Robert Lindsay (actor)

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Robert Lindsay
Robert Lindsay Stevenson

(1949-12-13) 13 December 1949 (age 74)
EducationNottingham College
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (BA)
Years active1968–present
Political partyLabour
(m. 1974; div. 1980)
(m. 2006)

Robert Lindsay Stevenson (born 13 December 1949),[citation needed] known professionally as Robert Lindsay, is an English actor. He is the recipient of a British Academy Television Award, a Tony Award, and two Laurence Olivier Awards.

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 the entire TV adaptation of the children's book series Brambly Hedge. His film appearances include Fierce Creatures and Wimbledon. He has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in musical theatre.

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.[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.[citation needed]



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). In 1974, he took over the role previously played by David Essex in Godspell, at Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End. He came to prominence as the cockney Teddy Boy Jakey Smith in the ITV comedy series Get Some In! (1975–1977) that was based on National Service life in the RAF. He was given the starring role as delusional revolutionary Wolfie Smith in the BBC sitcom Citizen Smith (1977–1980), which raised his profile further.[5]

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.[6] 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 was nominated for another Olivier Award. Lindsay won his second 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, reportedly as he did not want to become too associated with heavy, darker drama characters.[citation needed] He later appeared as Fagin in the 1999 ITV Oliver Twist miniseries. His longest-running role has been Ben Harper in the popular BBC sitcom My Family (2000–11).

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 portrayed Prime Minister Tony Blair in the Channel 4 satires A Very Social Secretary and The Trial of Tony Blair.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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 reprised 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.[10] In 2020, he appeared in the series McDonald & Dodds.

Lindsay starred as Moonface Martin in a revival of Anything Goes, directed by Kathleen Marshall, at the Barbican Theatre from July to November 2021. He received his fourth Olivier Award nomination, which was his third for Best Actor in a Musical, in 2022.[11]

Personal life


In 1974, Lindsay married Cheryl Hall, who later appeared opposite him in Citizen Smith.[12] They divorced in 1980,[13] when he started a long-term relationship with actress Diana Weston, with whom he has a daughter, Sydney Laura Stevenson,[14] 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 on the CBBC programme Newsround entitled "My Team".[15]

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 then Prime Minister Tony Blair's controversial decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, 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?'"[16]

In 2011, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was treated surgically.[17]

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

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 counselling, saying that "they really do work".[18]


Denotes works that have not yet been released


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
2014 Maleficent King John
2019 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil King John
2022 A Midsummer Night's Dream Oberon


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"
1996–2000 Brambly Hedge Narrator 8 episodes
1998 In Your Dreams Narrator 1 episode
1998–2000 The Canterbury Tales (animated series) Harry Bailey 2 episodes
1998–2003 Hornblower Captain Sir Edward Pellew Series regular
1999 Oliver Twist Fagin 3 episodes
2000–2011 My Family Ben Harper Series regular
2001 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 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
The Secret Life of Owls Narrator 2 episodes
2018 Plebs Crassus Episode: "The Accident"
2020 McDonald & Dodds Max Crockett Episode: "The Fall of The House of Crockett"
2022 Dodger William Lamb Episode: "Christmas"
TBA Generation Z Morgan In production[19]


