Robert Bathurst: Wikis


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Robert Bathurst
Born 22 February 1957 (1957-02-22) (age 52)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Victoria Threlfall (1985–present)
Official website

Robert Guy Bathurst (born 22 February 1957) is an English actor. Bathurst was born in Ghana in 1957, where his father was working as a management consultant. His family moved to Dublin, Ireland in 1959 and Bathurst was enrolled at an Anglican boarding school. In 1966, the family moved to England, and Bathurst transferred to another boarding school, where he took up amateur dramatics. At the age of 18, he read law at the University of Cambridge and joined the Cambridge Footlights group. After graduating, he took up acting full time.

He made his professional stage debut in 1982, playing Tim Allgood in Michael Frayn's Noises Off, which ran for a year at the Savoy Theatre. To broaden his knowledge of working on stage, he joined the National Theatre. He supplemented his stage roles in the 1980s with television roles, appearing in comedies such as the aborted pilot episode of Blackadder, The Lenny Henry Show, and the first episode of Red Dwarf. In 1991, he won his first major television role playing Mark Taylor in Steven Moffat's semi-autobiographical BBC sitcom Joking Apart. Although only thirteen episodes were made between 1991 and 1995, the role remains Bathurst's favourite of his whole career. After Joking Apart concluded, he was cast as pompus management consultant David Marsden in the ITV comedy drama Cold Feet, which ran for five series from 1998 to 2003.

After Cold Feet concluded, Bathurst played a fictional prime minister in the BBC sitcom My Dad's the Prime Minister, Mark Thatcher in the fact-based drama Coup!, and a man whose daughter goes missing in the ITV thriller The Stepfather. He also made a return to theatre roles, playing Vershinin in The Three Sisters (2003), Adrien in the two-hander Members Only (2006), government whip Alistair in Whipping it Up (2006–2007), and Alex in Alex (2007, 2008). In 2009, he appears in the BBC adaptation Emma, and is filming an adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth. Bathurst is married with four children.


Early life

Robert Guy Bathurst was born in Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) on 22 February 1957 to Philip Bathurst and Gillian Bathurst (née Debenham). His father was a major in the Royal Engineers during the second world war and was working in West Africa as a management consultant, and his mother was a physiotherapist.[1][2][3] They had two other children; Nicholas and Charlotte. The family lived in Ghana until 1959 when they moved to Ballybrack, Dublin, Ireland.[4] Bathurst and his brother attended two schools in Dublin—the Holy Child school in Killiney and a school in Ballsbridge—before being sent to a preparatory school in Kells, County Meath. He compared the time he and his brother, Catholics, spent at the Anglican boarding school to Lord of the Flies; "we were incarcerated in a huge, stinking, Georgian house, where we were treated very brutally."[2][3][4]

In 1966, the family moved to England. Bathurst transferred to the Worth Abbey boarding school in Sussex, which he much preferred to the school in Kells.[2] At the age of 13, he began acting in minor skits and revues and read old copies of Plays and Players magazine, "studying floor plans of theatres and reading about new theatres being built".[5] He had first become interested in acting when his family saw a pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, and he watched actors waiting for their cues in the wings.[5]

He left Worth at the age of 18 to read law at Pembroke College, Cambridge.[6] Describing himself as "hopeless at anything academic",[2] he spent much of his time at university performing in the Cambridge Footlights alongside Hugh Laurie, Rory McGrath and Emma Thompson.[2][3] From 1977–78, he was the secretary of the group, and from 1978–79 the president. He appeared in two Footlights Revues; Stage Fright in 1978, which he also co-wrote, and Nightcap in 1979.[7] He also directed and appeared in the Footlights pantomime Aladdin as Widow Twankey during the 1978–79 season.[8] He took the Bar Vocational Course in London, which allowed him to go on to become a practising barrister, but stuck to acting instead.[3]

