Toby Stephens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Toby Stephens
Stephens in 2018
Born (1969-04-21) 21 April 1969 (age 54)
Middlesex Hospital, Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, London W1
Years active1992–present
(m. 2001)
RelativesChris Larkin (brother)

Toby Stephens (born 21 April 1969) is a British actor who has appeared in films in the UK, US and India. He is known for the roles of Bond villain Gustav Graves in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day, for which he was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor, of William Gordon in the 2005 Mangal Pandey: The Rising film and Edward Fairfax Rochester in the 2006 BBC television adaptation of Jane Eyre. From 2014 to 2017, he starred as Captain Flint in the Starz television series Black Sails, followed by one of the lead roles in the Netflix science fiction series Lost in Space from 2018 to 2021. He is set to star as the Greek God Poseidon in the upcoming series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Early life[edit]

Seaford College

Stephens, the younger son of actors Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Robert Stephens, was born on 21 April 1969 at the Middlesex Hospital in Fitzrovia, London.[1] He was educated at Aldro School and Seaford College.[2][3] He then trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).[4]


Stephens began his film career with the role of Othello in 1992, in Sally Potter's Orlando. He has since made regular appearances on television (including in The Camomile Lawn, 1992) and on stage.

He played the title role in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Coriolanus shortly after graduation from LAMDA; that same season he played Claudio in Measure for Measure for the RSC. He played Stanley Kowalski in a West End production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, and Hamlet in 2004. He has appeared on Broadway in Ring Round the Moon. He played the lead in the film Photographing Fairies and played Orsino in Trevor Nunn's 1996 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. In 2002 he took on the role of Gustav Graves in the James Bond film Die Another Day. Aged 33 at the time of film's release, he remains the youngest actor to have played a Bond villain.[5]

In 2005 he played the role of a British Army captain in the Indian film, The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey, portraying events in the Indian rebellion of 1857. The following year he returned to India to play a renegade British East India Company officer in Sharpe's Challenge. In late 2006 he starred as Edward Rochester in the highly acclaimed BBC television adaptation of Jane Eyre (broadcast in the United States on PBS in early 2007) and The Wild West in February 2007 for the BBC in which he played General George Armstrong Custer in Custer's Last Stand.

During mid-2007, Stephens played the role of Jerry in a revival of Harold Pinter's Betrayal under the direction of Roger Michell. Later that year, Stephens starred as Horner in Jonathan Kent's revival of William Wycherley's The Country Wife. The play was the inaugural production of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company.[6]

Stephens in 2014

In February 2008, the Fox Broadcasting Company gave the go-ahead to cast Stephens as the lead in a potential one hour, prime time US television show, Inseparable, to be produced by Shaun Cassidy. Billed as a modern Jekyll and Hyde story, the show was to feature a partially paralysed forensic psychologist whose other personality is a charming criminal. Stephens' casting was highly unusual, because Fox had not yet approved a script nor purchased a pilot for the show. However, in mid-May 2008, The Hollywood Reporter announced that "[b]y the time the network picked up the pilot (...) [the producers'] hold on Stephens had expired (...)"[7][8]

In May 2008, Stephens performed the role of James Bond in a BBC Radio 4 production of Ian Fleming's Dr. No, as part of the centenary celebration of Fleming's birth. The production was reportedly the first BBC radio dramatisation of the novel though Moonraker was on South African radio in 1956, with Bob Holness providing the voice of Bond.[9] He has since appeared in a number of adaptations of other James Bond novels.

Also in May 2008, Stock-pot Productions announced that Stephens will have the lead role in a feature-length film entitled Fly Me, co-starring Tim McInnerny.[10] Stock-pot was the producer of One Day, a short 2006 film shown at international film festivals, in which Stephens played a small part as the boss of McInnerny's character.

On 5 October 2008, Stephens appeared onstage at the London Palladium as part of a benefit entitled "The Story of James Bond, A Tribute to Ian Fleming". The event, organised by Fleming's niece, Lucy Fleming, featured music from various James Bond films and Bond film stars reading from Fleming's Bond novels. Stephens took the part of James Bond himself in the readings.

In early December 2008, Stephens read from Coda, the last book written by friend Simon Gray, for BBC Radio 4. The excerpts from which Stephens read included Gray's description of his participation as godfather at the christening of Stephens' son Eli.

Early in 2009, Stephens appeared as Prince John in season 3 of the BBC series Robin Hood. The series aired on BBC America in the United States. Stephens appeared in two episodes of a six-part television series, Strike Back, based on the novel by Chris Ryan.[11] The series aired in May 2010.

