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I was delighted to meet Ian McNeice at Autographica, held at the Birmingham Hilton in April 2009. I chatted to him for half an hour about acting and some of the many roles he has played.
He has an amazing personality and is so friendly and easy to talk to.
Ian signed two photos for me the following day. Everybody liked him, and he proved to be one of the most popular guests at the show! I have just put his picture on Wikipedia for him!
Ian McNeice was born in Basingstoke in 1950. He developed his interest in acting at Taunton School, an Independent school in Somerset. After two years as an Assistant Stage manager at the Salisbury Playhouse, McNeice trained for three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (L.A.M.D.A.) from 1971-74. He spent the next decade in theatre, including four years with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Ian McNeice's TV breakthrough came in 1985, playing Harcourt in the BAFTA-winning series Edge of Darkness. This 5-episode thriller
is regarded by many as one of the finest ever made by the BBC.
Later TV appearances have included three episodes of Stay Lucky (1993); two episodes of Pie in the Sky (1995) and two Charles Dickens classics. In A Christmas Carol (1999) he plays the part of Fezziwig, the
the proprietor of a warehouse business for whom Ebenezer Scrooge worked as an apprentice, and David Copperfield (1999) where he played the character Mr Dick.
McNeice as Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol
Ian McNeice (right) as Gerard Klopfer in Conspiracy
He appeared as the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (who finds much sadistic enjoyment in the suffering of others) in the mini-series Dune (2000), reprising the role in the sequel Children of Dune (2003). He
Ian McNeice as Mr Dick in
also played the Nazi Gerhard Klopfer in the BBC/HBO production of Conspiracy (2001), a dramatisation of the Wannsee Conference.
Ian McNeice as Baron Harkonnen in Dune
Daniela Amavia & Ian McNeice in
Children of Dune
Ian McNeice signed this photo for me of him as the 'Newsreader' in Rome
Ian McNeice signing my photograph
Ian McNeice as Harry Kane in
Chaos and Cadavers
More recently, again for the BBC/HBO, Ian McNeice was the 'Newsreader' (or Forum Crier) in their production of Rome (2005-07). His character appears in most of the episodes, usually relating events that have taken place offscreen, or announcing the results of previous events which the audience has seen.
A totally different TV role was that of Bert Large, the jokey, prank-loving plumber-come-restaurateur in the comedy drama series Doc Martin (2004-11) with Martin Clunes. Ian's character appears in all 38 episodes of the series.
Ian McNeice has appeared on the big screen a number of times - as Bill Humphries in 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) with Anne Bancroft and Sir Anthony Hopkins; as King in No Escape (1994); as George Garrad in The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a
Ian McNeice as Bert Large in
Ian McNeice as Bill Humphries in
84 Charing Cross Road
Ian McNeice as Kitchener in
Around the World in 80 Days
Ian McNeice as Raymond Price in
Mountain (1995) with Hugh Grant and Tara
Tara Fitzgerald; as Colonel Kitchener in Around the World
Ian McNeice is probably best remembered as Fulton Greenwall in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995). Gr
in 80 Days (2004) and as Raymond Price in the supernatural thriller White Noise ( 2005).
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill
But Came Down a Mountain
Ian McNeice as George Garrad in
Greenwall is an explorer who teams up with pet detective Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) to find a rare white bat (sacred to two African tribes) before the two tribes fight a savage war!
Ian McNeice as Fulton Greenwall in
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
Playing opposite Carrey, brought
Ian much welcome recognition amongst American filmgoers.
Ian McNeice has three children, Travers, Angus and Maisie by actress Kate Nicholls. Maisie
Ian McNeice's daughter Maisie in
But Came Down a Mountain
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill
Ian McNeice as Gustave in Chef!
Ian McNeice as the Coroner in The Black Dahlia
appeared as a
schoolgirl, with her father, in the film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain (1995).
Ian McNeice signed this photo to me at Autographica
It shows him as Mr Dick in David Copperfield
Ian McNeice as the blind, Metropolitan Police Inspector in
The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz
In April 2010, Ian appeared in two separate TV roles. The first was as Father Roderick Alberic in a Jonathan Creek episode called 'The Judas' Tree, with Alan Davies & Paul McGann.
Ian McNeice as Father Roderick Alberic in The Judas Tree
Matt Smith & Ian McNeice in Doctor Who
The other was as Winston Churchill in The Victim of the Daleks (2010) an episode of Doctor Who, complete with the most famous enemy of them all - the Daleks! On some unknown occasion in the past, Churchill had befriended the Doctor and is the only person known to be able to phone the TARDIS and ask for his help! This help is greatly needed as London comes under attack during
during World War 2. For the role, Ian had to shave his head and wear a wig. I think he was fabulous as Churchill
as Churchill, and I am sure this will become a classic Doctor Who episode. He was seen again in Doctor Who as Winston Churchill in The Pandorica Opens (2010) and as Emperor Winston
Ian McNeice as Churchill
Ian has found something of a niche playing the British wartime PM in recent years, having previously depicted him in Howard Brenton's play about Harold MacMillan
Winston Churchill in The Wedding of River Song (2011).
Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill in Doctor Who
Ian McNeice as Churchill in Never So Good
MacMillan Never So Good, at the National Theatre in 2008. When the stage version of The King's Speech was being cast, Ian again got the part of Churchill. He toured with the production
Ian McNeice as Churchill in The King's Speech
production in 2012, which then had a West End run at Wyndham's Theatre.
Ian McNeice is a long standing supporter of the charity Our Disappearing Planet to which he gives much of his time. Signed photographs can be purchased here with proceeds going to the charity.
In July 2012, Ian played Sir Oliver Surface in a new production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's School for Scandal with performances at the Theatre Royal in Bath before moving on to the Malvern Theatre in Malvern.
Ian McNeice as Sir Oliver Surface in
School for Scandal
Ian McNeice has made recent appearances in two Dicken's roles. In the first, Roman Polanski's film version of Oliver Twist (2005), he played Mr. Limbkins, a member of the workhouse board. Then, in 2 episodes of the TV adaptation of The Mystery ofEdwin
Ian McNeice as Mr Limbkins in Oliver Twist
Ian McNeice as Mayor Sapsea in
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
of Edwin Drood (2012), he was cast as Mr. Sapsea, the pompous mayor of Cloisterham, who sought an audience for everything he did.
I had this photo taken with Ian in November 2010 in Birmingham.
He signed it for me after I had seen him play Churchill in
The King's Speech at Nottingham's Theatre Royal