Early career



After graduating from Cambridge, he spent a year touring Australia in the Footlights Revue Botham, The Musical.[3] Although he enjoyed his work with Footlights, he found that he was considered a "dilettante". As a result, it took him longer than expected to be accepted as a serious actor.[5] His first professional role out of university was in the BBC Radio 4 series Injury Time, alongside fellow Footlights performers Rory McGrath and Emma Thompson.[9] His first role for television came in 1982 when he appeared as Prince Henry in the unaired pilot episode of Blackadder. He had already appeared in a training video by director Geoff Posner and got the role of Henry by way of thanks. The character was recast and downgraded when the series was commissioned as The Black Adder.[9] His professional stage debut came in the same year when he joined the second cast of Michael Frayn's Noises Off at the Savoy Theatre. He replaced Roger Lloyd Pack as Tim Allgood and stayed at the Savoy for a year.[5][9] Between roles, he worked as a television presenter for BBC East.[5] After declining an offer to be a presenter of That's Life! he joined the National Theatre, where he appeared as a background actor in Saint Joan.[9][10] He regards it as "the most demoralising" job he has ever had but was grateful for the theatre experience it gave him.[5][11] In 1986, he was persuaded by a casting director to audition for the part of James Bond, but only because the producers of The Living Daylights wanted to persuade Timothy Dalton to take the role by telling him they were still auditioning other actors.[12] The following year, he appeared as Andrei Vukhov in Judgement, a monologue. The opening night audience was made up of three people but he believes he worked harder in that one play than the rest of his career.[13]

He continued to make minor appearances in television throughout the 1980s; in 1987, he auditioned for the role of Dave Lister in the BBC North science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf. The part eventually went to Craig Charles but Bathurst was given a role in the first episode of the series as Frank Todhunter, who is killed in the first ten minutes. Ten years later, Bathurst was invited to reprise the role when a storyline in the series allowed former characters to return, but filming commitments prevented him from appearing.[14] In 1989, he appeared in Malcolm Bradbury's Anything More Would Be Greedy for Anglia Television, playing Dennis Medlam, MP. The programme was broadcast in 1990 to little fanfare.[9] In 1990, he performed on Up Yer News, a live topical programme broadcast on BSB.[9]

Joking Apart

Bathurst as Mark Taylor in Joking Apart

While working on Up Yer News, Bathurst auditioned for a one-off television comedy called Joking Apart. Earlier in the day, he noticed a fellow Up Yer News performer reading the script to prepare for his own audition. As Bathurst went into the audition room, his colleague was leaving, and told Bathurst he would "break his legs" if he got the part, a threat that seemed not to be "entirely jocular".[9] Bathurst got the part, and the pilot of Joking Apart was broadcast as an installment of the BBC 2 Comic Asides strand. It returned for two series in 1993 and 1995. Bathurst appeared as sitcom writer Mark Taylor in the series. After the first series was broadcast, a critic called Bathurst the "Best Comedy Newcomer of 1993".[9]

The show was punctuated by fantasy sequences in which his character performed his thoughts as a stand-up routine in a small club. In the commentary and the interview on the DVD, Bathurst says that he was told that they would be reshot after filming everything else, an idea abandoned because of the expense. He has an idea of refilming the sequences 'now', as his older self, to give them a more retrospective feeling.[15] He has also said that he believes Mark was too "designery" and wishes that he had "roughened him up a bit".[16] The role is his favourite of his whole career; he has described it as "the most enjoyable job I will ever do" and considers several episodes of the series to be "timeless, beautifully constructed farces which will endure".[14] Bathurst is often recognised for his appearance in this series, mentioning that "Drunks stop me on public transport and tell me details of the plot of their favourite episode".[17] As punishment for arriving late for the series one press launch at the Café Royal in Regent Street, London, writer Steven Moffat pledged to write an episode in which Mark is naked throughout. To a large extent, this vow is realised in the second series.[15]

Between 1991 and 1995, Bathurst also appeared on television in No Job for a Lady, The House of Eliott and The Detectives, and on stage in The Choice, Getting Married and The Nose. He also filmed a role in The Wind in the Willows (Terry Jones, 1996) as St John Weasel.

Wider recognition

Cold Feet

In 1996, while appearing in The Rover at the Salisbury Playhouse, Bathurst got an audition for the Granada Television comedy pilot Cold Feet. He arrived for the audition "bearded and shaggy", on account of his role in the play, and did not expect to win the role of upper-middle-class management consultant David Marsden.[18] The role in the pilot was only minor, and created at the last minute to support characters played by James Nesbitt and Helen Baxendale; the only character note in the script about David related to his high salary. Bathurst identified the character as merely a "post-Thatcherite whipping boy". Bathurst reprised the role in the Cold Feet series, which ran for five years from 1998 to 2003.[10] He described the character of David as an "emotional cripple" who allowed him to live out his own mid-life crises; one episode features David celebrating his fortieth birthday and Bathurst suggested the character could get a Harley-Davidson motorbike.[12][17] Granada paid for him to take motorcycle lessons and a test. On the day before his test, the filming of a scene where David takes off on his new bike was scheduled. Bathurst "wobbled, missed the camera and crashed into the pavement" leading director Simon Delaney to exclaim it was the funniest thing he had ever seen.[10][16] The third series also features an affair between David and a political activist played by Yasmin Bannerman. Bathurst appreciated the opportunity to bring some depth a previously one-dimensional character but was more impressed with the storylines that came out of the affair, rather than the affair itself: "It was the deception, the guilt and the recrimination rather than the actual affair, which was neither interesting nor remarkable".[18] The role made him more widely recognisable and he often received prospective scripts that were "obvious rewrites of the character".[18] He turned them down, preferring to play a "good person", which would be more interesting from a dramatic point of view.[19]

