Wil Johnson

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Wil Johnson
Wilbert Charles Johnson

1965 (age 53–54)
Years active1985–present
Alexandra Spiegel
(m. 2001; div. 2010)

Wilbert Charles "Wil" Johnson (born 1965) is an English actor, who has had notable television roles in Waking the Dead and Babyfather, and on stage in Othello. He played Dom Andrews in Emmerdale from 2012 to 2014.

Early life[edit]

Johnson was born in Muswell Hill, London, and raised in Tottenham.[1] His mother invested in stocks and his father worked for UPS.[2] Johnson had no interest in music while he was in primary school, but after he filled in a role for an absent drummer, he changed his mind.[3] He went to Mountview Drama School in Crouch End, London. He also joined another drama group at the Haringey Theatre. He also went to a dance group and learned ballet, contemporary dancing, and break dancing, which he performed for about seven years. He also attended National Youth Theatre for three years.[1]


Johnson's first professional acting role came in the play Four Seasons at the 1985 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[2] For the rest of the 1980s he made minor appearances in television series such as Casualty and London's Burning, before playing detective Stevie Johnson in the London Weekend Television series Anna Lee. From 1994 to 1995 he played the supporting role of Detective Constable Michael Skelton in Cracker. Between roles, Johnson worked for a local undertakers, driving the hearse and acting as a pallbearer. At one funeral, a mourner recognised him from Cracker and asked for his autograph.[4]

In 2000, he appeared in the BBC One television pilot Waking the Dead, as Detective Sergeant Spencer Jordan, a member of a specialised police unit tasked with investigating "cold cases". Waking the Dead returned for a complete series in 2001, and Johnson was a main cast member until the series ended in 2011. From 2000 to 2002, he appeared as Steve Robinson in Paul Abbott's popular drama series Clocking Off. From 2001 to 2002, he appeared as a main cast member in two series of the BBC's Babyfather.[5]

In 2004, Johnson played the title character in the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company's Othello.

He also played Marcus Kirby in the BBC One school-based drama Waterloo Road. He departed in the second half of the series.

In 2010, he appeared in In a Better World (film) as 'Dr. Najeeb'.[6]

He also performed in a play, called The Swallowing Dark at the Liverpool Playhouse and Theatre 503. In 2011, he also starred as gangster boss Big Mike in Anuvahood and in 2008 as Big Man in Adulthood

In November 2011, Johnson appeared as 'Sean Dolan' a Consultant paediatrician in BBC One's Holby City.[6]

In 2012, it was announced that Johnson would be joining Emmerdale as single father Dominic "Dom" Andrews in the later part of the year. On 23 February 2014, it was announced that he would be leaving the show later that year following the death of his character's daughter, Gemma (Tendai Rinomhota).[7]

In 2013, he appeared as an gangster in a film thriller called Life Outside.[6] He also was a special guest DJ at a 'MonologueSlam' event (actors showcase) at 'The Green Carnation' cocktail lounge, Soho.[8]

In 2013, he also co-produced with Christian Ashaiku a film called Disorientated Generation (about a Nigerian man living in London). The film was partially funded by Enfield Council,[1] with a small grant from UK Film Council. The film was originally shot in 2006.[9]

In 2016, Johnson was cast as the Earl of Kent in the Talawa Theatre Company and Royal Exchange Manchester co-production of King Lear.[10] Johnson received praise for his performance, with The Guardian writing "giving depth to straight simplicity"[11] and the Manchester Theatre Awards saying that "... wrongest servant Kent is played with passion and often with humour by Wil Johnson". [12]

He is an advocate of colour-blind casting in British television:

Personal life[edit]

Johnson has seven children.[2] His eldest daughter lives in New York City,[1] while she attends the Manhattan School of Music.[14]

Johnson was previously married to model and writer Alexandra Spiegel from 2001 to 2010, with whom he shares four of his children: step-daughter Mischa, son Joachim River (JJ), and twin daughters Rain and Zillah-May.


Year Film Role Director / Notes
2000 Hidden Treasure Luke
2008 Adulthood Big Man Noel Clarke
2010 In a Better World Dr Najeeb Susanne Bier
2010 Pimp Byron Robert Cavanah
2011 Anuvahood Big Mike Adam Deacon
2013 Life Outside Charles Martin J. Thomas


Year TV Series Role Notes
1987 Casualty Bit part
1988 London's Burning Bit part
1994 Anna Lee Stevie Johnson
1994–1995 Cracker Detective Constable Michael Skelton
2000–2011 Waking the Dead Detective Sergeant Spencer Jordan Final episode was on 11 April 2011
2000–2002 Clocking Off Steve Robinson
2001–2002 Babyfather Beres
2010–2011 Waterloo Road Marcus Kirby Series 6
2011–2012 Holby City Sean Dolan Plays a Consultant paediatrician
2012–2014 Emmerdale Dominic Andrews
2016 Hollyoaks Lionel Albright 2 episodes; Played Jade's and Sonia's father


  1. ^ a b c d Eluka, Clare (12 October 2013). "Interview Wil Johnson". www.thepromota.co.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Staff (15 May 2009). "Since I started singing on YouTube I've thought of nothing else...". Evening Telegraph (Coventry Newspapers): pp. 30–31.
  3. ^ Peake, Jon (30 June 2001). "Dead not buried". The Sun (News Group Newspapers): p. 15.
  4. ^ Dempster, Nigel (20 February 2001). "It's called rehearsing". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers): p. 43.
  5. ^ "Babyfather". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC Drama. October 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Wil Johnson – (In A Better World – 2010)". mattjhorn.wordpress.com. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  7. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (25 October 2012). "'Emmerdale' announces four new characters". digitalspy.co.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Wil Johnson special guest DJ for Welcome 20th July". triforcepromotions.co.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  9. ^ Morris, Davina (25 April 2010). "different face of black British film-making". jamaica-gleaner.com. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Full casting announced for King Lear at Royal Exchange". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  11. ^ Brennan, Clare (10 April 2016). "King Lear review – two Lears acting up a storm". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2017 – via The Guardian.
  12. ^ "King Lear". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  13. ^ Green, Chris (25 February 2008). "'Why TV makes me depressed'". The Independent (Independent News & Media): p. 4.
  14. ^ Giwa, Kemi (4 May 2010). "Actor: Wil Johnson interview". www.flavourmag.co.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2014.

External links[edit]