In mid-2009, Stephens returned to the London stage in the Donmar Warehouse production of Ibsen's A Doll's House alongside Gillian Anderson and Christopher Eccleston.[12]

In 2010, he starred in the made-for-television film The Blue Geranium, a further sequel to the television series and films based on Agatha Christie's Miss Marple character.[13] The show was broadcast in the US on PBS in June 2010. Stephens starred as a highly self-centred detective opposite Lucy Punch in a three-part comedy television series for BBC Two entitled Vexed.[14]

Stephens took on a small supporting role in a short film, The Lost Explorer, the directorial debut of photographer Tim Walker. The film is based on a short story by author Patrick McGrath.[15]

On the London stage in the spring of 2010, Stephens received outstanding reviews for his performance as Henry in a revival of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, directed by Anna Mackmin at the Old Vic Theatre in London.[16] Of debuting at the Old Vic, where his parents performed as part of Laurence Olivier's Royal National Theatre Company, Stephens said: "It's quite moving for me to do something there. It means it has an added fascination. It was an historic place but I never saw anything when [my parents] were there, which is really sad, because I was just born. I'm a huge admirer of Stoppard's work."[17]

In 2010, Stephens appeared as Georges Danton in Danton's Death. The play was another debut for Stephens, this time at London's Royal National Theatre.[18][19]

Over the years, Stephens has continued to prolifically narrate audiobooks and perform in broadcast radio dramas. In January 2011, Stephens joined other stars in narrating portions of the King James Version of the Bible for BBC Radio 4 as part of a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Bible's publication. Stephens performed the role of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe in a radio serial, which debuted in February 2011. Stephens narrated another audiobook, Paul Temple and the Geneva Mystery, released in February 2011.

From 2014 to 2017, Stephens starred as Captain James Flint in the Starz television series Black Sails, a prequel to Treasure Island set in the early 18th century during the Golden Age of Piracy.[20]

In 2016, he was cast as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the film The Journey.[21]

Between 2018 and 2021, he appeared as John Robinson in Lost in Space, the Netflix remake of the 1965 TV series.[22] In 2021, he featured as Damian Cray in the second season of Alex Rider.[23]

He is set to appear as the Greek God Poseidon in upcoming series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Disney+ adaption of the books by the same name.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Stephens and New Zealand actress Anna-Louise Plowman were married in 2001. Their first child, son Eli Alistair, was born in May 2007.[25] The British playwright Simon Gray (who penned Japes, a stage play, and Missing Dates, a radio drama, both of which starred Stephens) was reported to be Eli's godfather.[26] Their daughters, Tallulah and Kura, were born in May 2009[27] and in September 2010, respectively.[28]

Plowman and Stephens performed together as Sibyl and Elyot in Jonathan Kent's revival of Private Lives —the Noel Coward play in which his mother starred in 1975 on Broadway—for the 2012 Chichester Festival,[29] reprised at the Gielgud Theatre in 2013.[30][31]



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Orlando Othello
1996 Twelfth Night Duke Orsino
1997 Photographing Fairies Charles Castle
1998 Cousin Bette Victorin Hulot
1999 Onegin Vladimir Lensky
1999 Sunset Heights Luke Bradley
2000 The Announcement Ross
2000 Space Cowboys Young Frank
2001 Possession Fergus Wolfe
2002 Die Another Day Gustav Graves
2004 Terkel in Trouble Justin (voice) English dub
2005 Midsummer Dream Demetrius (voice) English dub
2005 Mangal Pandey: The Rising Captain William Gordon
2006 Dark Corners Dr Woodleigh
2006 Severance Harris
2013 Believe Dr. Farquar
2013 All Things to All Men Riley
2013 The Machine Vincent McCarthy
2016 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Glen "Bub" Doherty
2016 The Journey Tony Blair
2018 Hunter Killer Lt. Bill Beaman


Year Title Role Notes
1992 The Camomile Lawn Oliver
1996 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Gilbert Markham
2000 The Great Gatsby Jay Gatsby
2001 Perfect Strangers Charles
2002 Napoléon Tsar Alexander I
2003 Essential Byron Reader
2003 Cambridge Spies Kim Philby
2003 Agatha Christie's Poirot Philip Blake Episode S9:E1 Five Little Pigs
2004 London Casanova
2005 Waking the Dead Dr Nick Henderson Episodes: "Subterraneans Part I" and "Subterraneans II"
2005 The Queen's Sister Anthony Armstrong-Jones
2006 The Best Man Peter Tremaine
2006 Secrets of the Dead: The Umbrella Assassin Narrator (voice) Episode: An account of the murder of Georgi Markov
2006 Sharpe's Challenge William Dodd
2006 Jane Eyre Edward Fairfax Rochester
2007 The Wild West – Custer's Last Stand General George Armstrong Custer
2008 Wired Crawford Hill
2009 The Best Job in the World Narrator (voice)
2009 Robin Hood Prince John of England 3 episodes
2010 Strike Back Arlington
2010 Lost: The Mystery of Flight 447 Narrator (voice)
2010 Agatha Christie's Marple The Blue Geranium George Pritchard
2010–2012 Vexed Jack Armstrong
2012 Law & Order: UK Prof. Martin Middlebrook Episode: "Trial"
2012 Lewis David Connelly Episode: "Generation of Vipers"
2014–2017 Black Sails James McGraw / Flint 38 episodes
2015 And Then There Were None Dr. Edward Armstrong
2018–2021 Lost in Space John Robinson 28 episodes
2019 Summer of Rockets Samuel Petrukhin
2021 Alex Rider Damian Cray 6 episodes
2024 Percy Jackson and the Olympians Poseidon [24]
2024 McDonald and Dodds TBA 1 episode (Series 4)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
2012 007 Legends Gustav Graves Also likeness


