Clive Russell

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Clive Russell
Russell in 2018
Born (1945-12-07) 7 December 1945 (age 77)
Years active1960–present

Clive Russell (born 7 December 1945) is a Scottish actor. He is known for his roles as Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline in Ripper Street, Angus O'Connor in Happiness and Brynden Tully in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

He also appeared in the Scottish sitcoms Still Game and Rab C Nesbitt, teen drama Hollyoaks as Jack Osborne's brother Billy Brodie and British crime drama Cracker as Danny Fitzgerald.

Early life[edit]

Russell was born in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England but brought up in Fife, Scotland.[1]


Russell first performed before an audience in 1960 on The Shari Lewis Show, but it was not until 1980 that he had his first real acting job – performing on the London stage as the superintendent in Nobel Prize-winner Dario Fo's satire Accidental Death of an Anarchist, about police corruption in Italy. The reviews were good, and he reprised that role for television in 1983. After further honing his skills in various British TV productions and a handful of films – including Jute City, The Power of One, The Hawk and Seconds Out – Russell received exposure before international audiences as Caleb Garth in the celebrated BBC miniseries Middlemarch, based on the George Eliot novel of the same name. A year later, he fell in love on the movie screen with Helena Bonham Carter in Margaret's Museum, for which he earned a Genie nomination at the 16th Genie Awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. After more TV roles and another film, Russell played Ralph Fiennes' father in another critically acclaimed film, Oscar and Lucinda. Growing recognition of his acting skills then brought him major roles in four major TV miniseries: Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, The Railway Children and The Mists of Avalon.


Standing 6' 6", Russell is a familiar and unforgettable face on British television and has appeared in numerous television series including Boys from the Blackstuff,[2] Hope and Glory, Neverwhere, Great Expectations,[3] The Mists of Avalon, Heartburn Hotel,[4] Roughnecks, Monarch of the Glen, Midsomer Murders, Waking the Dead,[citation needed] Silent Witness, Rockface, and Spaced. Russell has also made appearances in Still Game, Happiness, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Cracker and The Railway Children. From 2005 to 2006, Russell played Phil Nail in ITV's Coronation Street. Russell made an appearance in Waterloo Road as Lisa and Lenny Brown's grandfather for one episode, also playing Billy Wilson for two in Shameless. He also appeared as a doctor in the 2006 My Family Christmas Special.

He has appeared as Jock in the third series of the BBC's Jam and Jerusalem, as "Bayard, King of Mercia" in Merlin and in Hotel Babylon as an artist forced to fake his own death when he is in debt. In 2012, he joined the cast of the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones as Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully.[5][6][7]

In 2016, he joined the cast of Hollyoaks as Billy, brother of established character Jack Osborne[8]

In January 2017 he had a small role in the BBC Three comedy "Uncle", portraying Sam and Andy's father and later in the year appeared in Doc Martin. He played Ken Hollister.

In 2020, he appeared as Wroth, Chief of a Fey tribe called the Tusks, a recurring character for 5 episodes in the Netflix series Cursed.[9]


In Margaret's Museum, he starred opposite Helena Bonham Carter as the Gaelic-speaking Neil Currie. Russell's other film credits include Festival, Ladies in Lavender, King Arthur, Made of Honour, Lecture 21, The 13th Warrior and The Wolfman.

He made an appearance in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes as Captain Tanner, and reprised the role in the film's 2011 sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. He appeared in the 2010 film The Wolfman as MacQueen. Russell also appeared in Robin Hardy's The Wicker Tree which was released in the first quarter of 2012, playing the character of Beame alongside the Hobbit star Graham McTavish.

He played Inspector Frederick Abberline in BBC One's Ripper Street. He played Tyr in the live-action film Thor: The Dark World (2013).[10]

Edinburgh Fringe 2010[edit]