Between 1998 and 2003, he made television appearances in Goodbye, Mr Steadman (2001), starring opposite Caroline Quentin as a headmaster who has been declared dead after one of his pupils erases all computer records relating to him, and the adaptation of White Teeth (2002).[10] On stage he appeared in Michael Frayn's Alarms and Excursions in 1998 and in Hedda Gabler in 1999, his last theatre role for several years.[19] In The Daily Telegraph, Charles Spencer described his role as Tesman as a "weird casting choice" but called his acting "a brave stab".[20]


In 2002, after finishing Cold Feet Bathurst went straight into filming My Dad's the Prime Minister, a series in which he portrays fictional British prime minister Michael Philips. The first series was broadcast in a Sunday afternoon CBBC slot in 2003. He watched debates in the House of Commons to prepare for the role but did not base his portrayal on Tony Blair.[21] In 2003, he returned to theatre for the first time in four years to play Vershinin in The Three Sisters, opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes. He had not seen The Three Sisters before starring in it. Director Michael Blakemore advised him to turn this to his advantage, as he would not feel he had to live up to previous portrayals.[19] After its run concluded, a special edition of The Three Sisters was filmed with the same cast for television broadcast on BBC Four.[22] In 2005, the second series of My Dad's the Prime Minister was broadcast, now moved to a Friday night timeslot to take advantage of the adult humour. The same year, he starred in the ITV thriller The Stepfather playing Christopher Veazey, a man whose daughter goes missing. Bathurst was pleased that this white-collar worker had an emotional side, in comparison to David Marsden, whom he used as a "yardstick" when accepting those sorts of roles. Also in 2005, he played Mr Sesseman in an adaptation of Heidi and Dottore Massimo in The Thief Lord.[17]

In 2006, he played Mark Thatcher in Coup!, a dramatisation of the attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea. He also starred as Adrien opposite Nicholas Tennant in the UK premiere of Members Only at the Trafalgar Studios. He accepted the part because it was "funny, plausible, plausibly absurd, and cruel" and he liked that it was a translation from an original French play. He enjoyed working on it, telling What's on Stage "Nick is a really good actor and really good to work with in that you can have completely frank discussions about tiny issues and it's totally ego-free. We're all just discussing the point and not playing games with each other. It does make the working practice easier. If there's only two of you in a play, you are equally responsible—there's nobody else to blame if it goes wrong. So its a greater risk and there's no hiding."[23] At the end of the year, he appeared opposite Richard Wilson in Whipping it Up, a play about whips in a fictional David Cameron government. To research his role, he watched more Commons debates.[21]


Bathurst with Richard Wilson on the poster for Whipping it Up at the New Ambassadors

After a season at the Bush Theatre at the end of 2006, Whipping it Up transferred to the New Ambassadors Theatre from March to June 2007, then went on a national tour from September to November 2007.[24] The tour coincided with his appearance as the titular character in Alex, based on the comic in The Daily Telegraph. The play ran at the Arts Theatre between October and November 2007 and featured Bathurst interacting with other characters that are projected onto a screen behind him. He was attracted to the role because of the "duplicity and guile" Alex uses to get himself out of tight situations.[13] The role won him a nomination for Best Solo Performance at the What's on Stage Awards.[25] He reprised the role in an international tour from September to November 2008.[26]

In 2009, he made his third and final appearance as art dealer James Garrett in My Family.[27] He also played the role of Mr Weston in the BBC costume drama Emma, which is broadcast on BBC One through October 2009.[28] He previously played Weston in a two-part adaptation of Emma for BBC Radio 4 in 2000. He will also appear as Percy Hamleigh in the German-Canadian adaptation of Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. Filming began on location in Austria in June 2009.[29]

Other work

Bathurst appears in the music video for Westlife's 2001 Comic Relief single "Uptown Girl".

