Martin Freeman

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Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman during filming of Sherlock cropped.jpg
Freeman during filming of Sherlock in 2010
BornMartin John Christopher Freeman[1]
(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971 (age 42)
Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Alma materCentral School of Speech and Drama
Years active1997–present
Partner(s)Amanda Abbington
AwardsBAFTA TV – Best Supporting Actor for Sherlock (2011)
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Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman during filming of Sherlock cropped.jpg
Freeman during filming of Sherlock in 2010
BornMartin John Christopher Freeman[1]
(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971 (age 42)
Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Alma materCentral School of Speech and Drama
Years active1997–present
Partner(s)Amanda Abbington
AwardsBAFTA TV – Best Supporting Actor for Sherlock (2011)

Martin John Christopher Freeman (born 8 September 1971)[2] is an English actor. He is best known for his portrayals of Tim Canterbury in The Office, Dr. Watson in Sherlock, and Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy.

His other notable film roles include Love Actually, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Nativity!, and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, most prominently in The World's End.[3]

Early life

Martin Freeman was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and Geoffrey Freeman, a naval officer, separated when Freeman was a child, and when Freeman was ten, Geoffrey died of a heart attack.[4][5] Freeman attended the Salesian School, Chertsey before attending Brooklands College for media studies.[6] His elder brother Tim became a musician with the group Frazier Chorus.

Freeman was raised Roman Catholic. Although his family was not strict in their religious practices, his religion had a profound influence on him. As a child, he was asthmatic, and had to undergo a hip operation for what he has described as a "dodgy leg".[7][8]


Freeman joined a youth theatre group at 15, but it was not until he was 17 that his confidence in his acting led to the decision to pursue it as a career.[7] He went on to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama.[6] Freeman has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He is notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office. He appeared in the sitcom Hardware. He also appeared in several films, including Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Richard Curtis' Love Actually (2003).[6]

He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons and had a cameo in episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, as well as the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".[citation needed]

In May 2009 he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.[9]

He currently plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. He starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, who also went on to perform in The Hobbit films with Freeman. The first episode of Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011 and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. He plays Bilbo Baggins, the main character, in the three-part Peter Jackson film series The Hobbit.[10][11]

Accolades that his performance in the first part, An Unexpected Journey, garnered him include Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards[12] and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.[13]

Freeman appeared in all three of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He is a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End.[citation needed]

On the 5th of October, in 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society.

Personal life

Freeman lives in Hertfordshire with his partner, actress Amanda Abbington, whom he met on the set of Channel 4’s Men Only in 2000.[14] The couple have a son and daughter,[7][8] and have since appeared in other productions together, including Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together. In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, he discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a medic who was killed a couple of days before the Dunkirk evacuation at the beginning of World War II. Leonard's father Richard was born blind and had been a piano tuner and organist at St Andrew's Church, West Tarring and later a music teacher in Kingston upon Hull.[4]

A lifelong fan of Motown music, Freeman interviewed Smokey Robinson for an edition of The Culture Show aired in October 2009.[15] Freeman is a vegetarian.[16] He has struggled with religion, stating "My relationship with my belief has never been easy. Me and God have always been like this."[17]

Freeman is also a keen cricket fan and in 2011 took part in a charity game to raise money for victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[18]



1998I Just Want to Kiss YouFrankShort film
2000The Low DownSolomon
2001Round About FiveThe Man
Fancy DressPirate
2002Ali G IndahouseRicky C
2003Love ActuallyJohn
2004Blake's Junction 7VilaShort film
Call RegisterKevin
Shaun of the DeadDeclanCameo
2005The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyArthur Dent
Breaking and EnteringSandy
The Good NightGary Shaller
Hot FuzzMet. Sergeant
Lonely HeartsThe pigShort film
The All TogetherChris Ashworth
RubbishKevinShort film
2008Rembrandt's J'AccuseRembrandtDocumentary (related to the previous year's Nightwatching)
2009Nativity!Paul Maddens
HIV: The MusicalJames McKenzieAwaiting release
Swinging with the FinkelsAlvin Finkel
2010Wild TargetDixon
2011What's Your Number?Simon
2012The Pirates! Band of MisfitsThe Pirate with a Scarf/Number 2Voice
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyBilbo Baggins
2013The World's EndOliver Chamberlain
Saving SantaBernardVoice
The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugBilbo Baggins
2014The Hobbit: There and Back AgainBilbo BagginsPost-Production


