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Robert Bathurst        

British actor

Robert Guy Bathurst was born in the Gold Coast 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 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.

Since 2003, Bathurst has 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 (200607), and Alex in Alex (2007, 2008). Robert Guy Bathurst was born in Accra, Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana), on 22 February 1957 to Philip Bathurst and Gillian Bathurst (ne 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. Bathurst and his brother attended two schools in Dublinthe Holy Child School in Killiney and a school in Ballsbridgebefore 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."

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.

He left Worth at the age of 18 to read law at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Describing himself as "hopeless at anything academic",he spent much of his time at university performing in the Cambridge Footlights alongside Hugh Laurie, Rory McGrath and Emma Thompson.From 1977 to 1978, he was the secretary of the group, and from 1978 to 1979 the president. Among the Footlights Revues he participated in were Stage Fright in 1978, which he also co-wrote, and Nightcap in 1979.

He also directed and appeared in the Footlights pantomime Aladdin as Widow Twankey during the 197879 season.He took the Bar Vocational Course in London, which allowed him to go on to become a practising barrister, but stuck to acting instead.

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.

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.He described the character of David as an "emotional cripple", originally with little depth.

Granada paid for him to take motorbike 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. In another episode, David buys a racehorseostensibly as a birthday present for his wifein a plot borne out of Bathurst's own love of horseracing.

The role made him more widely recognisable and he often received prospective scripts that were "obvious rewrites of the character". He turned them down, preferring to play a "good person", which would be more interesting from a dramatic point of view.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).

In 2002, straight 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.

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. After its run concluded, a special edition of The Three Sisters was filmed with the same cast for television broadcast on BBC Four.

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.

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.

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, 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

The role won him a nomination for Best Solo Performance at the What's on Stage Awards.He reprised the role in an international tour from September to November 2008, playing in Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.

As Alex he presented a ten-part series on Classic FM, which won a Gold Award at the Sony Radio Academy Awards in 2012. He now performs Alex as a corporate after dinner entertainment. 2007 also saw Bathurst perform as linguistician Charles in the first series of the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Hut 33. He reprised the role for two more series in 2008 and 2009.

In 2009, he made his third and final appearance as art dealer James Garrett in My Family.He also played the role of Mr Weston in the BBC costume drama Emma, which was broadcast on BBC One through October 2009. He previously played Weston in a two-part adaptation of Emma for BBC Radio 4 in 2000. Between January and April 2010, Bathurst starred as Garry Essendine in a national touring revival of Nol Coward's Present Laughter. He had not seen Present Laughter before, though had seen several Coward plays in his 20s, and did not imitate Coward's speech patterns while performing.

Present Laughter was the first time Bathurst had appeared in a Coward play, and he was cast in another, Blithe Spirit, later in the year. He plays Charles Condomine opposite Alison Steadman and his Cold Feet co-star Hermione Norris.The played toured theatres around southern England in 2010 and early 2011 before beginning a three-month run at the Apollo Theatre in London.

On television in 2010, Bathurst starred as Percy Hamleigh in the German-Canadian miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and had a recurring role as widower Sir Anthony Strallan in the period drama Downton Abbey. In 2011 he starred as John Le Mesurier in the Hattie Jacques biopic Hattie,and joined the cast of the long-running ITV drama Wild at Heart.

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Sir Anthony Strallan | Character Hub | Season 3 | Downton Abbey ...
Born in Ghana, West Africa, British actor Robert Bathurst moved twice during his childhood: first to Dublin, Ireland and then to England, where he attendedĀ ...

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