Hugh Bonneville

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Hugh Bonneville
Hugh Bonneville MingFilmFest 2011 n1.jpg
Bonneville at the 2011 Minghella Film Festival
BornHugh Richard Bonneville Williams
(1963-11-10) 10 November 1963 (age 50)
Blackheath, London, UK
EducationSherborne School
Alma mater
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Lulu Williams
(m. 1998)[1]
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Hugh Bonneville
Hugh Bonneville MingFilmFest 2011 n1.jpg
Bonneville at the 2011 Minghella Film Festival
BornHugh Richard Bonneville Williams
(1963-11-10) 10 November 1963 (age 50)
Blackheath, London, UK
EducationSherborne School
Alma mater
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Lulu Williams
(m. 1998)[1]

Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams (born 10 November 1963), known professionally as Hugh Bonneville,[2] is a British stage, film, television and radio actor, who is best known for playing Robert Crawley in the ITV period drama series Downton Abbey, which began airing in 2010.

Bonneville also played Ian Fletcher in the BBC London Olympics mockumentary comedy series Twenty Twelve in 2012 and the same character in its spin-off W1A which aired in 2014. He also starred as Bernie in the film Notting Hill and since 2011, he has been the narrator of the Channel 4 show The Hotel, for all three series.

Early life and education[edit]

Bonneville was born in Blackheath, London, to a nurse mother and a urological surgeon father.[3] He was educated at Sherborne School,[4] an independent school in the market town of Sherborne, Dorset.

Following secondary education, Bonneville read Theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge,[5] and studied acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.[6] He left Cambridge with a 2:2 in theology and has since said that he tended to do more acting than academic work.[7]

Bonneville is also an alumnus of the National Youth Theatre.[4]


Bonneville's first professional stage appearance was at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. In 1987 he joined the National Theatre where he appeared in several plays, then the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991, where he played Laertes to Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1992–1993). He played Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Bergetto in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Kastril and later Surly in The Alchemist.[8]

He made his television debut in 1991, billed as Richard Bonneville. His early roles were usually good-natured bumbling characters like Bernie in Notting Hill (1999) and Mr. Rushworth in Mansfield Park (1999). In the BBC television series, Take A Girl Like You (2000) and Armadillo (2001), he played more villainous characters, leading up to the domineering Henleigh Grandcourt in Daniel Deronda (2002) and the psychopathic killer James Lampton in The Commander (2003) series. In Love Again, he played the poet Philip Larkin.

In 2004, he played Sir Christopher Wren in the docudrama Wren – The Man Who Built Britain. In Iris (2001), he played the young John Bayley opposite Kate Winslet, with his performance lauded by critics and receiving a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Bonneville also works extensively in radio. He played the role of Jerry Westerby in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the John le Carré novel The Honourable Schoolboy, first broadcast in January 2010.[9] Earlier he appeared in the surreal parallel universe comedy Married.

Since 2010 he has appeared in the ITV period drama Downton Abbey, as Robert, Earl of Grantham. In early 2010, he earned a role in the comedy film Burke and Hare.[10] In 2011 and 2012 he starred as Ian Fletcher in the award-winning BBC comedy series Twenty Twelve. In December 2012 he appeared on BBC 2 with co-star Jessica Hynes in World's Most Dangerous Roads, travelling through Georgia. He is also slated to appear in the much-delayed film Hippie Hippie Shake, alongside Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller.

Personal life[edit]

Bonneville married Lulu Evans in 1998. The couple have a son, Felix, and live in West Sussex.

