|Born||10 May 1957
Essex, England, UK
|Domestic partner(s)||Lesley Moors (1990s-present)|
Jennings was born to Michael Thomas and Peggy Patricia Mahoney in Essex. He attended Abbs Cross Technical High School in Hornchurch and then studied English and Theatre studies at the University of Warwick, graduating in 1978. He trained as an actor for two years at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Jennings began his career in regional repertory theatre, playing a range of roles including Robespierre in The Scarlet Pimpernel. For his performance as Gloumov in Too Clever by Half at the Old Vic, he won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance in 1988. He was nominated in the same category the following year for portraying Dorante in The Liar. He has performed for the Royal National Theatre in a number of plays.
His Royal Shakespeare Company roles include the title role in Peer Gynt (for which he won an Olivier Award 1995/6 for Best Actor), the title role in Richard II, (opposite Anton Lesser) as Henry Bolingbroke, Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream (UK, American tour and Broadway), Angelo in Measure for Measure, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, and the title role in Hamlet.
His film appearances include The Queen, War Requiem, the RSC's film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lord Mark in the Oscar-nominated movie The Wings of the Dove, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Four Feathers. His television appearances includeThe State Within, Smiley's People, The Franchise Affair, Inspector Morse, Alfonso Bonzo, the title role in Ashenden, Dead Poets Society, Inspector Alleyn, Hard Times, Bad Blood, and Peter Ackroyd's London. His many radio credits include Casino Royale, The Way of the World, Strange Meeting, Vorbis in Small Gods, and The Old Curiosity Shop. He has also recorded the audio versions of the books The Horse and His Boy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra by C. S. Lewis and Attention All Shipping by Charlie Connelly which was selected in June 2008 as one of the top forty audiobooks of all time.
He also played John Le Mesurier in the one-off BBC drama Hancock & Joan.
In June 2008 he made his operatic debut at the ENO in Robert Carsen's production of Bernstein's Candide, in which he played Voltaire and Doctor Pangloss. In 2009 he appeared in The Habit of Art as Benjamin Britten.