Reece Shearsmith

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Reece Shearsmith
Shearsmith in 2021
Reeson Wayne Shearsmith

(1969-08-27) 27 August 1969 (age 54)
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 is best known for being a member of The League of Gentlemen, alongside Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss, and Jeremy Dyson. With Pemberton, he later created, wrote and starred in the sitcom Psychoville, as well as the dark comedy anthology series, Inside No. 9.

He has also had notable roles in Spaced and The World's End.

Early life[edit]

Shearsmith was born in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, as Reeson Wayne Shearsmith. He attended Andrew Marvell High School[1] and then Bretton Hall College of Education where he met Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton, fellow actors and comedians.[2]


1995–2005: Career beginnings and The League of Gentlemen[edit]

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 villain Tony in the Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer comedy Catterick.[3]

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.

2005–2013: Theatre, Psychoville and continued success[edit]

From March 2006 to January 2007, he appeared in the West End as Leo Bloom in The Producers.[4]

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.[5][6][7][8] 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 & Hare.[9][10]

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.[11] 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.[12] He also appeared in comedy pilot The Function Room.[13]

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.[14]

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]

2014–present: Inside No. 9 and ITV dramas[edit]

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.[15] Also in 2014, he starred as Malcolm Webster in ITV drama series, based on a true story, The Widower.[16]

He starred as Detective Sergeant Stone in Chasing Shadows, an ITV drama series about missing persons.[17][18]

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’ Hunderby.[19][20][21] In February 2015, Shearsmith was interviewed by Adam Buxton on BBC Radio 4's Chain Reaction and he then interviewed Bob Mortimer.[22]

He appeared in Hangmen at the Royal Court Theatre from Thursday 10 September to Saturday 10 October 2015.[23]

In 2016, he appeared in Mid Morning Matters With Alan Partridge, American musical comedy series Galavant and dark comedy thriller Stag.[24][25] He appeared live at Latitude Festival in Southwold, Suffolk.[26]

A Christmas special of Inside No. 9 aired in December 2016 and a third series in 2017.[27]

In 2017, Shearsmith appeared in the part-animated film Borley Rectory: The Most Haunted House in England. It was written and directed by Ashley Thorpe and co-starred Jonathan Rigby.[28] Shearsmith also 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.[29][30][31]

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.[32]

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.[33]

In 2021, he appeared as a contestant in the 4th series of The Great British Bake Off For Stand Up To Cancer.[34] For his performance in Series 5 of Inside No. 9, Shearsmith received a nomination for Best Male Comedy Performance at the 2021 British Academy Television Awards.[35][36] In December 2021, Shearsmith and Pemberton toured the UK as Inside No.9: An Evening With Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton answering fan questions and share behind-the-scenes stories from the series.[37]

