Timothy West

Timothy West

Infobox actor
name = Timothy West CBE

caption = Timothy West in 2006
birthname = Timothy West
birthdate = birth date and age|1934|10|20|df=yes
birthplace = Bradford, Yorkshire, England
occupation = Actor
yearsactive = 1956–present
spouse = Prunella Scales CBE (1963—)
children = Samuel West
Joe West

Timothy West CBE (born 20 October 1934) is an English film, stage and television actor. He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire of the Earl De La Warr family, and educated at the John Lyon School, a boys' independent school in Harrow on the Hill in London and also at Bristol Grammar School in Bristol, where he was a classmate of Julian Glover. His father was the actor Lockwood West. Timothy is married to the actress Prunella Scales and with her, prominently supports the British Labour Party. The couple are both patrons of the Lace Market Theatre in Nottingham.

In 2008 he starred in Harold Pinter's "The Lover" & "The Collection" at the Comedy Theatre in London.

Life and career

West's craggy looks ensured a career as a character actor rather than a leading man. He began his career as an Assistant Stage Manager at the Wimbledon Theatre in 1956, and followed this with several seasons of repertory theatre. He acted at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1959 and was with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1965 at Stratford where he appeared in Comedy of Errors, Timon of Athens, The Jew of Malta, Love's Labour's Lost and Peter Hall's outstanding production of the Government Inspector at the Aldwych Theatre with Paul Scofield, Eric Porter, Donald Burton, Stanley LeBor, Bruce Condell and Tim Wylton among others. He was Artistic Director of the Forum Theatre, Billingham from 1980-81 and was appointed Director-in-Residence at the University of Western Australia in 1982.

Having spent years as a familiar face who never quite became a household name, his big chance came with the major television series, "Edward the Seventh" (1975), in which he played the title role and his real-life sons, Samuel and Joseph, played the sons of King Edward VII as children. Other major roles have included parts in the films, "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1972), "The Thirty-Nine Steps" (1978) and "Cry Freedom" (1987).

West also made a brief appearance in the Miss Marple series in 1985, starring Joan Hickson as the redoubtable Miss Jane Marple, in a "Pocket Full of Rye" as the notorious Rex Fortescue.

In 1997, he played Gloucester in the BBC television production of "King Lear". He is the son of the actor (Harry) Lockwood West.

In 2001, West played the older Maurice in "Iris", while his actor son, Samuel West, played young Maurice.

In 2002 he made a guest appearance in the BBC Radio 4 series "The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes".

In 2004, he toured Australia with the Carl Rosa Company as Director of the production of "HMS Pinafore", also singing the role of Sir Joseph Porter. He was replaced in the singing role by Dennis Olsen for the Perth and Brisbane performances.

He is president of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and a supporter of the charity Cancer Research UK.

West has also appeared as the presenter for Midlands (Central TV) Waterworld.


He was created a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to drama in 1984.

Stage roles

*Opening of St Pancras railway station as William Henry Barlow, Tuesday 6 November 2007
*"Coriolanus" as Menenius, 2007, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon
*"King Lear" (2003) with English Touring Theatre Company, as Lear
*"The External"
* "King Lear" as Lear, 1971 Edinburgh Festival
* "The Merchant of Venice" as Shylock, 1981 Royal Flemish Theatre Brussels in association with The British Council
* "Gentle Jack" (1963/64) as Hubert
* "The Old Country" as Hilary, Trafalgar Studios, London, 2006
* "The Lover/ The Collection", Comedy Theatre, London, 2008

TV roles

*"Big Breadwinner Hog" (1969) as Lennox
*"Edward the Seventh" (1975)
*"Hedda" (1975)
*"Brass" (1982) as Bradley Hardacre
*"The Good Doctor Bodkin Adams" (1986): this was a TV docudrama based on the 1957 trial of John Bodkin Adams, played by West; Adams was controversially acquitted of murdering an elderly female patient, but is thought to have been Britain's second worst serial killer.
*"Churchill and the Generals" (1988) as Winston Churchill
*"Blore, MP" (play)
*"Framed" (1993)
*"Goodnight Sweetheart", comedy series as MI6 agent "MacDuff"
*"King Lear" (1997) as Gloucester
*"Bedtime" (series, 2001)
*"Bleak House" (series, 2005) as Sir Leicester Dedlock
*"Endgame" (2008) as TBA
*Since 2000 he has been presenting ITV's series "Water World", a programme dedicated to 'the people who live and work on the canals of the Midlands'.

Film roles

*"Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971)
*"The Day of the Jackal" (1973)
*"The Thirty-Nine Steps" (1978)
*"Cry Freedom" (1987)
*"The Tragedy of Flight 103" (1990)
*"Ever After" (1998)
*"Iris" (2001) (as the older Maurice)


*"A Moment Towards the End of the Play", 2001, ISBN 1-85459-619-5

External links

*imdb name|id=0922367|name=Timothy West
*The latest (2008) series of 'Water World' is available for watching on ITV's site at http://www.itvlocal.com/central/programmes/

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