Reece Shearsmith

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Reece Shearsmith
Reece Shearsmith.jpg
Shearsmith in October 2003
Reeson Wayne Shearsmith

27 August 1969 (1969-08-27) (age 51)
EducationBretton Hall College
  • Actor
  • writer
  • comedian
  • producer
  • director
  • magician
Years active1995–present
Jane Shearsmith
(m. 2001)

Reeson Wayne "Reece" Shearsmith (born 27 August 1969) is an English actor, writer and comedian. He created, wrote and starred in sketch show The League of Gentlemen, along with Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss, and Jeremy Dyson.

He and Pemberton also created, wrote and starred in the dark comedy series Psychoville. The pair currently write and star in their anthology series The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville and Inside No. 9, Shearsmith plays multiple characters.

He had notable roles in Spaced, The World's End and the Doctor Who episode Sleep No More, as well as making a small appearance in Shaun of the Dead.

Early life[edit]

Shearsmith was born in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire as Reeson Wayne Shearsmith and went to Andrew Marvell High School and then Bretton Hall College of Education.[citation needed]


The League of Gentlemen began as a stage act in 1995, transferred to Radio 4 as On the Town with The League of Gentlemen in 1997 and then arrived on television on BBC Two in 1999.

The latter saw Shearsmith and his colleagues awarded a British Academy Television Award, a Royal Television Society Award and the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux.

Following The League of Gentlemen, Shearsmith appeared in comedy programmes including Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere as well as playing insane villain Tony in the Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer comedy Catterick.[1]

He appeared in two episodes of the award-winning pop-culture comedy Spaced as Robot Wars obsessed TA soldier Dexter and played neurotic Doctor Flynn in hospital sitcom TLC alongside Alexander Armstrong.

From March 2006 to January 2007, he appeared in the West End as Leo Bloom in The Producers.[2]

In the 2008 English language DVD release of the cult 2006 Norwegian animated film Free Jimmy, Shearsmith voiced the character of "Ante", a heavy-set, bizarrely-dressed biker member of the "Lappish Mafia". In this, his voice is used along with Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss.

Psychoville began June 2009 and marked his return to BBC2. The dark comedy series was written by Shearsmith and his League of Gentlemen writing partner Steve Pemberton. Both Shearsmith and Pemberton played numerous characters in the programme, which ran for two series and a Halloween special.

In 2010 Shearsmith appeared in the John Landis black comedy Burke and Hare[3][4]

In 2011, Cameron Mackintosh's new musical Betty Blue Eyes opened in the West End, in which Shearsmith played downtrodden husband Gilbert Chilvers (a chiropodist) alongside Sarah Lancashire.[5] Also in 2011, he played Harry Wiseman in Eric & Ernie, a feature-length TV drama about Morecambe and Wise.[citation needed]

In 2012, he appeared in Bad Sugar, a comedy pilot written by Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong, along with Olivia Colman, Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan. A full series order was cancelled due to availability of the writers and cast.[6] He also appeared in comedy pilot The Function Room.[7]

In 2013, he played Patrick Troughton in An Adventure in Space and Time, a docu-drama about the conception and making of Doctor Who, which was written by Mark Gatiss.[8]

He worked with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer again in the first series of House of Fools as Martin the ghost and in the Christmas special as Santa. He made two guest appearances in Jeremy Dyson's Psychobitches as Old Mother Shipton in series one and Princess Margaret in series two. Also in 2013, he starred in Ben Wheatley's A Field in England as Whitehead and appeared in The World's End.[citation needed]

In 2014, Shearsmith and Pemberton returned to BBC2 with a new dark comedy series called Inside No. 9. Each episode of the anthology series takes place in a different 'No. 9' location. Shearsmith and Pemberton play various characters in the series and have also directed two of the episodes. Also in 2014, he starred as Malcolm Webster in ITV drama series, based on a true story, The Widower.[9]

He starred as Detective Sergeant Stone in Chasing Shadows, an ITV drama series about missing persons.[10]

In 2015, he played Gagan Rassmussen in the Series 9 Doctor Who episode "Sleep No More", Steele in High-Rise directed by Ben Wheatley, Ray in Peter Kay's Car Share and Pastor John in the Christmas specials of Julia Davis's Hunderby.[11][12][13]

In February 2015, Shearsmith was interviewed by Adam Buxton on BBC Radio 4's Chain Reaction and he then interviewed Bob Mortimer.[14]

He appeared in Hangmen at the Royal Court Theatre from Thursday 10 September to Saturday 10 October 2015.[15]

In 2016, he appeared in Mid Morning Matters With Alan Partridge, American musical comedy series Galavant and dark comedy thriller Stag.[16][17]

He appeared live at Latitude Festival in Southwold, Suffolk.[18]

A Christmas special of Inside No. 9 aired in December 2016 and a third series in 2017.[19]

In 2017, he appeared in the title role in The Dresser at the Chichester Festival Theatre, as well as reuniting with The League of Gentlemen for three television specials, transmitted on BBC2 in December 2017.[citation needed]

Shearsmith appeared as himself in the 2018 short film To Trend on Twitter in aid of young people with cancer charity CLIC Sargent with fellow comedians David Baddiel, Steve Pemberton, Helen Lederer and actor Jason Flemyng.[20]