In April 2022, Shearsmith once again co-wrote and starred in the seventh series of Inside No. 9. The series premiered on 20 April 2022.[38] In May 2022, Shearsmith starred as Peter in The Unfriend, alongside Frances Barber and Amanda Abbington. The play was written by Steven Moffatt and directed by Mark Gatiss.[39] The play transferred to the West End in 2023.[40] In September 2022, Shearsmith starred in Tom George's film See How They Run, where he played British film producer John Woolf. On the Empire Podcast episode # 532, recorded on 10 September 2022, Shearsmith announced that he had filmed a part in Emerald Fennell's upcoming thriller film Saltburn, about an aristocratic English family.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Shearsmith and his wife, Jane, have two children.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 P.R.O.B.E. – The Devil of Winterborne Andrew Powell Video
1996 P.R.O.B.E. – The Ghosts of Winterborne Andrew Powell Video short
1997 Auton Dr Daniel Matthews Video
1999 This Year's Love Tourist
2001 Birthday Girl Porter
2004 Shaun of the Dead Mark
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Additional Vogon voices
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse Various Also writer
2006 Free Jimmy Ante (voice) English dub
The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You! Various Video
2008 The Cottage Peter
2010 Burke and Hare Sergeant Mackenzie
Good Boy Underdog Short film
2012 Him Indoors Gregory Brewster Short film
2013 A Field in England Whitehead
The World's End Collaborator
2015 High-Rise Nathan Steele
2017 Borley Rectory V. C. Wall
2021 In the Earth Zach
2021 Venom: Let There Be Carnage Priest
2022 See How They Run John Woolf
2023 Saltburn Filming
Denotes films that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Alas Smith and Jones Unknown
London's Burning Martin Episode #8.2
1996 Friday Night Armistice Performer
Mash and Peas Jerry Berkowi Episode: "American Sitcoms"
1998 Lenny Goes to Town Unknown Episode: "Brighton"
Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round Phillip Arthurs Episode #1.5
In the Red Broadcast Journalist 3 episodes
1999–2002, 2017 The League of Gentlemen Various 22 episodes; also writer
2000 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Helium Harry Episode: "Two Can Play at That Game"
2001 Spaced Dexter 2 episodes
2002 TLC Dr. Laurence Flynn 6 episodes
Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe Viking (voice) Television film
2004 Catterick Tony 6 episodes
Monkey Trousers Various Television film
Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere Bobster Episode #1.3
2007 The Abbey Dr. Darren Television film
Agatha Christie's Marple Inspector Huish Episode: "Ordeal by Innocence"
Modern Men Actor
Comedy Showcase Freddie Episode: "Ladies and Gentlemen"
Christmas at the Riviera Ashley Television film
2008 New Tricks Jeremy Kirk Episode: "A Face for Radio"
Coming Up Lickle Bill Um Episode: "Lickle Bill Um"
2009 Would I Lie to You? Himself Episode #3.8
Mid Life Christmas Vicar Television film
2009–2011 Psychoville Various 14 episodes; also writer
2010 The First Men in the Moon Moon Television film
The Bear Luka Television film
2011 Eric and Ernie Harry Wiseman Television film
2012 The Hollow Crown Davy Episode: "Henry IV, Part II"
Comedy Showcase P.C. Bracket Episode: "The Function Room"
Swiftcover SwiftBrothers advertising campaign Voice actor
Comedy Showcase Greg Episode: "Bad Sugar"
Silent Night of the Living Dead Actor
2012–2013 Horrible Histories Hollywood Producer #1 10 episodes
2013 An Adventure in Space and Time Patrick Troughton Television film
2013–2014 Psychobitches Various 2 episodes
2014 The Widower Malcolm Webster 3 episodes
Chasing Shadows DS Sean Stone 4 episodes
House of Fools Martin / Santa 2 episodes
Dead Funny: Horror Stories by Comedians Writer
2014–present Inside No. 9 Various Also writer and director; 45 episodes
2015 Peter Kay's Car Share Ray the Fishmonger Episode #1.3
Doctor Who Gagan Rassmussen Episode: "Sleep No More"
Hunderby Pastor John 2 episodes
2016 Galavant Neo of Sporin Episode: "Love and Death"
Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge Jasper Jones Episode: "Jasper + Chef"
Stag Wendy 2 episodes
Diddy TV Mr. Stockholm 4 episodes
2019 Good Omens William Shakespeare
Season 1: 1 episode

Season 2: 3 episodes

2019-present The Adventures of Paddington Mr. Curry (voice)
2021 The Great British Bake Off For Stand Up To Cancer Himself/contestant Episode #4.3
Foundation Jerril 2 episodes
2022 The Witchfinder Matthew Hopkins Series 1 Episode 6


Year Title Role Notes
1995 The League of Gentlemen Various Stage show; also writer
2001 A Local Show for Local People Various Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; also writer
2002 'Art' Yvan Whitehall Theatre
2005 The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You! Performer Various venues; also writer
2005 As You Like It Jacques Wyndham's Theatre
2006 The Producers Leo Bloom Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
2008 The Common Pursuit Nick Menier Chocolate Factory
2009 Comedians Phil Murray Lyric Hammersmith
2010 Ghost Stories Professor Phillip Goodman Duke of York's Theatre
2011 Betty Blue Eyes Gilbert Chilvers Novello Theatre
2012 Absent Friends Colin[42] Harold Pinter Theatre
2014 Cool Rider Mr Stewart Lyric Theatre, London
2015 Hangmen Syd Armfield[43] Royal Court Theatre; by Martin McDonagh
2016 The Dresser Norman Duke of York's Theatre
2018 Hangmen Syd Armfield Atlantic Theater Company
2019 A Very Expensive Poison The President / Jon The Old Vic
2022 The Unfriend Peter Minerva Theatre, Chichester
2023 Criterion Theatre, London


