Robert Lindsay (actor)
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Robert Lindsay Actor

Robert Lindsay
Robert Lindsay Stevenson

(1949-12-13) 13 December 1949 (age 70)
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1968-present
(m. 1974; div. 1980)

(m. 2006)

Robert Lindsay (born 13 December 1949)[] is an English stage and TV actor. His first major role on TV was playing Wolfie Smith in Citizen Smith. He appeared in sitcoms, most notably as Ben Harper in My Family, playing the role for over a decade, and narrated TV adaptations of the children's television series Brambly Hedge. His films include Fierce Creatures, Wimbledon. He appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in musical theatre. He won a BAFTA, a Tony Award, and three Olivier Awards for his work.

Early life

Lindsay was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, to Joyce (née Dunmore) and Norman Stevenson, who worked at the local Stanton Ironworks.[1] He was one of three children and his father was a World War II veteran, having been on a minesweeper, one of the first ships to land on D-Day.[2]

After leaving Gladstone Boys' School,[3] Lindsay enrolled in the drama department of Clarendon College in Nottingham,[3] intending to become a drama teacher. However, friends at Nottingham Playhouse encouraged him to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), and in 1968, he was accepted there with the aid of a government grant.[4] After graduation, he worked as a dialect coach for a repertory company in Essex, and then joined a regional theatre group.


Lindsay's early career included roles in British films such as That'll Be The Day (1973), Three for All (1975), and Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976). He came to prominence as the cockney layabout Jakey Smith in the ITV comedy series Get Some In! (1975-1977) and was given the starring role as delusional revolutionary Wolfie Smith in the BBC sitcom Citizen Smith (1977-1980), which raised his profile.

Towards the end of the run of Citizen Smith, Lindsay won roles in the BBC Television Shakespeare series, including Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981), Fabian in Twelfth Night (1980) and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (1984). He played Edmund in the Granada Television production of King Lear (1983).

In 1984 he appeared as a car dealership manager called Mike Barnes in a salesman's training video for Austin Rover alongside Peter Egan and George A. Cooper, which trained staff on how to sell the Austin Montego, which was launched in April of that year.

He played the role of Bill Snibson in the hugely acclaimed 1984 London revival of Me and My Girl (for which he won an Olivier Award) which subsequently transferred to Broadway, earning him a Tony Award.

Lindsay's success on Broadway and in the West End led to a starring role in the film Bert Rigby, You're a Fool (1989), although it was not a commercial success. His next role was in the James Scott-directed Strike It Rich (1990) alongside Molly Ringwald and John Gielgud.[5] He continued, however, to enjoy success on television, and played the leading role in Alan Bleasdale's dark comedy serial G.B.H. (1991), winning a BAFTA for his performance. Lindsay was also in Bleasdale's Jake's Progress (1995) the tale of a couple played by Lindsay and Julie Walters who were struggling to cope with a 'difficult' child (Barclay Wright). Both Bleasdale serials were screened by Channel 4, as was the surreal Channel 4 sitcom Nightingales (1990-93), which also featured David Threlfall and James Ellis. In 1996, Lindsay played the title role of Becket, the play by Jean Anouilh, opposite Derek Jacobi as King Henry II for which he won another Olivier Award. Lindsay won his third Olivier award after he took over the role of Fagin during 1997 in Cameron Mackintosh's London revival of Oliver! at the London Palladium.

Lindsay appeared in the films Fierce Creatures (1997) and Divorcing Jack (1998) and in 1998, he was cast in the recurring role of Captain Pellew in the ITV mini-series Hornblower, based on the novels of C.S. Forester which ran until 2003. Lindsay was also the original choice for the lead role in the drama Cracker; however, he turned the part down as he did not want to become too associated with heavy, darker drama characters.[] He later appeared as Fagin in the 1999 ITV Oliver Twist miniseries.

Lindsay's longest-running role has been Ben Harper in the popular BBC sitcom My Family (2000-11), opposite Zoë Wanamaker who played his on-screen wife, Susan.

In October 2005, he starred in ITV drama series Jericho about a Scotland Yard detective investigating murder and kidnapping in London's Soho in the 1950s. In January and February 2006, he was the only actor (as Sneath) to appear in two loosely linked Stephen Poliakoff dramas, Friends and Crocodiles and Gideon's Daughter, shown on BBC One.

Lindsay has also portrayed Prime Minister Tony Blair in the Channel 4 satires A Very Social Secretary and The Trial of Tony Blair.[6] In 2003, he appeared in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous playing the character of Pete, an old musician boyfriend of Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders), and narrated the BBC documentary series Seven Wonders of the Industrial World (2003).