In 2010, Russell made his debut one-man show Touching the Blue.[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1992 The Power of One Sgt. Bormann
1993 The Hawk
1994 Fatherland Krebs
1995 Margaret's Museum Neil Currie
1996 Neverwhere Mr. Vandemar
1997 Oscar and Lucinda Theophilius
1998 Heartburn Hotel Duggie Strachan
1999 Great Expectations Joe
1999 The 13th Warrior Helfdane
2001 Spaced Damien Knox
2001–2003 Happiness Angus O'Connor Main cast
2002 Mad Dogs Thin man
2003 The Mayor of Casterbridge Newson TV film
2003 Silent Witness DCS Tom Leith Episode: Answering Fire
2004 Shameless Billy Wilson 2 episodes (season 1)
2004 Ladies in Lavender Adam Penruddocke
2004 King Arthur Lancelot's Father
2004 The Rocket Post Angus Mackay
2004 Still Game Big Innes Series 3, episode 4: "Big Yin"
2005 Faith Gordon TV film
2005 Heartless Ricky
2005 Monarch of the Glen Peter Finlay
2005–2006 Coronation Street Phil Nail Series Regular
2006 Mist: The Tale of a Sheepdog Puppy McPherson TV film
2006 My Family Doctor
2007 The Yellow House Monsieur Roulin TV film
2007 Joe's Place Dave
2007 The Wild West: Billy the Kid Sheriff Brady Broadcast March 2007, BBC2, Part 2 of a 3-part docu-drama series on notable Wild West events
2008 Made of Honour Cousin Finlay
2008 Lecture 21 Hoffmeister
2008 Merlin Bayard Series 1, episode 4: "The Poisoned Chalice"
2009 Book of Blood Wyburd
2009 Sherlock Holmes Capt. Tanner
2009 The Bill Danny Travis 2 episodes
2010 The Wolfman Maqueen
2010 Cup Cake Mute McGill
2010 The Fighter's Ballad Father John
2011 The Wicker Tree Beame
2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Capt. Tanner
2012–2016 Ripper Street Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline
2013 Mary, Queen of Scots Douglas
2013 Thor: The Dark World Tyr
2013 The List Peter
2013 Waterloo Road Lawrence Brown Guest role; 1 episode (Series 9)
2013, 2016 Game of Thrones Brynden Tully 7 episodes
2014 Shetland Adam Markham Series 2, Episodes 3 and 4: "Dead Water"
2014–2018 The Amazing World of Gumball Daniel Senicourt; Manly Warrior 4 episodes
2014 Still Detective Penton
2015 After Bannockburn Robert Bruce
2016 The Young Messiah Weer
2016 Stella Uncle Clem
2016 Outlander Lord Lovat 1 episode[12]
2016 Hollyoaks Billy Brodie Guest role
2016 Barbarians Rising Cumelios Docudrama
2017 Uncle Neville Guest role
2017 1066: A Year to Conquer England Harald Hardrada Docudrama
2017 Back Paul Guest role
2017 The Hatton Garden Job Kenny Collins Supporting
2017 1745 David Andrews Supporting
2017 Rellik Henry Parides Recurring
2018 The Terror Sir John Ross 2 episodes
2018 Outlaw King Lord Mackinnon of Skye Supporting
2019 Curfew Mac 2 episodes
2019 Jocky Wilson Said Jocky Wilson Voice performance
2019 Supervized Jerry
2020 Cursed Wroth 5 episodes
2020 Dracula Valentin 1 episode[13]
2021 The Last Duel King's Uncle
2021 Code 404 Clifford Major 4 episodes
2021 Queen of the New Year Various roles 1 episode
2022 The Peripheral Frank Derosa 1 episode
2023 The Madame Blanc Mysteries Marco/Dura Season 2 episode 6


  1. ^ Faith – Cast Profiles & Interviews Clive Russell Archived 23 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Boys from the Blackstuff" Archived 9 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine (April 23, 2013) Wonders in the Dark
  3. ^ "Clive Russell at FilmBug". Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  4. ^ Heartburn Hotel at British Comedy Guide
  5. ^ Patten, Dominic (24 September 2012). "'Thor: The Dark World' Adds Pair To Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  6. ^ "Game of Thrones' Clive Russell on Survivor's Guilt, Brienne Shipping, and Where Blackfish Has Been All These Years". 13 June 2016. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Terri (5 June 2016). "Game of Thrones: Clive Russell on the Blackfish's Mission". IGN. Archived from the original on 23 February 2022. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  8. ^ Minn, Hayley (21 August 2016). "Game Of Thrones star Clive Russell joins Hollyoaks as Jack Osborne's ex-con brother". Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  9. ^ Fullerton, Huw (17 July 2020). "Cursed Netflix review: Is Katherine Langford's series worth watching?". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 13 February 2022. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  10. ^ ""Thor: The Dark World" adds Clive Russell and Richard Brake". Archived from the original on 1 October 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Edinburgh 2010: Touching the Blue" Archived 9 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine (July 5, 2010) Broadway World
  12. ^ "'Outlander': Clive Russell On Playing Lord Lovat". Access Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  13. ^ "'Dracula':BBC, Netflix 'Dracula' Series Sets Directors, Adds Cast". variety. Archived from the original on 13 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.

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