1997The BillCraig ParnellEpisode 13.3: "Mantrap"
This LifeStuartEpisode 2.1: "Last Tango in Southwark"
1998CasualtyRicky BeckEpisode 13.8: "She Loved the Rain"
Picking up the PiecesBrendanEpisode 1.7
2000BruiserVarious charactersAppeared in all six episodes
Lock, Stock...JaapAppeared in two episodes
Black BooksDoctorEpisode 1.1: "Cooking the Books"
2001Men OnlyJamieTV film
World of PubVarious charactersAppeared in five episodes
2001–2003The OfficeTim CanterburyAppeared in all 14 episodes
2002Helen WestUnknownEpisode 1.2: "Shadow Play"
Linda GreenMattEpisode 2.8: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
2003The DebtTerry RossTV film
Margery and GladysD.S. StringerTV film
Charles II: The Power and The PassionLord ShaftesburyTV mini-series
2004PrideFleckTV film
2005The RobinsonsEd RobinsonAppeared in all six episodes
2007Comedy ShowcaseGreg WilsonSpecial 1.1: Other People
The Old Curiosity ShopMr. CodlinTV film
2008When Were We Funniest?HimselfAppeared in four episodes
2009Boy Meets GirlDanny ReedTV mini-series
Micro MenChris CurryTV film
2010–presentSherlockDr. John WatsonAll 10 episodes, including the unaired pilot
2010The Girl is Mime[19]Clive Buckle; lead actorShort film, part of the 48 Hour Film Project in London

Awards and nominations

YearNominated ForAwardCategoryResult
2002The OfficeBritish Comedy AwardsBest Comedy ActorNominated
2004The Office (for "The Office Christmas Specials")BAFTAsBest Comedy PerformanceNominated
British Comedy AwardsBest TV Comedy ActorNominated
Love ActuallyPhoenix Film Critics SocietyBest CastNominated
HardwareRose d'OrBest Male Comedy PerformanceWon
2011SherlockBAFTAsBest Supporting ActorWon
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia")Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia")Gold Derby TV AwardsTV Movie/Miniseries Supporting ActorWon
SherlockCrime Thriller AwardsBest Supporting ActorWon
SherlockPAAFTJ AwardsBest Cast in a Miniseries or TV MovieWon
SherlockPAAFTJ AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV MovieNominated
SherlockTumblr TV AwardsHottest Male Character in a TV ShowNominated
SherlockTumblr TV AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesWon
SherlockTumblr TV AwardsBest Male Character in a TV SeriesNominated
SherlockTumblr TV AwardsBest Cast in a TV ShowWon
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTotal Film Hotlist AwardsHottest ActorNominated
2013The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyEmpire AwardsBest ActorWon[13][20]
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneySaturn AwardBest ActorNominated
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyMTV Movie AwardsBest Scared-as-S**t PerformanceNominated[21]
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyMTV Movie AwardsBest HeroWon[12]
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneySFX AwardsBest ActorNominated
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyShorts AwardsVisionary ActorWon
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyNew Zealand Movie AwardsHero of the YearNominated
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyConstellation AwardsBest Male Performance In A 2012 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-SeriesNominated
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTumblr Movie AwardsBest Leading ActorNominated
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTumblr Movie AwardsBest ShipNominated
SherlockNational Television AwardsTV DetectivePending
The World's EndAlternative End of Year Film AwardsBest Ensemble CastWon


  1. ^ "Martin Freeman (April 2012)". Slow Boat Records. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  2. ^ Larman, Alexander. "Freeman, Martin (b. 1971)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  3. ^ Braun, J.W. (2010). The Lord of the Films. ECW Press. 
  4. ^ a b "Martin Freeman". Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interview: Martin Freeman, Actor". The Scotsman. 27 November 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. 30 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:'The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Paton, Maureen (17 July 2010). "In a taxi with...Martin Freeman". Daily Mail (London). 
  9. ^ Boy Meets Girl Interview: Martin Freeman profile, (30 April 2009); retrieved 27 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit". BBC News. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Child, Ben (22 October 2010). "Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, a match made in Hobbit heaven". Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Calautti, Katie (April 15, 2013). "Bilbo Baggins Beats Snow White For Best Hero At MTV Movie Awards". MTV Movie Awards.
  13. ^ a b Szalai, Georg (25 March 2013). Sam Mendes Win Empire Awards in U.K. for 'Skyfall', The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ Power, Vicki."How Tim from The Office found real love: Amanda Abbington on life with Martin Freeman". Daily Mail. 17 July 2011.
  15. ^ Two Programmes – The Culture Show, 2008/2009, Martin Freeman Goes to Motown. BBC (6 January 2009). Retrieved on 27 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Lily Allen and Friends: Martin Freeman". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:' The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The 48 Hour Film Project: Behind the Scenes". Pixiq. February 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Best Actor – Martin Freeman". Empire. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Best Scared-As-S**t Performance". MTV Movie Awards. Retrieved May 29, 2013.

External links