Year Title Role Venue Notes
1992 Tartuffe Damis Playhouse Theatre
1992 Tamburlaine Celebinus / King of Argier Royal Shakespeare Company
1992 Antony and Cleopatra Pompey Royal Shakespeare Company
1992 All's Well That Ends Well Bertram Royal Shakespeare Company
1993 Wallenstein Max Piccolomini Royal Shakespeare Company
1994 Unfinished Business Young Beamish Royal Shakespeare Company
1994 Coriolanus Caius Marcius Coriolanus Royal Shakespeare Company
1994 A Midsummer Night's Dream Lysander Royal Shakespeare Company
1994 Measure for Measure Claudio Royal Shakespeare Company
1996 A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski Theatre Royal Haymarket
1998/99 Phedre Hippolytus Almeida Theatre


1998/99 Britannicus Nero Almeida Theatre


1999 Ring Round the Moon Hugo / Frederick Lincoln Centre
2001 Japes Japes Theatre Royal Haymarket
2001 The Royal Family Anthony Cavendish Theatre Royal Haymarket
2004 Hamlet Hamlet Royal Shakespeare Company
2004 The Pilate Workshop Jesus Royal Shakespeare Company
2007 Betrayal Jerry Donmar Warehouse
2007 The Country Wife Mr. Horner Theatre Royal Haymarket
2009 A Doll's House Thomas Donmar Warehouse
2010 The Real Thing Henry Old Vic
2010 Danton's Death Georges Danton Royal National Theatre
2012/13 Private Lives Elyot Chase Gielgud Theatre
2017 Oslo Terje Rød-Larsen Royal National Theatre

Harold Pinter Theatre

2019 A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri Trafalgar Studios
2022 The Forest Man 1 Hampstead Theatre

Radio drama and audio books[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Time and the Conways Robin
1995 The Prince's Choice Coriolanus, Hamlet, Henry V, Henry IV and Edward Poins
1997 As You Like It Orlando
1997 The Lifted Veil Latimer
1997 The Guns of Navarone Mallory
1997 Birdsong
1997 Anna Karenina Count Vronsky
1998 Troy Achilles
1999 Tales from the Arabian Nights Narrator
1999 Macbeth Macbeth
2000 Conversations with Napoleon Reader
2001 King Lear Edmund
2001 On the Road Narrator
2002 The Riddle of the Sands Narrator
2002 The Woman in White Walter Hartright
2002 Aeneid Aeneas
2003 Dionysos Pentheus, King of Thebes
2004 Will in the World Reader
2005 Much Ado About Nothing Benedick
2006 Shylock Bassanio
2007 Heart of Darkness Narrator
2007 Flashman on the March Narrator
2008 Flashman and the Dragon Narrator
2008 Missing Dates Jason (Japes)
2008 The Good Soldier Narrator
2008 Dr. No James Bond
2008 Let's Murder Vivaldi Ben
2008 Coda Simon Gray
2008–2009 The Dark Flower Narrator
2009 My Dark Places James Ellroy
2009 Journey into Space: The Host Jet
2009 King Solomon's Mines Narrator
2009 Becket King Henry II [32]
2010 Dick Barton Special Agent: The Mystery of the Missing Formula Narrator
2010 Goldfinger James Bond
2010 No Place Like Home Jonathan
2011 King James Version of the Bible Narrator
2011 Paul Temple and the Geneva Mystery Narrator
2011 Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery Narrator
2011 Paul Temple Intervenes Narrator
2011 The Lady in the Lake Philip Marlowe
2011 The Big Sleep Philip Marlowe
2011 Farewell, My Lovely Philip Marlowe
2011 Playback Philip Marlowe
2011 Carte Blanche Narrator
2011 The Long Goodbye Philip Marlowe
2011 The High Window Philip Marlowe
2011 The Little Sister Philip Marlowe
2011 Poodle Springs Philip Marlowe
2012 From Russia, with Love James Bond
2014 On Her Majesty's Secret Service James Bond
2015 Diamonds Are Forever James Bond
2016 Thunderball James Bond
2018 Moonraker James Bond
2018 Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune Narrator
2019 Live and Let Die James Bond
2020 The Man with the Golden Gun James Bond



