Born and raised in Liverpool, David has been described by the British Film Institute as ‘one of the most versatile English actors of his generation’ and has an extensive career across TV, film and theatre. He is recognised worldwide, namely for playing the villainous ‘The Governor’ in Season 3, 4 and 5 of AMC’s Golden Globe nominated post-apocalyptic horror series ‘The Walking Dead’.
Most recently, David reprised his leading role of Aulus in the third series of Jez Butterworth’s epic Roman drama series, ‘Britannia’ on Sky Atlantic. In 2020 he starred in the ITV adaptation of J.G. Farrell’s Booker prize winning novel ‘The Singapore Grip’ alongside Charles Dance and Jane Horrocks and also appeared in the BBC BAFTA winning comedy series ‘Inside No 9’.
In 2022 David starred in the BBC crime drama ‘Sherwood’, which is based on the true story of two separate killings in Nottinghamshire in 2004. The murders tore the ex-mining community apart, inflaming the divisions sparked during the 1980s miners' strike and led to one of the biggest manhunts in British history. David plays DCS Ian St Clair, the lead detective in charge of the investigation into the killings.
In 2021 he starred in the Sky Original feature film ‘The Colour Room’ alongside Phoebe Dynevor, about the life of ceramic artist Clarice Cliff.
One of his most memorable performances was his starring role in the six part award-winning BBC political drama ‘State of Play’, alongside James McAvoy, John Simm and Bill Nighy, for which he received a BAFTA nomination. In 2003 he portrayed Gordon Brown in the BAFTA winning drama ‘The Deal’, Channel 4’s controversial TV movie directed by Stephen Frears, for which he won a prestigious RTS Award for Best Actor.
David has appeared in some of the most popular and critically acclaimed television dramas such as ‘Our Mutual Friend’, ‘Clocking Off’ and ‘Holding On’ (which earned him an RTS nomination). He also starred as the lead in the 2004 BBC musical drama series 'Blackpool' alongside Sarah Parish and David Tennant. The show received a BAFTA nomination, as well as a Golden Globe nomination under its American title 'Viva Blackpool'.
He played the lead role in BBC One’s 8-part Emmy & BAFTA nominated crime drama ‘The Missing’, alongside Keeley Hawes. He also starred as the lead in BBC One’s mini-series ‘The 7.39’ alongside Sheridan Smith and Olivia Colman. In 2015 he starred in the RTS nominated three-part BBC drama series ‘The Driver’, written by Danny Brocklehurst and executive produced by David himself. And in 2018 he starred in the BBC sci-fi drama series 'The City and The City', based on the novel by China Mieville.
David's long list of film credits include the 2001 movie ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ in which he had a starring role as a German officer, as well as the critically acclaimed ‘Some Voices’ alongside Daniel Craig and Kelly Macdonald. In 2005 he starred in ‘Stoned’, the biopic about Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones, and in 2006 he starred as psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass, the male lead in Basic Instinct 2. He also had a starring role in the 1998 British biographical film 'Hilary and Jackie' about the British classical musican sisters, Hilary and Jacqueline du Pre. The film was critically acclaimed and won a BIFA Award as well as receiving two Academy Award nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and a number of BAFTA nominations.
He has had roles in ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, based on the bestselling book by Philippa Gregory, Neil Marshall’s ‘Centurion’ alongside Dominic West and Michael Fassbender, Miramax’s ‘Derailed’ with Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen, and Sam Taylor-Wood’s BAFTA and BIFA nominated John Lennon biopic ‘Nowhere Boy’ with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kristen Scott-Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff. In 2016 he starred in thriller ‘The Ones Below’ alongside Clémence Poésy & Stephen Campbell Moore.
His stage work has included a number of productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, as well as working with highly regarded stage directors including Adrian Noble, Deborah Warner, Nicholas Hytner and Declan Donnellan. In 2015 he starred in ‘Hangmen’, initially at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre, followed by a transfer to Wyndham’s Theatre. ‘Hangmen’ received the ‘Best New Play’ award at the prestigious Olivier Awards in 2016 as well as ‘Best Play’ at the Critics Circle Theatre Awards in 2015.
