Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville Biography

Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams (born 10 November 1963), known professionally as Hugh Bonneville, is an English stage, film, television and radio actor. He is most well known for starring in the ITV hit television series Downton Abbey (beginning in 2010) and the BBC London Olympics mockumentary comedy series Twenty Twelve.

Bonneville also starred as Bernie in Notting Hill. From 2011, he has been the narrator of the Channel 4 show The Hotel, for all three series. In 2013, he made a brief appearance as the Duke of Milan for the opening episode of Da Vinci's Demons.

Early life and education

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

Following secondary education, Bonneville read Theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and studied acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Bonneville is also an alumnus of the National Youth Theatre.


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 was also Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Bergetto in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Kastril and later Surly in The Alchemist.

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.

In early 2010, he earned a role in the comedy film Burke and Hare. 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 appearing in the 2012 series of the popular ITV period drama Downton Abbey, as Robert, Earl of Grantham. He is also slated to appear in the much-delayed Hippie Hippie Shake, alongside Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller.


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. Shortly thereafter he became Giant Olive's first Patron.


He is a patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard, and of the medical relief charity Medical Emergency Relief International.


Year Film Role Notes
1990 Chancer Jas TV series (2 episodes)
1991 Dodgem Rick Bayne TV series (5 episode)
1993 Paul Merton: The Series Captain TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.6")
Stalag Luft Barton TV film
1994 The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Victor Savage TV series (1 episode: "The Dying Detective", credited as Richard Bonneville)
Peak Practice Dominic Kent TV series (1 episode: "Perfect Love")
Cadfael Daniel Aurifaber TV series (1 episode: "The Sanctuary Sparrow", credited as Richard Bonneville)
Frankenstein Schiller
Between the Lines Henry Oakes TV series (1 episode: "Close Protection", credited as Richard Bonneville)
1995 The Imaginatively Titled Punt & Dennis Show TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.5")
The Vet Alan Sinclair TV series (6 episodes)
Eastenders Headmaster TV series (1 episode: "14 December 1995")
1996 Married for Life Steve Hollingsworth TV series (7 episodes); a British remake of
Bugs Nathan Pym TV series (1 episode: "Bugged Wheat")
1997 Breakout Peter Schneider TV film
See You Friday Daniel TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.1")
The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous Ferdinand Fitzgerald TV mini-series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.1")
Get Well Soon Norman Tucker TV series (4 episodes)
Tomorrow Never Dies Air Warfare Officer " HMS Bedford
1998 Heat of the Sun Reverend Edward Herbert TV series (1 episode: "Hide in Plain Sight")
Mosley Bob Boothby TV series (4 episodes)
The Scold's Bridle Tim Duggan TV film
Holding the Baby Gordon Muir TV series (series 2)
1999 Murder Most Horrid Inspector Dawson TV series (1 episode: "Confessions of a Murderer")
Notting Hill Bernie
Mansfield Park Mr. Rushworth
2000 Thursday the 12th Brin Hopper TV film
Madame Bovary Charles Bovary TV film
Take a Girl Like You Julian Ormerod TV series
2001 Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairy Tale Publisher TV film
Blow Dry Louis
High Heels and Low Lifes Farmer
The Cazalets Hugh Cazalet TV series (6 episodes)
The Emperor's New Clothes Bertrand
Armadillo Torquil Helvoir Jayne TV series
Iris Young John Bayley Berlin 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
2002 Impact Phil Epson TV film
The Gathering Storm Ivo Pettifer TV film
Right Under My Eyes James TV film
The Biographer Eric TV film
Midsomer Murders Hugh Barton TV series (1 episode: "Ring Out Your Dead")
Tipping the Velvet Ralph Banner TV series
Doctor Zhivago Andrey Zhivago TV film
Daniel Deronda Henleigh Grandcourt TV film
2003 The Commander James Lampton TV film
Conspiracy of Silence Fr. Jack Dowling
Love Again Philip Larkin TV film
Hear the Silence Dr. Andrew Wakefield TV film
2004 Piccadilly Jim Lord Wisbeach
Wren: The Man Who Built Britain Christopher Wren TV documentary
Stage Beauty Samuel Pepys
2005 The Commander: Virus James Lampton uncredited
The Commander: Blackout James Lampton uncredited
The Rotter's Club Voice of Adult Ben TV series
Man to Man Fraser McBride
Asylum Max Raphael
The Robinsons George Robinson TV series (6 episodes)
Underclassman Headmaster Felix Powers
2006 Beau Brummell: This Charming Man Prince Regent TV film
Courting Alex Julian/Charles Carter TV series (10 episodes)
Scenes of a Sexual Nature Gerry
Tsunami: The Aftermath Tony Whittaker TV film
2007 Four Last Songs Sebastian Burrows
The Diary of a Nobody Pooter TV film
The Vicar of Dibley Jeremy Ogilvy TV series (1 episode: "The Vicar in White")
Five Days DSI Iain Barclay TV series (4 episodes)
Miss Austen Regrets Rev. Brook Bridges TV film
Hola to the World Painter short
The Replacements Voice TV series (1 episode: "London Calling")
Freezing Matt TV series (3 episodes: 2007"2008)
2008 Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story Sir Hugh Carleton Greene TV film
Bonekickers Gregory Parton TV series (6 episodes)
Lost in Austen Mr. Bennet TV mini-series (4 episodes)
One of Those Days Mr. Burrell short
French Film Jed Jury Prize " Best Actor
Country House Rescue (series 1) Narrator TV series (6 episodes: 2008"2009)
2009 Knife Edge Charles Pollock
Hunter DSI Iain Barclay TV mini-series (2 episodes)
Glorious 39 Gilbert
From Time to Time Captain Oldknow
Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue Narrator TV series (6 episodes)
Country House Rescue Revisited Narrator TV series (3 episodes: 2009)
2010 Legally Mad Gordon Hamm TV film
Critical Eye Brian
Ben Hur Pontius Pilate TV mini-series (2 episodes)
Shanghai Ben Sanger
Third Star Beachcomber
Agatha Christie's Poirot Edward Masterman TV series (1 episode: "Murder on the Orient Express")
The Silence Chris TV series (4 episodes)
Rev. Roland Wise TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.1.4")
Burke & Hare Lord Harrington
As Time goes by (film)
Hippie Hippie Shake John Mortimer Unreleased
Country House Rescue (series 2) Narrator TV series (8 episodes: 2010)
Downton Abbey Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham TV series (25 episodes: 2010")
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated " Golden Globe Award for Best Actor " Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated " Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor " Drama Series
Nominated " Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
Nominated " Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2013)
2011 Marple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side Inspector Hewitt TV film
Twenty Twelve Ian Fletcher TV series
Nominated " BAFTA TV Award for Best Male Comedy Performance
Doctor Who Captain Avery TV series (2 episodes: "The Curse of the Black Spot" and "A Good Man Goes to War")
Country House Rescue (series 3) Narrator TV series (7 episodes: 2011)
The Hotel Narrator Series 1
Third Star Beachcomber Film
Rev. Roland Wise TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.2.1")
2012 The Hotel Narrator Series 2
Turn Back Time: The Family Narrator TV series (5 episodes: 2012)
Getting On Philip Moore TV series (1 episode: 2012)
Mr Stink Mr Stink TV film
World's Most Dangerous Roads TV series (1 episode: "Episode No.3.2")
2013 The Hotel Narrator Series 3
Monuments Men
Da Vinci's Demons Duke of Milan TV series (1 episode: 2013)

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