Personal life

Bathurst met artist Victoria Threlfall through mutual friends and they married in 1985. They have four daughters: Matilda, Clemency, Oriel, and Honor.[1][3]



Year Title Role Other notes
1982 The Black Adder Prince Henry Unaired pilot episode
1984 The Lenny Henry Show Cast member
1986 Whoops Apocalypse Damien
Who Dares Wins 1 episode: Series 3, Episode 6
1987 The District Nurse Christian 1 episode: "Myths and Follies"
1988 Red Dwarf Frank Todhunter 1 episode: "The End"
Chelmsford 123 Gaius 1 episode: "Arrivederci Roma"
1989 Anything More Would Be Greedy Dennis Medlam
1991 About Face Dave 1 episode: "Briefcase Encounter"
Lazarus & Dingwall Justin De Jong 1 episode: "You Expect Us To Believe That?"
Twenty-One Mr Metcalfe
Comic Asides: Joking Apart Mark Taylor Pilot for Joking Apart
1992 No Job for a Lady Tony 1 episode: "Lobby Terms"
Early Travellers in North America William Makepeace Thackery 2 episodes: "Bed and Board" and "Slavery"
The House of Eliott Hector Furneux 1 episode: Series 2, Episode 10
1993 Joking Apart Mark Taylor 2 series, 1993–1995
1994 The Detectives Thomas 1 episode: "Never Without Protection"
A Breed of Heroes Major Edward Lumley
1997 Get Well Soon Squadron Leader Fielding
Comedy Premieres: Cold Feet David Marsden Pilot for Cold Feet
1998 Hornblower Lt. Eccleston 1 episode: "The Even Chance"
Cold Feet David Marsden 5 series, 1998–2003
1999 The Nearly Complete and
Utter History of Everything
English Ambassador
Sir Francis Drake
2001 Goodbye, Mr Steadman Alan Steadman
2002 The Secret Alex Faraday
White Teeth Marcus Malfen
The Safe House Dr Adam Daley
2003 My Dad's the Prime Minister Prime Minister Michael Phillips 2 series, 2003–2004
2004 New Tricks Martin Lombard 1 episode: Series 1, Episode 6
2005 The Stepfather Christopher Veazey
Agatha Christie's Poirot Gilbert Entwhistle 1 episode: "After the Funeral"
The Comic Strip Presents... Charles 1 episode: "Sex Actually"
2006 Coup! Mark Thatcher
My Family James Garrett 3 episodes, 2006–2009: "The Art of Being Susan"
"Dutch Art and Dutch Courage", "Bringing Up Janey"
2007 Kingdom Philip Collins 1 episode: Series 1, Episode 5
2009 Emma Mr Weston
The Queen Anthony Eden 1 episode: Episode 1


Year Title Role
1988 Just Ask For Diamond Vicar
1991 Twenty-One Mr Metcalfe
1996 The Wind in the Willows St John Weasel
2005 Heidi Mr Sessemann
2006 The Thief Lord Dottore Massimo

Stage roles

Year Title Role Director Performance history
1982 Noises Off Tim Allgood Savoy Theatre (second cast), from 3 January
Beyond the Footlights Jon Plowman Lyric, Hammersmith, 5–10 April
1983 Saint Joan Background actor Ronald Eyre National Theatre
1984 A Little Hotel on the Side
Mandragola David Gilmore Olivier (National), from 14 June
1986 The Swap Roger Mark McCrum Boulevard, Soho, from 9 September for six weeks
1987 Judgement Andrei Vukhov Paul Jepson Man in the Moon, 18 August–15 September 1987
Ubu Paul Jepson Latchmere, Battersea, 28 December 1987–15 January 1988
1988 Dry Rot Christopher Renshaw Lyric Theatre
1990 The Importance of Being Earnest Jack Pip Broughton Nottingham Playhouse, 3–20 October 1990
The Next Best Thing Patrick Sandford Nuffield, Southampton
1991 Lady Audley's Secret Annie Castledine Lyric Hammersmith, 21 October–30 November 1991
1992 The Choice Consultant Annie Castledine Salisbury Playhouse (Salberg Studio), 12–28 March 1992
1993 Getting Married Hotchkis Frank Hauser Chichester Festival, 30 April–24 June 1993
1994 A Comedy of Errors Paul Clayton Nottingham Playhouse
1995 The Nose Kovalyov Martin Duncan Nottingham Playhouse, 25 March–15 April 1995
1996 The Rover Willmore Jonathan Church Salisbury Playhouse, 29 April–25 May 1996
1998 Good Copy West Yorkshire Playhouse
Alarms and Excursions Michael Blakemore Gielgud Theatre, 14 September 1998–6 March 1999
1999 Hedda Gabler Tesman Regional tour
2003 The Three Sisters Vershinin Michael Blakemore Playhouse Theatre, 30 March–18 May 2003
2006 Members Only Adrien Marianne Badrichani Trafalgar Studios, 28 March–22 April 2006
Whipping it Up Alistair Terry Johnson Bush Theatre, 10 November–23 December 2006
Ambassadors Theatre, 22 February–16 June 2007
National tour, September–November 2007
2007 Alex Alex Phelim McDermott Arts Theatre, 18 October–8 December 2007
International tour in 2008
Nominated, What's on Stage Award for Best Solo Performance
2010 Present Laughter Garry Essendine Belinda Lang National tour, January–May 2010


