Jim Broadbent

Jim Broadbent

Born James Broadbent
(1949-05-24) 24 May 1949
Holton cum Beckering, England
Alma mater London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor, voice artist
Years active 1972[1]–present
Spouse(s) Anastasia Lewis (m. 1987)

James "Jim" Broadbent (born 24 May 1949) is an English actor and voice artist.

Born in Lincolnshire to parents who were both amateur actors, he was educated at Leighton Park School, a Quaker school in Reading and briefly attended art college before transferring to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, from which he graduated in 1972. His early stage work included appearances as Patrick Barlow's assistant in the mock "National Theatre of Brent".

He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Iris and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Moulin Rouge!, both in 2001, and the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film for his portrayal of penal reformer Lord Longford in the drama Longford in 2006.

Early life

Broadbent was born in Holton cum Beckering,[2] in Lincolnshire, the second son of Doreen "Dee" Broadbent (née Findlay), a sculptor, and Roy Laverick Broadbent, an artist, sculptor, interior designer and furniture maker who turned a former church into a theatre named after him.[3] Broadbent's parents were both amateur actors who co-founded the Holton Players acting troupe at Holton cum Beckering;[4] the two have been described by the BBC as conscientious objectors who "worked the land" rather than participate in World War II.[3] He had a twin sister who died at birth. Broadbent was educated at Leighton Park School, a Quaker school in Reading,[5] and briefly attended art college before transferring to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art from which he graduated in 1972.[6]


Broadbent's early stagework included a number of productions for The National Theatre of Brent as the downtrodden assistant Wallace to Patrick Barlow's self-important actor/manager character Desmond Olivier Dingle. Broadbent and Barlow played many male and female character roles in comically less-than-epic tellings of historical and religious stories, such as The Complete Guide to Sex, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Revolution!!, and All The World's A Globe. These were hits at the Edinburgh Fringe, in London, and on tour. Later stage work included the original productions of Kafka's Dick (1986) and Our Country's Good (1988) at the Royal Court Theatre and work for the Royal National Theatre including "The Government Inspector". Work on the stage with Mike Leigh includes Goosepimples and Ecstasy.

He had worked with Stephen Frears in The Hit (1984) and Terry Gilliam in Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985) before establishing himself in Mike Leigh's Life Is Sweet (1990). He proved his ability as a character actor in films including The Crying Game (1992), Enchanted April (1992), Bullets over Broadway (1994), The Borrowers (1997), and Little Voice (1998) before taking a leading role in another Mike Leigh film, Topsy-Turvy (1999), playing dramatist Sir William S. Gilbert. He played "The Shy Doctor" in the 1999 Comic Relief parody Doctor Who sketch, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. In 2001, Broadbent starred in three of the year's most successful films: Bridget Jones's Diary; Moulin Rouge!, for which he won a BAFTA; and Iris, for which he won an Oscar for his portrayal of John Bayley.[7]

Broadbent voiced Madame Gasket in the 2005 film Robots. Broadbent also appeared as DCI Roy Slater, an associate character in the enormously popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses. The character appeared in three episodes over an eight-year period. He had originally been offered the lead role of Del Boy in the series, but he turned it down due to other commitments. He has also played a role in the Inspector Morse series. Other comic roles include the lead role in the sitcom The Peter Principle and occasional guest appearances in Not The Nine O'Clock News, Only Fools and Horses, and Victoria Wood As Seen on TV. He portrayed Don Speekingleesh in The Queen of Spain's Beard in the first series of The Black Adder in 1983. He also played the role of Prince Albert in Blackadder's Christmas Carol, first broadcast in 1988. He joined Rowan Atkinson in his Spider-Man spoof Spider-Plant Man, as a disgruntled Batman, jealous of Spider-Plant Man's success.

Broadbent played the lead role of the TV film Wide-Eyed And Legless.[8] Based on a true story, the drama tells of Deric Longden's wife, Diana, and her fight against a mysterious wasting illness which turned out to be ME. It began as a type of flu but it grew progressively worse. She was subject to blackouts and became so debilitated that she could barely get out of her wheelchair. It led to years of pain and paralysis that ended in her death.

Broadbent portrayed the title role in the Channel 4 drama Longford in October 2006, earning a BAFTA TV Award, a Golden Globe, and a 2007 Emmy nomination for his performance as Frank Pakenham (1905–2001), Earl of Longford, which was centred on Longford's ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the parole of Myra Hindley from her life imprisonment for the Moors Murders.

Broadbent appeared as Inspector Frank Butterman in Hot Fuzz in 2007.