  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  2. ^ Anita Singh (7 July 2015). "Dame Maggie Smith's son: 'Stop calling me posh'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  3. ^ Tim Walker (21 May 2009). "Toby Stephens: Being born into the theatre was a mixed blessing". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  4. ^ "2011 : APPEARANCES". 3 February 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ Ivan-Zadeh, Larushka (20 March 2014). "Black Sails actor Toby Stephens: Most British scripts you get sent are just awful". Metro. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  6. ^ David Benedict, "Theatre Royal Haymarket Gambles", Variety, 23 July 2007, online edition. [1]
  7. ^ Nellie Andreeva, "Busy Pre-upfront Weekend", The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2008, updated 11 May 2008, Online edition. [2]
  8. ^ "Pilot Buzz", zap2it, 12 May 2008
  9. ^ "Bob Holness on Game Shows". Retrieved 14 September 2007.
  10. ^ Stock-pot Productions Limited, Blog, 27 May 2008 Archived 21 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Dan French, "Richard Armitage for Sky1's 'Strike Back'", "Digital Spy", 24 August 2009 [3]
  12. ^ Spencer, Charles (20 May 2009). "A Doll's House, at the Donmar Warehouse – review". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Julia McKenzie returns as the fictional sleuth Miss Marple, in her seventh film The Blue Geranium for ITV1",, 21 January 2010 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 January 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Katherine Rushton, "Greenlit Gets First BBC Order with Cop Comedy", "Broadcast", 23 July 2009 [4]
  15. ^ "Sam Elliott Connor, "The Lost Explorer," "Dazed & Confused," May 2010". Archived from the original on 4 March 2012.
  16. ^ Leo Benedictus, "What to say about...The Real Thing", "The Guardian", 23 April 2010 [5]
  17. ^ Louise Jury, "Toby's emotional debut for classic Stoppard play", London Evening Standard, 7 December 2009. "Toby's emotional debut for classic Stoppard play | News". Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  18. ^ "Slumdog's Danny Boyle Returns to the Stage as Frankenstein," Theatre News, London Evening Standard, 21 January 2010. [6]
  19. ^ Terri Paddock, "20 Questions with... Toby Stephens," 19 November 2001. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (13 September 2012). "Toby Stephens Set As The Lead In Starz's Michael Bay-Produced Series 'Black Sails'". Deadline. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  21. ^ McNary, Dave (10 September 2015). "Toronto: John Hurt, Toby Stephens, Freddie Highmore Join 'The Journey'". Variety. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  22. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (20 September 2016). "Toby Stephens To Topline 'Lost in Space' Netflix Remake, Maxwell Jenkins To Co-Star". Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  23. ^ "'Lost in Space' dad Toby Stephens turns baddie for 'Alex Rider'". Boston Herald. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  24. ^ a b Otterson, Joe (26 January 2023). "'Percy Jackson' Disney+ Series Casts Lance Reddick, Toby Stephens (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  25. ^ Lawson, Mark (31 May 2007), "Prodigal Son", The Guardian (online ed.).
  26. ^ Janice Turner, "Simon Gray Has Lung Cancer But Won't Stop Smoking", The Times, 24 April 2008, Online edition.
  27. ^ Tim Walker, "Toby Stephens: Being born into the theatre was a mixed blessing," The Daily Telegraph, 21 May 2009, Online edition.
  28. ^ "Maggie Smith's Grandchildren: Everything To Know About Her 5 Grandkids Maggie Smith has five grandchildren all under the age of 18 between her two sons".
  29. ^ Michael Billington (30 September 2012). "Private Lives – Minerva, Chichester". The Guardian.
  30. ^ Louise Jury; Josh Pettitt (4 July 2013). "It's odd kissing Toby Stephens with his wife in the cast, says Private Lives actress Anna Chancellor". Evening Standard.
  31. ^ Paul Taylor (4 July 2013). "Theatre review: Private Lives". The Independent.
  32. ^ BBC Press Office (28 August 2009). "Classic stage plays and adaptations of major works of fiction at the heart of new drama season on Radio 3". Press release. Retrieved on 28 August 2009.
  33. ^ "Prized Performances". Sunday Times. 21 February 1993.
  34. ^ Fowler, Rebecca. "Ribands in the cap of youth". Sunday Times. 12 March 1995.

Interviews and articles[edit]

External links[edit]