill Podcast.
  6. ^ "Actor Ralph Brown: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy on Marvel.
  7. ^ "Ralph Brown & Klara Issova Round Out 'Legends' Cast". Deadline. 9 July 2015.
  8. ^ "BBC One: Reg". BBC Online. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  9. ^ "EPIX | Hit Movies, TV Series and More". www.epix.com.
  10. ^ "BWW Exclusive: Meet Broadway Couple Jenny Jules and Ralph Brown!".
  11. ^ a b Brown, Joe (6 December 1988). "The Washington Post". Sanctuary: Worthy but Unresolved.
  12. ^ Greer, Ann (1 January 1989). "American Theatre Magazine". "Rap Musical About D.C's Homeless, Ralph Brown's Sanctuary crosses the Atlantic".
  13. ^ Brown, Joe (22 March 1989). "The Washington Post". Arena Top Hayes Nominee, Local Theater Awards Contenders Announced.
  14. ^ "Ralph Brown Official Twitter". Twitter.
  15. ^ "'Goosebump moments', Greasy Chip Butties & Ange's Angels – how clubs soundtrack their victories". The Athletic. 24 March 2024. Retrieved 27 March 2024.

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