He appeared in the 8th Ricky Gervais Video Podcast, in which Gervais announced that Lindsay would be in the second series of Extras, appearing in the last episode of the 2006 series as an arrogant, mean-spirited version of himself. Lindsay also appeared in the romantic comedy Wimbledon, as the tennis club manager who hires Peter Colt. In 2007 at the Old Vic Theatre, Lindsay played Archie Rice in John Osborne's The Entertainer, a role first performed by Olivier in 1957.[7] In 2009, he played the protagonist, Maddox, from the Radio 4 comedy Electric Ink by Alistair Beaton.

In 2010, Lindsay starred in the title role of Derby Live's production of Onassis before its transfer to London's West End.[8] He played the same role in Grace of Monaco. Lindsay starred as The Examiner in the British sitcom Spy, which debuted in October 2011 on Sky 1, and returned to the cast in 2012 for a second series. In November 2011, he starred as Henry in a revival of The Lion in Winter by James Goldman at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, a production which also featured Joanna Lumley as Eleanor, and was directed by Trevor Nunn.

In 2012, Lindsay appeared in the Sky detective series Falcón, episode "The Silent and the Damned", as Pablo Ortega.

In 2014, Lindsay starred as Lawrence in the UK première production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Savoy Theatre London, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.

On 9 May 2015, Lindsay recited the wartime speeches of Winston Churchill at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember.

Lindsay sings the recorded version of Derby County F.C.'s song "Steve Bloomer's Watchin'", played and sung by the fans at the beginning of every home game.

In 2016, Lindsay recurred on the second season of the ABC fairy tale-themed musical comedy series Galavant as Chester Wormwood, an evil wizard/wedding planner.

In 2017, Lindsay played Hermann Einstein in the National Geographic TV series Genius. He also played Jack Cardiff in Prism at the Hampstead Theatre, a role he is reprising on a UK tour in autumn 2019.

In 2019, Lindsay played supporting role of King John in Disney's Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The film starred Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and was released on 18 October 2019.[9]



Year Film Role Notes
1973 That'll Be the Day Terry
The Roses of Eyam Francis Thornley TV film
1975 Three for All Tom
1976 Adventures of a Taxi Driver Tom
1980 Twelfth Night Fabian TV film
1981 All's Well That Ends Well Captain Dumain
A Midsummer Night's Dream Lysander
1982 Cymbeline Iachimo
1983 King Lear Edmund
1984 Much Ado About Nothing Benedick
1989 Bert Rigby, You're a Fool Bert Rigby
1990 Strike It Rich Bertram
1993 Genghis Cohn Otto Schatz
1996 The Office Norman Platt TV film
Brazen Hussies Billy Bowmans
Goodbye My Love Derek Humphry
1997 Fierce Creatures Sydney Small Mammals
Remember Me? Jamie
1998 Divorcing Jack Michael Brinn
The Even Chance Captain Sir Edward Pellew TV film
The Examination for Lieutenant
1999 The Duchess and the Devil
The Frogs and the Lobsters
2000 Jack the Ripper: An On-Going Mystery Narrator
2001 Mutiny Commodore Sir Edward Pellew
Hawkins Luke Hawkins
2002 Out of Eden Narrator
2003 Loyalty Admiral Sir Edward Pellew
2004 Wimbledon Ian Frazier
2005 Friends and Crocodiles William Sneath TV film
A Very Social Secretary Tony Blair
Gideon's Daughter Sneath
2007 The Trial of Tony Blair Tony Blair
2010 The One Ronnie Animal Agent
2014 Grace of Monaco Aristotle Onassis
2019 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil King John