Most recent stage credits include the Bridge Theatre’s production of ‘Julius Caesar’, directed by Nicholas Hytner in which David took on the role of Mark Anthony alongside a cast including Ben Whishaw and ‘The End of History’ at the Royal Court in London, directed by John Tiffany. He also voiced Oberon in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in the opening month of the Shakespeare North Playhouse.
In 2023 he showed off his baking skills in The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off, winning Star Baker in his heat, with a cake inspired by his favourite football team, Liverpool.
David’s native accent is Liverpool but he is also comfortable with generic Northern, RP (as heard in ‘The Singapore Grip’) and American (as heard in ‘The Walking Dead’).
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Gods of Tennis (TV, 2023) – 'Narrator', BBC Two
The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off (2023) (TV, 2023) – 'Self', Channel 4
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare North Playhouse/Northern Stage, 2022) (Theatre, 2022) – 'Oberon', Shakespeare North Playhouse/Northern Stage
Sherwood (TV, 2022) – 'Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair', BBC One
The Colour Room (Film, 2021) – 'Fred Ridgeway', Sky Original/Sky Cinema
Britannia (TV, 2017-2021) – 'Aulus', Sky Atlantic, Series 1-3
The Singapore Grip (TV, 2020) – 'Walter Blackett', ITV
Inside No 9 (TV, 2020) – 'Martin', Episode 'The Referee's a W***ker'
The End of History (Royal Court Theatre, 2019) (Theatre, 2019) – 'David', Royal Court Theatre
Julius Caesar (Bridge Theatre 2018) (Theatre, 2018) – 'Mark Anthony', Bridge Theatre
The City and The City (TV, 2018) – 'Inspector Tyador Borlú', BBC Two
Hangmen (Royal Court Theatre/Wyndhams Theatre 2015-2016) (Theatre, 2015-2016) – 'Harry Wade', Royal Court Theatre/Wyndhams Theatre
The Ones Below (Film, 2015) – 'Jon',
Extant (TV, 2015) – 'Tobias Shepherd', CBS, Series 2
The Walking Dead (TV, 2012-2015) – 'Philip "The Governor" Blake', AMC/Fox Networks/Disney +, Series 3,4 & 5
The Missing (TV, 2014) – 'Captain Sam Webster', BBC One
The 7.39 (TV, 2014) – 'Carl Matthews', BBC One
The Driver (TV, 2014) – 'Vince McKee', BBC One
Five Days (TV, 2010) – 'DI Mal Craig', BBC/HBO, Series 2
Centurion (Film, 2010) – 'Bothos', Warner Bros
Nowhere Boy (Film, 2009) – 'Bobby', Icon/Film Four
Sense and Sensibility (2008 TV Series) (TV, 2008) – 'Colonel Brandon', BBC One
The Other Boleyn Girl (Film, 2008) – 'The Duke of Norfolk', Colombia Pictures/BBC Films
Basic Instinct 2 (Film, 2006) – 'Dr Michael Glass', MGM/EFD
Derailed (Film, 2005) – 'Sam Griffin', Miramax/Buena Vista International
Stoned (Film, 2005) – 'Tom Keylock', Screen Media Films
Blackpool (TV, 2004) – 'Ripley Holden', BBC One
State of Play (TV, 2003) – 'Stephen Collins MP', BBC One
The Deal (TV, 2003) – 'Gordon Brown', Channel 4
Clocking Off (TV, 2002) – 'Franny Rothwell', BBC One
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Film, 2001) – 'Captain Günther Weber', Miramax/Universal Pictures
Some Voices (Film, 2000) – 'Pete', Film Four
Our Mutual Friend (TV, 1998) – 'Bradley Headstone', BBC Two
Hilary and Jackie (Film, 1998) – 'Christopher Finzi, Film Four
Holding On (TV, 1997) – 'Shaun', BBC Two
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