Timothy Spall (1957-) b. Battersea, London, England, UK.
Timothy Spall grew on a Battersea estate with his three brothers. His mum was a hairdresser and his dad a postal worker, and he went to Battersea County School. Aged 18 he rejected the chance of a career in the army and instead trained at the National Youth Theatre and RADA, where he was awarded the Bancroft Gold Medal as the most promising actor in his year. Initially notable in the UK for playing the gormless Brummie Barry Taylor in all five series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1983-2005) he has since starred in a wide range of films, television and theatre.
He has been a regular feature in Mike Leigh’s films. He first teamed with Leigh on the BBC television drama Home Sweet Home (1981) and subsequently collaborated in the feature films Life is Sweet (1991), Secrets & Lies (1996), Topsy Turvy (1999) and All or Nothing (2002). Other notable film appearances include supporting roles in Frank Roddam’s Quadrophenia (1979), Ken Russell’s Gothic (1986) and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky (1990). Spall went on to appear in Kenneth Branagh‘s all-star Hamlet (1996) and reunited with Branagh in Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000).
In 1999 he was awarded an OBE. Away from Leigh’s bleak roles, Spall has enjoyed a career as a comic character actor including the winning rock group reuniting comedy Still Crazy (1998) and Peter Cattaneo‘s prison-break comedy Lucky Break (2001). He gained international recognition as Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). Spall played the starring role of Albert Pierrepoint in the film Pierrepoint (2005) and was widely praised for his performance. He made the best of a bad job when cast as Harry Houdini’s cynical manager in the vacuous Death Defying Acts (2007), and produced a powerful performance as Brian Clough’s number two, Peter Taylor, in The Damned United (2009).