Meet the characters and cast
of The 39 Steps
Step into the frenetic and shadowy world of The 39 Steps. Click on any of the major characters to learn how they fit into the story, and also about the careers of the actors who portray them.
Recently returned from Southwest Africa, Richard Hannay is bored and restless in London. But he is soon caught up in a deadly conspiracy that threatens not only his life, but the safety of the nation.
The son of actors Peter Penry-Jones and Angela Thorne, and brother of actor Laurence Penry-Jones, Rupert Penry-Jones started his theatrical career at age 16 in London's National Youth Theatre. Penry-Jones won the prestigious Ian Charleson Award (given to UK actors under age 30 for work on stage in classical roles) in 2000 for his performance in England's Royal Shakespeare Company production of Don Carlos. He is best known for playing Adam Carter in the British drama series Spooks. Penry-Jones has also appeared in Masterpiece's Persuasion, The Prince of Hearts and Casanova. His film credits include Match Point, The Four Feathers, Charlotte Gray, and Hilary and Jackie.
Victoria Sinclair is a feisty suffragette who accidentally finds herself on the run with Richard.
Lydia Leonard studied at England's Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. After graduating in 2003, she received a BBC Radio Drama scholarship. Her radio credits include a 12-part adaptation of Anthony Trollope's series of political novels. Leonard has appeared on Masterpiece' in Jericho and Foyle's War. Other television credits include Casualty 1907, Casualty 1909 and The Line of Beauty. Leonard has been seen on the UK stage in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hecuba starring Vanessa Redgrave and in the National Theatre's Time and the Conways alongside Francesca Annis (Cranford, Return to Cranford).
Victoria's bumbling and inexperienced brother, Harry Sinclair is running for Parliament as the liberal candidate.
Patrick Kennedy is well known for his portrayal of Richard Carstone in Masterpiece's Bleak House. Film credits include The Last Station, Atonement and Munich. He has also appeared in a number of British stage productions including A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Bristol Old Vic.
Sir George Sinclair
Sir George Sinclair, Victoria and Harry's uncle, has cared for them since their father passed away. He considers himself like a father to them.
Expelled from school, David Haig held a variety of jobs including making fiberglass toilets and shoveling grain before studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. While one British newspaper notes Haig could now make claim to being one of England's hardest working stage actors, Haig himself chalks up his work ethic to the fact that he has five children. Haig wrote and starred in Masterpiece's My Boy Jack as well as the original stage production from which it was adapted. Haig was awarded London's Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1988 in the Best Actor in a New Play category for his performance in Our Country's Good. His many television credits include The Thick of It, Midsomer Murders, The Thin Blue Line and Doctor Who.
A mysterious figure, Professor Fisher seems concerned with the plight of Victoria Sinclair, but does he have a more nefarious agenda?
Patrick Malahide was born to a working class family, and educated in England's private schools. By age eight, Malahide had developed a range of English, Irish and other accents that would later become a hallmark of his stage, television and film career. Recognized for often playing villains, Malahide has been seen in movies such as Billy Elliot, Quills, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, A Month in the Country and Brideshead Revisited. His previous Masterpiece appearances include The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, Goodbye Mr. Chips, A Doll's House, Middlemarch and All the King's Men among others. He's also recently been seen on television in Into the Storm.
Captain Kell is an agent for the British Secret Service Bureau.
Alex Jennings trained at England's Bristol Old Vic Theater School, and is recognized for a variety of roles on the British stage including: Leontes in The Winter's Take, Higgins in My Fair Lady and the title roles in Peer Gynt and Hamlet. He has won three Laurence Olivier Awards for his work. Jennings has appeared in the Masterpiece productions of Cranford, Return to Cranford, Miss Marple, Hard Times, Poirot, and Inspector Morse. On film, he has been seen in Babel and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason among others, and played Prince Charles in The Queen alongside Helen Mirren.
Scudder, Richard Hannay's neighbor, claims to be an undercover agent with the British Secret Service Bureau. He gives Richard a mysterious notebook.
From a working class London background, Eddie Marsan was a printer before turning to acting. Marsan has been seen in a variety of films ranging from Happy-Go-Lucky, 21 Grams and Vera Drake to Mission Impossible III and The Illusionist. He recently appeared alongside Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law in Guy Ritchie's film Sherlock Holmes. Marsan's Masterpiece credits include God on Trial and Little Dorrit.