The Broadbent Theatre, Wickenby, Lincolnshire, named after Roy Broadbent, father of Jim. Photographed 2006.

He appeared in the original radio production of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, playing the character Vroomfondel. He was also a regular in Stephen Fry's radio comedy show Saturday Night Fry, which aired on BBC Radio 4 in 1988.

Broadbent played Dean Charles Stanforth in the fourth film in the Indiana Jones series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; King William IV in The Young Victoria; and Horace Slughorn in the sixth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as well as the final movie in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.[9] In 2008, he starred as pro-Newtonian physicist Sir Oliver Lodge in the fact-based single drama Einstein and Eddington for the BBC.

In 2009, he portrayed Sam Longson, chairman of Derby County football club in the 1960s and 1970s, in the film The Damned United; the starring character in the film was football manager Brian Clough, played by Michael Sheen.

In 2010, he provided the voice for the character Major Mouse in a series of radio advertisements and one produced for television for an energy company, E.ON, for their eonenergyfit.com website campaign. He also starred as the older Logan Mountstuart in the TV adaptation of William Boyd's novel Any Human Heart.

He had a lead role in Exile, a BBC One drama, starring John Simm and written by Danny Brocklehurst.[10]

In 2012 he played Denis Thatcher opposite Oscar-winner Meryl Streep as the former Prime Minister in The Iron Lady.

In 2016, he was cast in the seventh season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.[11]

Personal life

Broadbent has been married to painter and former theatre designer Anastasia Lewis[12] since 1987.

Filmography and awards


Year Title Role Notes
1978 The Life Story of Baal Woodcutter
1978 The Shout Asylum Fielder
1979 Long Distance Information Mackaness
1979 Not the Nine O'Clock News Union negotiator Sketch: "Final Demands"
1980 Breaking Glass Station Porter
1980 Games Without Frontiers Stewart
1981 Dogs of War, TheThe Dogs of War Film crew
1981 Time Bandits Compere
1982 Bird of Prey DI Richardson
1983 Birth of a Nation Geoff Fig
1985 Brazil Dr. Jaffe
1985 Good Father, TheThe Good Father Roger Miles
1987 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Jean Pierre Dubois
1987 Victoria Wood As Seen On TV the Doctor Appears in a sketch spoofing Doctor Who
1989 Erik the Viking Ernest the Viking
1990 Life Is Sweet Andy
1992 Enchanted April Frederick Arbuthnot
1992 Crying Game, TheThe Crying Game Col
1993 Wide-Eyed And Legless Deric Longden Based on the autobiographical book Diana's Story by Deric Longden
1993 Prince Cinders Ugly Brother
1994 Bullets over Broadway Warner Purcell
1994 Princess Caraboo Mr. Worrall
1994 Widows' Peak Con Clancy
1995 Richard III The Duke of Buckingham
1995 The Last Englishman Col. Alfred D. Wintle
1997 Borrowers, TheThe Borrowers Pod Clock
1997 Smilla's Sense of Snow Dr. Lagermann
1998 Avengers, TheThe Avengers Mother
1998 Little Voice Mr. Boo Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1999 Topsy-Turvy W. S. Gilbert
2001 Bridget Jones's Diary Colin Jones
2001 Moulin Rouge! Harold Zidler
2001 Iris John Bayley
2002 Gangs of New York Boss Tweed
2002 Nicholas Nickleby Mr. Wackford Squeers National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
2003 Bright Young Things Drunk Major
2004 Around the World in 80 Days Lord Kelvin
2004 Vanity Fair Mr. Osborne
2004 Vera Drake Judge
2004 Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Colin Jones
2005 Robots Madame Gasket Voice role
2005 Valiant Sergeant Voice role
2005 Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, TheThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Professor Kirke
2006 Free Jimmy Igor Stromowskij Voice role for 2008 English version
2006 Art School Confidential Jimmy
2007 Hot Fuzz Inspector Frank Butterman
2007 And When Did You Last See Your Father? Arthur Morrison
2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Dean Charles Stanforth
2008 Inkheart Fenoglio
2009 Young Victoria, TheThe Young Victoria King William IV
2009 Damned United, TheThe Damned United Sam Longson Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Horace Slughorn
2009 Perrier's Bounty Jim McCrea
2010 Another Year Tom
2010 Animals United Winston
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Horace Slughorn
2011 Arthur Christmas Malcolm "Santa" Claus Voice role
2011 The Iron Lady Denis Thatcher
2012 Cloud Atlas Captain Molyneux,
Vyvyan Ayrs,
Timothy Cavendish,
Korean Musician,
Prescient 2
2014 Postman Pat: The Movie Mr. Brown[13][14] Voice only
2013 Closed Circuit Attorney General
2013 Filth Dr. Rossi
2013 Le Week-End Nick Burrows
2013 The Great Train Robbery Tommy Butler
2013 The Harry Hill Movie Bill the Cleaner
2013 The Phone Call Stanley Short film
2014 Paddington Samuel Gruber
2014 Get Santa Santa Claus
2014 Big Game Herbert
2015 Brooklyn Father Flood
2015 The Lady in the Van Underwood
2016 Eddie the Eagle BBC Commentator
2016 The Legend of Tarzan British Prime Minister
2016 Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods[15] Julius Caesar Voice role; English dub
2016 The Sense of an Ending Tony Webster
2016 Bridget Jones's Baby Colin Jones
2016 Ethel and Ernest Ernest Briggs Voice role
2016 Magik Lewis Clark Voice role; Post-production
2017 The Sense of an Ending Tony Webster
2017 Paddington 2[16] Samuel Gruber Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Objects of Affection Cemetery Attendant Episode: "Our Winnie"
1983 Black Adder, TheThe Black Adder Don Speekingleesh
1983–1991 Only Fools and Horses Det. Chief Insp. Roy Slater Television series: 3 episodes
1985 Happy Families Dalcroix Television series: 3 episodes
1988 Blackadder's Christmas Carol Prince Albert Television special
1989 Revolution!! Wallace Television film
Also writer
1991 Gone to the Dogs Jim Morley
1991 Murder Most Horrid Selwyn Proops Television series, 1 episode: "A Determined Woman".
1992 A Sense of History The 23rd Earl of Leete Television film
Also writer
1996–2000 Percy the Park Keeper Percy Voice for animated children's series
1999 Doctor Who: Curse of Fatal Death Credited as The Shy Doctor Television special
2002 Gathering Storm, TheThe Gathering Storm Desmond Morton
2003 Young Visiters, TheThe Young Visiters Alfred Salteena
2004 Pride Eddie Voice role
Television film
2006 Street, TheThe Street Stan McDermott
2006 Longford Lord Longford
2008 Einstein and Eddington Sir Oliver Lodge Television film
2010 Any Human Heart Logan Mountstuart (older)
2011 Exile Sam Ronstadt Television series: 3 episodes
2015 London Spy Scottie BBC Two's five-part series
2015 The Go-Between Old Leo Colston Television film
2015–present Teletubbies The Voice Trumpets
2016 War & Peace Prince Nikolai Bolkonsky BBC Television series
2017 Game of Thrones Filming