Year Title Role Venue
1977 Leaping Ginger Ginger Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
1979 The Three Musketeers D'Artagnan
The Changeling Antonio Riverside Studios, London
1980 The Cherry Orchard Peter Trofimov Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
The Lower Depths Vassilly Pepic
Trelawny of the 'Wells' Tom Wrench The Old Vic, London
1982 The Beaux' Stratagem Archer Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Philoctetes Neoptolemus
1983 Hamlet Hamlet
1985 Me and My Girl Bill Snibson Adelphi Theatre, London
1986 Marquis Theatre, Broadway
1991 Becket Henry II Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
1992 Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac
1996 Oliver! Fagin London Palladium, London
1999 Richard III Richard III Savoy Theatre, London
2003 Power Nicolas Fouquet Royal National Theatre, London
2007 The Entertainer Archie Rice The Old Vic, London
2008 Aristo Aristotle Onassis Minerva Theatre, Chichester
2010 Onassis Aristotle Onassis Novello Theatre, London
2011 The Lion in Winter Henry II Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
2014 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Lawrence Jameson Savoy Theatre, London
2016 A Christmas Carol: In Concert with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra Ebenezer Scrooge Lyceum Theatre, London
2017 Prism Jack Cardiff Hampstead Theatre, London and UK Tour (2019)
2018 In Praise of Love Sebastian Cruttwell Theatre Royal, Bath
2021 Anything Goes Moonface Martin Barbican Theatre, London
2022 The Fever Syndrome Richard Myers[20] Hampstead Theatre, London
2023 Bleak Expectations Sir Philip “Pip” Bin[21] Criterion Theatre, London

Awards and nominations



Year Category Work Result
1992 Best Actor G.B.H. Won
1996 Jake's Progress Nominated
2002 Best Comedy Performance My Family Nominated

Olivier Awards

Year Category Work Result
1985 Best Actor in a Musical Me and My Girl Won
1992 Best Actor Becket Nominated
1997 Best Actor in a Musical Oliver! Won
2022 Anything Goes Nominated

Tony Awards

Year Category Work Result
1987 Best Actor in a Musical Me and My Girl Won

Other awards

Year Award Category Work Result
1982 Manchester Evening News Theatre Award Best Actor Philoctetes Won
1985 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Me and My Girl Won
Theatre World Award Honouree
1992 Broadcasting Press Guild Award Best Actor G.B.H. Won
Royal Television Society Award Best Male Actor Won
2003 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performance My Family Nominated
2006 Online Film & Television Association Award Best Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Jericho Nominated
2007 Satellite Award Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television The Trial of Tony Blair Nominated


  1. ^ Robert Lindsay Episode Guide, Accessed 24 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Profile: Robert Lindsay". BBC.
  3. ^ a b Biography. Official Website. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Robert Lindsay Biography". BBC Derby. 17 January 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2008.
  5. ^ "'I was in front of an audience but all I could think was, I could be dying': Robert Lindsay on acting, ageing – and surviving cancer". 19 April 2022.
  6. ^ " – Official: Film". Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  7. ^ "The Trial of Tony Blair". Channel 4. 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2008.
  8. ^ Charles Spencer "A magical mix of raw anguish and humour", The Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2007.
  9. ^ London Theatre News, Reviews, Interviews and more | WhatsOnStage
  10. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (29 May 2018). "Robert Lindsay & Chiwetel Ejiofor Joining 'Maleficent II' As Cameras Roll". Deadline. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  11. ^ Yossman, K. J. (8 March 2022). "Eddie Redmayne, Jessie Buckley and Emma Corrin Nominated for Olivier Awards 2022". Variety. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  12. ^ Danny Birchall. Citizen Smith (1977-80)", Accessed 24 June 2023.
  13. ^ Biography, Accessed 24 June 2023.
  14. ^ Sydney Stevenson at IMDb
  15. ^ "My Team – Robert Lindsay". BBC News. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  16. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (13 January 2007). "I feel that Blair is a man trapped". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  17. ^ "'I was in front of an audience but all I could think was, I could be dying': Robert Lindsay on acting, ageing – and surviving cancer". 19 April 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  18. ^ Llewellyn Smith, Julia (24 March 2014). "Robert Lindsay: 'It took me years to lose the chip on my shoulder'". Daily Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  19. ^ Kanter, Jake (18 October 2023). "'Generation Z' First Look: Ben Wheatley's Zombie Series Unveils Cast Including Robert Lindsay". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 18 October 2023. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  20. ^ Akbar, Arifa (6 April 2022). "The Fever Syndrome review – a family home, and its dramas and rivalries, dissected". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  21. ^ Thomas, Sophie. "Robert Lindsay and Craig Ferguson to join 'Bleak Expectations' West End cast". Retrieved 7 December 2023.