Hugh Bonneville is featured in Shakespeare Uncovered: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Hugh Bonneville, which airs Friday, January 30 at 9PM EST (check local listings).
Hugh Bonneville was a member of the National Youth Theatre, studied Theology at Cambridge and made his professional debut at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, in 1986, bashing a cymbal in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and understudying Ralph Fiennes as Lysander. He then spent several seasons with the National Theatre where he appeared in School For Wives, Yerma, Entertaining Strangers, Juno and the Paycock and played Charles Surface in The School for Scandal and the title role in The Devil’s Disciple. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991, appearing in Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Alchemist, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Virtuso and Amphibians. He also played Laertes to Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. His work at the RSC brought him a nomination for The Ian Charleson Award. Other theatre includes Habeas Corpus at the Donmar, directed by Sam Mendes, and seasons at Colchester, Leicester Haymarket and Chichester. He also appeared in My Night with Reg (Criterion & Playhouse), US and Them (Hampstead) and Cloaca (Old Vic, directed by Kevin Spacey).
Hugh is a familiar face to television audiences, having played leading roles in The Cazalets, Take a Girl Like You, Armadillo, Daniel Deronda and The Commander. He appeared in the Emmy award-winning The Gathering Storm and played the poet Philip Larkin in Love Again. Other credits range from comedies like The Robinsons, The Vicar of Dibley, Freezing, Rev, Getting On and Mr Stink (BAFTA nomination, Best Comedy) to dramas such as Diary of a Nobody, Tsunami: The Aftermath, Miss Austen Regrets, Five Days, Hunter, The Silence and Doctor Who.
Twenty Twelve won a British Comedy Award (2011) and a BAFTA (2013) for Best Situation Comedy, Hugh being nominated two years running as Best Comedy Actor. In 2014, Hugh’s character, Ian Fletcher, appeared in W1A, a follow-up series about life at the BBC. Four new episodes will be broadcast in 2015.
Downton Abbey has won more than 30 awards worldwide and Hugh has received both a Golden Globe and 2 Emmy nominations for his performance as Robert, Earl of Grantham. The cast won Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2013.
Hugh will make a guest appearance in ABC’s forthcoming comedy series Galavant and is currently filming Henry VI Pt 1, part of the BBC’s Hollow Crown series of Shakespeare films, in which he plays the Duke of Gloucester.
Hugh made his feature film debut in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1994, directed by Kenneth Branagh. He has since appeared in more than a dozen films, including Notting Hill, Mansfield Park, Stage Beauty, Asylum, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Man to Man, From Time to Time, Glorious 39, Burke & Hare, Third Star, Shanghai and The Monuments Men.
Hugh received a BAFTA Best Supporting Actor nomination for Iris and won Best Actor at the Monte Carlo Film Festival for his performance in French Film.
Hugh appears alongside Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi and Jim Broadbent in Paddington, which goes on general release in the UK on 28th November and on January 16th 2015 in the US. Ben Whishaw voices the much-loved “bear from darkest Peru”.
Behind the scenes, Hugh co-produced the first West End production of Jonathan Harvey’s acclaimed Beautiful Thing at the Duke of York’s Theatre and wrote Half Time with Christopher Luscombe, which he also directed.
With BBC Films and StudioCanal, Hugh is currently developing a screenplay by Aschlin Ditta (Scenes of a Sexual Nature, French Film, The Catherine Tate Show), based on Me: The Authorised Biography, the autobiography of journalist Byron Rogers.
Hugh is a patron of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, The National Youth Arts Trust, Scene & Heard, Giant Olive Theatre Company, The Primary Shakespeare Company and The Centre Stage Academy.
He lives in West Sussex with his wife, Lulu Williams. They have a thirteen year old son, Felix.
(updated November 2014)