Other awards and honours

Broadbent was offered an OBE in 2002 however declined stating there were more deserving recipients than actors and the British Empire was not something he wanted to "celebrate".[17][18]


  1. "Jim Broadbent". MovieActors.com. 24 May 1949. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  2. "It's a Golden Globe for Jim Broadbent", Louth Leader, 14 January 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2011
  3. 1 2 "BBC – Lincolnshire – History – Famous Yellowbelly – Jim Broadbent". Bbc.co.uk. 24 August 2005. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  4. "Broadbent Theatre Member Profile: Roy Broadbent". Broadbent.org. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  5. Home. "An in-depth look at your favourite celebrity personalities – hellomagazine.com, HELLO!". Hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  6. Newsmakers, Issue 4. Gale, 2008
  7. "The 74th Academy Awards (2002) Nominees and Winners, Sunday, 24 March 2002". Oscars.org. 24 March 2002. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  8. "Wide-Eyed And Legless".
  9. "Broadbent on "Potter" & "Indy 4" (17 September 2007)". Darkhorizons.com. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  10. "BBC news entertainment-arts". Bbc.co.uk. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  11. Hibberd, James (August 31, 2016). "Game of Thrones casts Jim Broadbent in first season 7 role". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  12. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8154747/Jim-Broadbent-I-love-being-someone-else.html
  13. "Postman Pat to make movie debut". BBC. UK. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  14. "Postman Pat to Hit the Big Screen in 3D". ComingSoon. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  15. http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2016/06/asterix-the-mansions-of-the-gods-set-for-uk-release-in-august/
  16. http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/news/777311-hugh-grant-and-brendan-gleeson-join-paddington-2-as-filming-begins#/slide/1
  17. Eden, Richard (8 January 2012). "Oscar-winning star Jim Broadbent says 'rogue' actors should reject honours". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  18. "Broadbent Snubbed Obe". contactmusic.com. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
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