In 2009, Bonneville played the voice of Justice Fosse in Joseph Crilly's UK premiere of Kitty and Damnation for the Giant Olive Theatre Company at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town.[11] Shortly thereafter he became Giant Olive's first Patron.[12] Bonneville is also a patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard, and of the medical relief charity Medical Emergency Relief International.[13]


1990ChancerJasTV series (2 episodes)
1991DodgemRick BayneTV series (5 episode)
1993Paul Merton: The SeriesCaptainTV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.6")
1993Stalag LuftBartonTV film
1994The Memoirs of Sherlock HolmesVictor SavageTV series (1 episode: "The Dying Detective", credited as Richard Bonneville)
1994Peak PracticeDominic KentTV series (1 episode: "Perfect Love")
1994CadfaelDaniel AurifaberTV series (1 episode: "The Sanctuary Sparrow", credited as Richard Bonneville)
1994Between the LinesHenry OakesTV series (1 episode: "Close Protection", credited as Richard Bonneville[14])
1995The Imaginatively Titled Punt & Dennis ShowTV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.5")
1995The VetAlan SinclairTV series (6 episodes)
1995EastEndersHeadmasterTV series (1 episode: "14 December 1995")
1996Married for LifeSteve HollingsworthTV series (7 episodes); a British remake of Married... with Children
1996BugsNathan PymTV series (1 episode: "Bugged Wheat")
1997BreakoutPeter SchneiderTV film
1997See You FridayDanielTV series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.1")
1997The Man Who Made Husbands JealousFerdinand FitzgeraldTV mini-series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.1")
1997Get Well SoonNorman TuckerTV series (4 episodes)
1997Tomorrow Never DiesAir Warfare Officer – HMS Bedford
1998Heat of the SunReverend Edward HerbertTV series (1 episode: "Hide in Plain Sight")
1998MosleyBob BoothbyTV series (4 episodes)
1998The Scold's BridleTim DugganTV film
1998Holding the BabyGordon MuirTV series (series 2)
1999Murder Most HorridInspector DawsonTV series (1 episode: "Confessions of a Murderer")
1999Notting HillBernie
1999Mansfield ParkMr. Rushworth
2000Thursday the 12thBrin HopperTV film
2000Madame BovaryCharles BovaryTV film
2000Take a Girl Like YouJulian OrmerodTV series
2001Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairy TalePublisherTV film
2001Blow DryLouis
2001High Heels and Low LifesFarmer
2001The CazaletsHugh CazaletTV series (6 episodes)
2001The Emperor's New ClothesBertrand
2001ArmadilloTorquil Helvoir JayneTV series
2001IrisYoung John BayleyBerlin International Film Festival Award for New Talent
Nominated—BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—European Film Award for Best Actor
2002ImpactPhil EpsonTV film
2002The Gathering StormIvo PettiferTV film
2002Right Under My EyesJamesTV film
2002The BiographerEricTV film
2002Midsomer MurdersHugh BartonTV series (1 episode: "Ring Out Your Dead")
2002Tipping the VelvetRalph BannerTV series
2002Doctor ZhivagoAndrey ZhivagoTV film
2002Daniel DerondaHenleigh GrandcourtTV film
2003The CommanderJames LamptonTV film
2003Conspiracy of SilenceFr. Jack Dowling
2003Love AgainPhilip LarkinTV film
2003Hear the SilenceDr. Andrew WakefieldTV film
2004Piccadilly JimLord Wisbeach
2004Wren: The Man Who Built BritainChristopher WrenTV documentary
2004Stage BeautySamuel Pepys
2005The Commander: VirusJames Lamptonuncredited
2005The Commander: BlackoutJames Lamptonuncredited
2005The Rotter's ClubVoice of Adult BenTV series
2005Man to ManFraser McBride
2005AsylumMax Raphael
2005The RobinsonsGeorge RobinsonTV series (6 episodes)
2005UnderclassmanHeadmaster Felix Powers
2006Beau Brummell: This Charming ManPrince RegentTV film
2006Courting AlexJulian/Charles CarterTV series (10 episodes)
2006Scenes of a Sexual NatureGerry
2006Tsunami: The AftermathTony WhittakerTV film
2007Four Last SongsSebastian Burrows
2007The Diary of a NobodyPooterTV film
2007The Vicar of DibleyJeremy OgilvyTV series (1 episode: "The Vicar in White")
2007Five DaysDSI Iain BarclayTV series (4 episodes)
2007Miss Austen RegretsRev. Brook BridgesTV film
2007Hola to the WorldPaintershort
2007The ReplacementsVoiceTV series (1 episode: "London Calling")
2007FreezingMattTV series (3 episodes: 2007–2008)
2008Filth: The Mary Whitehouse StorySir Hugh Carleton GreeneTV film