Year Title Role
2000 A Local Book For Local People Writer


Year Title Role
1997 On The Town With The League of Gentlemen Writer/Actor
2012 Bird Island Ben Jones


  1. ^ Robinson, Hannah (15 February 2018). "Reece Shearsmith 'thrilled' to be back with 'fellow Hullites'". HullLive. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  2. ^ Guardian Staff (10 February 2001). "Interview with The League of Gentlemen". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Culture". The Telegraph. 8 March 2017. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007.
  5. ^ Dowell, Ben (9 October 2008). "League of Gentlemen duo back with BBC2 comedy Psychoville". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  6. ^ "TV Preview: Psychoville + panel discussion". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Psychoville". BBC. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
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  9. ^ "Go Behind-the-Scenes of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron in Latest Video – Dread Central". 3 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Reece Shearsmith in Ghost Stories from 9 Nov 2010". London Theatre Guide. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Behind the scenes of 'Betty Blue Eyes'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  12. ^ Guide, British Comedy (22 July 2013). "Channel 4 confirm Bad Sugar series cancellation". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  13. ^ "The Function Room – what time is it on TV? Episode 0 Series 0 cast list and preview". RadioTimes. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Doctor Who – Reece Shearsmith cast as Patrick Troughton". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  15. ^ O’Neill, Phelim (31 July 2014). "Inside No 9: a gutsy dark comedy of misery and mayhem – box set review". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  16. ^ "The Widower, review: Reece Shearsmith is in a league of his own". The Independent. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Chasing Shadows, ITV, episode 1, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  18. ^ Jones, Ellen (4 September 2014). "Chasing Shadows, TV Review: Reece Shearsmith's awkward detective is just like Sherlock - only with none of the skilful writing". Independent. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
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  20. ^ "Episode 3, Peter Kay's Car Share – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Hunderby Specials". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Reece Shearsmith talks to Bob Mortimer, Series 10, Chain Reaction – BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
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  24. ^ "REVIEW: Alan Partridge's Mid Morning Matters S2 Ep4 – The Metropolist". The Metropolist. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
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  28. ^ "Borley Rectory: The Most Haunted House in England (2017) - EOFFTV - the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television".
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  30. ^ Moreland, Alex (13 December 2017). "The League Of Gentlemen: everything you need to know about this cult comedy revival". Metro. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  31. ^ Wollaston, Sam (19 December 2017). "The League of Gentlemen review Royston Vasey: just as terrifying as ever". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  32. ^ "Top Comics Join Short Film". Chortle. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Olivier Awards 2020 nominees include & Juliet, Dear Evan Hansen, James McAvoy and Andrew Scott". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  34. ^ "A brand new batch of celeb bakers return to the tent". Stand Up To Cancer. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  35. ^ Morris, Lauren (1 June 2021). "Inside No. 9's Reece Shearsmith on his dream guest stars: "I think one of the Sirs or a Dame"". Radio Times. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  36. ^ "BAFTA TV 2021: The Winners and Nominations for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards". 28 April 2021.
  37. ^ Starkey, Adam (17 November 2021). "'Inside No. 9' stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton to tour UK in December". NME. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  38. ^ "TV tonight: Diane Morgan crashes The League of Gentlemen cast reunion". The Guardian. 20 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  39. ^ "Reece Shearsmith: 'I don't think I'm a comedian. I'm just an actor'". The Stage. Retrieved 18 March 2023.
  40. ^ "The Unfriend to transfer to the West End | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 18 March 2023.
  41. ^ Hewitt, Chris (16 September 2022). "'Empire Podcast # 532 — Reece Shearsmith". Empire. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  42. ^ Billington, Michael (9 February 2012). "Absent Friends – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Hangmen".

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