Year Title Role Notes
1973 Love Story Colin Episode: "Finders Keepers"
ITV Sunday Night Theatre Sam Episode: "A Question of Everything"
1974 Centre Play Toby Episode: "Hurt Hawks"
1975 Ken Episode: "Letter from a Soldier"
Thriller Policeman Episode: "The Crazy Kill"
Doctor on the Go Harrison Episode: "What's Op Doc?"
Whodunnit? Dave Episode: "Pop Goes the Weasel"
1975-1977 Get Some In! Jakey Smith Series regular
1977 The Good Life Reform School Youth Episode: "Our Speaker Today"
1977-1980 Citizen Smith Wolfie Smith Series regular
1981-1982 Seconds Out Pete Dodds Series regular
1983-1984 Give us a Break Micky Noades Series regular
1989 Confessional Thomas Kelly Mini-series
1990-1993 Nightingales Carter Series regular
1991 G.B.H. Michael Murray Mini-series
1994 The Wimbledon Poisoner Henry Farr Mini-series
1995 Strange Landscape The Divine Comedy Episode: "The Circles of Light"
Jake's Progress Jamie Diadoni Mini-series
1996 Tales from the Crypt Glynn Fennell Episode: "Ear Today... Gone Tomorrow"
1997-1998 Brambly Hedge Narrator 3 episodes
1998 In Your Dreams Narrator 1 episode
1998-2000 The Canterbury Tales Harry Bailey 2 episodes
1999 Oliver Twist Fagin 3 episodes
2000-2011 My Family Ben Harper Series regular
2001 The Heat Is On Narrator
Don't Eat the Neighbours Rabbit
Eddy and the Bear Bear
2003 Seven Wonders of the Industrial World Narrator Docuseries
Absolutely Fabulous Pete Episode: "Schmoozin'"
2005 Space Race Narrator Docuseries
Jericho D.I. Michael Jericho Series regular
Unsolved History Narrator Episode: Unstoppable Wave
2006 Extras[disambiguation needed] Robert Lindsay Episode: "Johnathan Ross"
2011 George and Bernard Shaw George Episode: "Pilot"
2011-2012 Spy The Examiner Series regular
2012 Falcón Pablo Ortega Episode: "The Silent and the Damned"
2013-2015 Atlantis Daedalus 5 episodes
2015 Bull Rupert Bull Mini-series
2016 Galavant Chester Wormwood 8 episodes
2017 Genius Hermann Einstein 2 episodes
Bounty Hunters Nigel Walker 4 episodes
2018 Plebs Crassus Episode: "The Accident"
2020 McDonald & Dodds Max Crockett Episode: "The Fall of The House of Crockett"


Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Category Result
1982 Philoctetes Manchester Evening News Theatre Award Best Actor Won
1985 Me and My Girl Laurence Olivier Award Best Actor in a Musical Won
Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Won
1992 Becket Laurence Olivier Award Best Actor Nominated
G.B.H. BAFTA TV Award Best Actor Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Award Best Actor Won
RTS Television Award Best Male Actor Won
1996 Jake's Progress BAFTA TV Award Best Actor Nominated
2002 My Family Best Comedy Performance Nominated
2003 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performance Nominated
2006 Jericho OFTA Television Award Best Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
2007 The Trial of Tony Blair Satellite Award Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated

Personal life

In 1974, Lindsay married Cheryl Hall, who later appeared opposite him in Citizen Smith.[10] They divorced in 1980,[11] when he started a long-term relationship with actress Diana Weston, with whom he has a daughter, Sydney Laura Stevenson,[12] and who co-starred with him in three episodes of My Family. He married English actress, dancer and television presenter Rosemarie Ford on 31 December 2006.

On 13 September 2006, Lindsay researched his family tree in the third series of Who Do You Think You Are?. He travelled to his hometown and to Turkey, where his grandfather Raymond Dunmore had taken part in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I.

Lindsay is a lifelong supporter of Derby County F.C., which he revealed in a short section for on the CBBC program Newsround entitled "My Team".[13]

Lindsay is known for his left-wing political beliefs, usually describing himself as a staunch socialist, and has marched in support of miners. He is a passionate supporter of the Labour Party, but an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Tony Blair's decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying that he was "furious" and feeling disillusioned with mainstream politics: "You see those images of Iraq and Afghanistan and Lebanon, don't you? And I suspect somewhere, when he goes home at night and the kids are in bed, he must go, 'Jesus, what have I done?'"[14]

On 1 October 2016, Lindsay was given the Freedom of the Borough of Erewash.[15][16]

Lindsay has suffered from depressive episodes and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder in winter months for most of his life. He has spoken publicly about his positive experiences with light therapy and counseling, saying that "they really do work".[17]


  1. ^ Robert Lindsay Episode Guide | Who Do You Think You Are Magazine
  2. ^ "Profile: Robert Lindsay". BBC.
  3. ^ a b Biography. Official Website. Retrieved:24-9-2010
  4. ^ "Robert Lindsay Biography". BBC Derby. 17 January 2003. Retrieved 2008.
  5. ^ " - Official: Film". Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ "The Trial of Tony Blair". Channel 4. 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  7. ^ Charles Spencer "A magical mix of raw anguish and humour", The Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2007
  8. ^ London Theatre News, Reviews, Interviews and more | WhatsOnStage
  9. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (29 May 2018). "Robert Lindsay & Chiwetel Ejiofor Joining 'Maleficent II' As Cameras Roll". Deadline. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Danny Birchall Citizen Smith (1977-80)", BFI screenonline
  11. ^ "Robert Lindsay Biography (1949?-)", Film reference
  12. ^ Sydney Stevenson on IMDb
  13. ^ "My Team - Robert Lindsay". BBC News. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  14. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (13 January 2007). "I feel that Blair is a man trapped". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010.
  15. ^[permanent dead link]
  16. ^[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Llewellyn Smith, Julia (24 March 2014). "Robert Lindsay: 'It took me years to lose the chip on my shoulder'". Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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