In 2020, he received a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as The President and Jon in A Very Expensive Poison at The Old Vic.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Reece is married to Jane Shearsmith, and they have two children together. His daughter Holly appears in the first episode of Psychoville as the birthday girl who gets a makeover from Mr Jelly the clown, played by Shearsmith.[22]


Year Title Role
1995 Alas Smith and Jones Actor
The League of Gentlemen Stage Show Writer/Actor
P.R.O.B.E. - The Devil of Winterborne Actor
1995 London's Burning Martin
1996 Friday Night Armistice Performer
P.R.O.B.E. - The Ghosts of Winterborne Actor
1997 In the Red Performer
Mash and Peas do U.S. Actor
Auton Actor
On The Town With The League of Gentlemen Writer/Actor
1998 Lenny Henry Goes to Town Actor
In the Red Actor
Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round Actor
1999 The League of Gentlemen, Series 1 Writer/Actor
This Year's Love Actor
2000 A Local Show For Local People Writer/Performer
The League of Gentlemen, Series 2 Writer/Actor
The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special Writer/Actor
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Actor
The League of Gentlemen - A Local Book For Local People Writer
2001 Spaced Actor
Coming Up Birthday Girl
A Local Show for Local People (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) Writer/Performer
2002 The League of Gentlemen, Series 3 Writer/Actor
TLC Actor
The League of Gentlemen, The Making of Series 3 Presenter
'Art' (Whitehall Theatre) Performer
Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe Voice Actor
2003 Mash and Peas Actor
2004 Catterick Actor
Shaun of the Dead Actor
The All Star Comedy Show - Monkey Trousers Performer
Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere Actor
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Voice Actor
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse Writer/Actor
Wyndham's Theatre Presents Shakespeare's As You Like It Performer
The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You (various venues) Writer/Performer
2006 The Producers (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) Performer
2007 Miss Marple: Ordeal by Innocence Actor
The Abbey (2007 TV series) Actor
Modern Men Performer
Ladies and Gentlemen: Comedy Showcase Actor
Christmas at the Riviera Actor
2008 Coming Up Lickle Bill Um
The Cottage Actor
The Common Pursuit at the Menier Chocolate Factory Performer
Free Jimmy Ante (voice)
2009 Psychoville Actor/Writer
Comedians at the Lyric Hammersmith Performer
Would I Lie to You? Performer
2010 The First Men in the Moon Actor
Burke and Hare Actor
The Bear Actor
Good Boy Actor
2011 Betty Blue Eyes (The Novello Theatre) Performer
2012 Comedy Showcase - The Function Room Actor
Swiftcover SwiftBrothers Advertising Campaign Voice Actor
Absent Friends Performer[23]
Henry IV Actor
Him Indoors Actor
Silent Night of the Living Dead Actor
2013 A Field in England Actor
Comedy Showcase - Bad Sugar Actor
An Adventure in Space and Time Actor, as Patrick Troughton
The World's End Actor
2014–present Inside No. 9 Actor/Writer/Director
2014 The Widower Malcolm Webster
Chasing Shadows DS Sean Stone
Dead Funny: Horror Stories by Comedians Writer
2015 Peter Kay's Car Share Ray the Fishmonger
Hangmen by Martin McDonagh - The Royal Court Theatre Syd Armfield[24]
High-Rise Nathan Steele
Doctor Who Gagan Rassmussen
2016 Galavant Neo of Sporin
Stag Wendy
Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge Jasper Jones
2016–present Diddy TV Mr. Stockholm
2017 The League of Gentlemen Actor [Multiple roles]
2019 Good Omens William Shakespeare


  1. ^ Bass, George (16 July 2015). "Catterick box set review: 'The most bonkers thing Reeves and Mortimer have ever done'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Culture". The Telegraph. 8 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Go Behind-the-Scenes of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron in Latest Video - Dread Central". 3 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Reece Shearsmith in Ghost Stories from 9 Nov 2010". London Theatre Guide. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Behind the scenes of 'Betty Blue Eyes'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  6. ^ Guide, British Comedy (22 July 2013). "Channel 4 confirm Bad Sugar series cancellation". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  7. ^ "The Function Room - what time is it on TV? Episode 0 Series 0 cast list and preview". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Doctor Who - Reece Shearsmith cast as Patrick Troughton". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  9. ^ "The Widower, review: Reece Shearsmith is in a league of his own". The Independent. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Chasing Shadows, ITV, episode 1, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Reece Shearsmith Joins 'Doctor Who' Cast for Season 9". BBC America.
  12. ^ "Episode 3, Peter Kay's Car Share - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Hunderby Specials". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Reece Shearsmith talks to Bob Mortimer, Series 10, Chain Reaction - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Reece Shearsmith cast in Hangmen at the Royal Court Theatre'". 17 July 2017.
  16. ^ "REVIEW: Alan Partridge's Mid Morning Matters S2 Ep4 - The Metropolist". The Metropolist. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  17. ^ ""It's a dark season" on Galavant, "and it's been all along"". 24 January 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Reece Shearsmith to appear at Latitude Festival". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  19. ^ Guide, British Comedy (30 October 2016). "Inside No. 9 returns at Christmas". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Top Comics Join Short Film". Chortle. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  21. ^ "Olivier Awards 2020 nominees include & Juliet, Dear Evan Hansen, James McAvoy and Andrew Scott". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  22. ^ Guide, British Comedy. "Psychoville trivia - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  23. ^ Billington, Michael (9 February 2012). "Absent Friends - review". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  24. ^ "Hangmen".

External links[edit]