2008BonekickersGregory PartonTV series (6 episodes)
2008Lost in AustenMr. BennetTV mini-series (4 episodes)
2008One of Those DaysMr. Burrellshort
2008French FilmJedJury Prize – Best Actor
2008Country House Rescue (series 1)NarratorTV series (6 episodes: 2008–2009)
2009Knife EdgeCharles Pollock
2009HunterDSI Iain BarclayTV mini-series (2 episodes)
2009Glorious 39Gilbert
2009From Time to TimeCaptain Oldknow
2009Ruth Watson's Hotel RescueNarratorTV series (6 episodes)
2009Country House Rescue RevisitedNarratorTV series (3 episodes: 2009)
2010Legally MadGordon HammTV film
2010Critical EyeBrian
2010Ben HurPontius PilateTV mini-series (2 episodes)
2010ShanghaiBen Sanger
2010Third StarBeachcomber
2010Agatha Christie's PoirotEdward MastermanTV series (1 episode: "Murder on the Orient Express")
2010The SilenceChrisTV series (4 episodes)
2010Rev.Roland WiseTV series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.4")
2010Burke & HareLord Harrington
2010As Time goes by (film)
2010Hippie Hippie ShakeJohn MortimerUnreleased[15]
2010Country House Rescue (series 2)NarratorTV series (8 episodes: 2010)
2010Downton AbbeyRobert Crawley, Earl of GranthamTV series (25 episodes: 2010–)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2012)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film (2010)
Nominated – Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012-2013)
2011Marple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to SideInspector HewittTV film
2011Twenty TwelveIan FletcherTV series
Nominated – BAFTA TV Award for Best Male Comedy Performance
2011Doctor WhoCaptain AveryTV series (2 episodes: "The Curse of the Black Spot" and "A Good Man Goes to War")
2011Country House Rescue (series 3)NarratorTV series (7 episodes: 2011)
2011The HotelNarratorSeries 1
2011Third StarBeachcomberFilm
2011Rev.Roland WiseTV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.1")
2012The HotelNarratorSeries 2
2012Turn Back Time: The FamilyNarratorTV series (5 episodes: 2012)
2012Getting OnPhilip MooreTV series (1 episode: 2012)
2012Mr StinkMr StinkTV film
2012World's Most Dangerous RoadsTV series (1 episode: "Episode No.3.2")
2013The HotelNarratorSeries 3
2013Da Vinci's DemonsDuke of MilanTV series (1 episode: 2013)
2014Top GearHimselfTV series (1 episode, Series 21 Episode 1: "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car")
2014The Monuments MenLieutenant Donald Jeffries
2014Muppets Most WantedIrish Journalist
2014W1AIan Fletcher
2014PaddingtonMr. Brown

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography for Hugh Bonneville". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. OCLC 607613318. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Greensteet, Rosanna (6 November 2004). "Q&A: Hugh Bonneville". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Corpus Playroom Renovations". Corpus Christi College. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Franks, Alan (16 February 2008). "Hugh Bonneville and Tom Hollander on Freezing, fame and friendship". The Times. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Trowbridge, Simon (2010). The Company: a Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford, England: Editions Albert Creed. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-0-9559830-2-3. 
  9. ^ "The Complete Smiley - The Karla Trilogy, Book 2: The Honourable Schoolboy". BBC. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Burke and Hare Teaser Art Debuts at Cannes
  11. ^ "Off-West End Announcements – 3 July 2009". What's on Stage. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "The History of Giant Olive Theatre Company". Giant Olive Theatre Company. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Scene & Heard – Who We Are". 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Between The Lines, November 1994. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  15. ^ Meacham, Steve; Maddox, Garry (14 February 2011). "Hippies tossed aside in corporate decision". The Sydney Morning Herald. "After a promised release failed to eventuate last year, the British production company, Working Title, has confirmed it will not reach cinemas. The managing director of the distributor Universal Pictures in Australia, Mike Baard, said: 'I's going to land in the direct-to-video's off our release schedule.'" 

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