  1. ^ a b "Person Page 14430". Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Chilsett, Helen (14 November 1999). "Freedom fighter". The Mail on Sunday (Associated Newspapers): p. 29 (Night & Day supplement).
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hagan, Angela (2 December 2000). "Why I'd never let my girls watch Cold Feet". The Mirror (MGN): pp. 4–5.
  4. ^ a b Quigley, Maeve (28 January 2001). "People don't get Cold Feet about approaching me.. they come up and say: 'I want to thump you'". Sunday Mirror (MGN): p. 39 (archived at
  5. ^ a b c d e f Smurthwaite, Nick (11 October 2006). "Filling in the blanks". The Stage: p. 35.
  6. ^ "Register of Alumni/ae: Surnames beginning with BA". Pembroke College website. Retrieved on 3 August 2009.
  7. ^ "1970". Footlights website. Retrieved on 29 June 2009.
  8. ^ Staff (18 January 1979). "Aladdin". The Stage and Television Today: p. 15.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Robins, Craig (October 2004). "In conversation with Robert Bathurst: Part 1, 2, 3, 4". Retrieved on 8 December 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d Sturges, Fiona (30 November 2001). "Robert Bathurst: Thingy out of Cold Feet". The Independent (Independent News & Media).
  11. ^ Multiple contributors (3 November 2003). "Our chat with Cold Feet". This is London (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved on 16 September 2007.
  12. ^ a b McCaffrey, Julie (22 February 2003). "Bathurst's cure for cold feet". Edinburgh Evening News (The Scotsman Publications): p. 18.
  13. ^ a b Lee, Marc (6 October 2007). "'Alex is the Indiana Jones of corporate finance'". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group): p. 9 (Review supplement).
  14. ^ a b Ellard, Andrew (25 June 2001). "Talented Todhunter". Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  15. ^ a b Bathurst, Robert; Steven Moffat. (2008). Joking Apart DVD commentary for Series 2, Episode 4. [DVD]. Replay DVD.
  16. ^ a b Rai, Bindu (4 October 2008). "Bathurst toons in to finance". Emirates Business 24/7 (Arab Media Group). Retrieved on 4 October 2008.
  17. ^ a b c Keal, Graham (30 January 2005). "New role suits Cold Feet star". The Sunday Sun (ncjMedia).
  18. ^ a b c Smith, Rupert (2003). Cold Feet: The Complete Companion. London: Granada Media. pp. 115–116. ISBN 023300999X.
  19. ^ a b c Embray, Richard (10 June 2003). "The Big Interview: Robert Bathurst". Official London Theatre Guide. Retrieved on 29 June 2009.
  20. ^ Spencer, Charles (2 December 1999). "Ibsen in a sauna". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group).
  21. ^ a b Bathurst, Robert (10 May 2007). "A figure of ridicule: Oh, how we will miss him". The Independent (Independent News & Media).
  22. ^ Gans, Andrew (8 May 2003). "Star-Studded Three Sisters to Be Filmed for TV Broadcast". Playbill. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  23. ^ Ansdell, Caroline (3 April 2006). "20 Questions With…Robert Bathurst". (Bandwidth Communications). Retrieved on 27 June 2009.
  24. ^ O'Neill, Heather (15 November 2006). "Whipping it Up". The Stage Online. Retrieved on 28 June 2009.
  25. ^ "The 2008 Theatregoers' Choice Award Winners". 2008. Retrieved on 1 May 2008.
  26. ^ Shenton, Mark (30 August 2008). "Alex, Live Stage Version of Newspaper Cartoon, to Tour Prior to London Season". Playbill.
  27. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (27 March 2008). "BBC orders two more series of My Family". (Guardian News & Media). Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  28. ^ Emma. BBC Online. Retrieved on 1 January 2010.
  29. ^ Tandem Communications (9 June 2009). "The Pillars of the Earth". Press release. Retrieved on 30 June 2009.

External links


Cultural offices
Preceded by
Martin Bergman
Footlights President
Succeeded by
Jan Ravens


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