Russell Tovey on Broadway in A View from the Bridge

Currenly playing Rodolpho in Arthur Miller’s The Young Vic Production of “A View from the Bridge”

Russell George Tovey (b 14 November 1981) is an English actor with numerous television, film and stage credits. Tovey is best known for playing the role of werewolf George Sands in the BBC’s supernatural drama Being Human.His other notable roles include Rudge in both the stage and film version of The History Boys, Steve in the BBC Three sitcom Him & Her, and Kevin Matheson in the HBO original series Looking.

Russell Tovey in A View from the Bridge at theatregold.com

A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, 2016.

Life

Tovey is the younger of two children, born to Carole Haynes (formerly Webb) and George Tovey who run a Romford-based coach service taking passengers from Essex to Gatwick Airport. Tovey has an older brother, Daniel. He grew up in Billericay, Essex,  and he attended Harold Court School in Harold Wood and Shenfield High School. As a boy, Tovey said he “was an avid collector of various things and prone to participating in fads.” His parents supported his efforts, taking him to archeological digs and museums, buying him a metal detector, and going to conventions for mineralologists. For a time he wanted to be a history teacher, but after seeing Dead Poets Society, The Goonies, and Stand By Me, he decided to be an actor. For a time during his teens, he worked as a kitchen assistant in Billericay’s King’s Head pub.

Working

Tovey began his career as a child actor. He joined a local drama club, and garnered the attention of a talent agent. He began acting when he was 11 years old.  He worked so steadily and missed so much school that his father suggested his acting career be cut back, but his mother convinced his father to let their son continue. His TV career started in 1994, when he was cast in Mud, a children’s series broadcast on CBBC.

He left high school at the age of 16, and started a BTEC in performing arts at Barking College.  He was expelled after a year for refusing a role in the school play in favour of a paying acting job. He acted in plays in Chichester under the direction of Debra Gillett, wife of Patrick Marber.  He met Marber through Gillett, and Marber cast him in the play Howard Katz at the National Theatre. He also performed in His Girl Friday and His Dark Materials there as well.

In 2004, he took the role of Rudge in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys at the Royal National Theatre as well as touring to Broadway, Sydney, Wellington and Hong Kong and playing the role in the radio and film adaptation.  He originally auditioned for the role of Crowther but agreed to act the part of Rudge after Bennett promised to beef up the role.  Insecure because he had not attended drama school like many of his peers, he enrolled in numerous workshops and readings offered by the National Theatre.

In spring 2007, Tovey had a recurring role in BBC Three comedy Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive, playing Rob’s producer, Ben.  He played Midshipman Alonso Frame, in 2007 Doctor Who Christmas Special “Voyage of the Damned”.  Russell T. Davies, the show’s executive producer and lead writer, had suggested Tovey as a future replacement for David Tennant,  before it was announced that the Eleventh Doctor would be played by Matt Smith. Tovey reprised his role as Midshipman Alonso Frame in the 2009-10 Doctor Who Christmas special, The End of Time.

Tovey played werewolf George Sands, one of three supernatural housemates in the drama Being Human. The pilot premiered on BBC Three on 18 February 2008.  A six-part series was commissioned with the first episode broadcast on 25 January 2009.  Tovey left the regular cast of the show at the start of the fourth season on 5 February 2012.In November 2012 AudioGO Ltd released an audiobook version of Mark Michalowski’s Being Human tie-in novel Chasers, which is narrated by Russell Tovey.

In a 2008 interview in Attitude, Tovey expressed his desire to play darker roles: “really dark, fucked-up characters… like drag queens, rent boys, someone who has been abused, a rapist”, though noting that he does not consider himself “fucked-up”.

In March 2009, the actor played a leading role in A Miracle at the Royal Court Theatre as Gary Trudgill, a British soldier returning to Norfolk from abroad. On 8 March 2009 he presented the Award for Best Actress to Margaret Tyzack for her performance in The Chalk Garden at the Laurence Olivier Awards in Grosvenor House.

In 2009, Tovey worked on the film Hug  and starred in two television pilots: Young, Unemployed and Lazy (a BBC Three sitcom,  renamed to Him & Her in 2010, and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (part of Comedy Showcase), a Channel 4 comedy with Spike Jonze and Will Arnett, written by David Cross and Shaun Pye.

He also appeared in three shorts: Drop  (which premiere¨red at the 2009 Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival), Roar,  and In Passing.  Roar premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival on 24 June 2009.

In 2011, he became the voice over/narrator for the BBC Three show Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents which, as of 8 January 2013, is currently in its third series. Tovey has narrated every episode aired.

Tovey played Budgie, one of Gavin’s friends, in the BBC comedy-drama Gavin & Stacey. In January 2012, he appeared in the British crime drama Sherlock, playing Henry Knight in the episode The Hounds of Baskerville. He had a lead role in the ITV sitcom The Job Lot which aired in 2013 and is set in a busy unemployment bureau in the West Midlands.

In 2013, Tovey signed on to appear in the American television series Looking, about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco. Its 8-episode first season broadcast on HBO in 2014. Tovey was promoted to series regular for the second season with 10 episodes. The series was cancelled but HBO has advised there will be a 90 mins final episode to screen later in 2016. In 2015, Tovey starred in Banished, a historical drama series written by Jimmy McGovern about a group of British convicts in Australia in the 18th century.

Russell Tovey and Jonathan Groff at theatregold.com

Russell Tovey and Jonathan Groff in HBO’s Looking 2014 – 2016

Writing

Tovey is also an author, playwright and screenwriter. He has written three plays (all unperformed as of August 2010), and one of his short stories was published in women’s magazine Company. He also wrote a short film, Victor, and as of August 2010 was seeking funding to produce the picture.

Personal Life

During his adolescent years, Tovey’s homosexuality caused friction within his family. Although he says he came out to himself when he was 15 or 16, he properly came out to his parents when he was 18.Tovey and his father subsequently had a falling out, with his father suggesting that, had he known earlier, he would have asked Tovey to take hormones or undergo some other medical treatment to “fix the problem”. Tovey says his parents were deeply concerned about the possibility he might contract HIV, which may have contributed to the falling out The birth of Tovey’s nephew in October 2004 helped them mend their relationship In an interview with The Scotsman, Tovey said, “The only thing I can give to young gay people is that when I was growing up there were no role models that were blokey, that were men. Everybody was flamboyant and camp, and I remember going, ‘That’s not me, so even though I think I am gay, I don’t think I fit into this world.’ Tovey has been with his current boyfriend since 2009.

Russell on Twitter

Credits – Theatre

Year Play Character Theatre Location
2000 The Recruiting Officer Chichester Festival Theatre Chichester
2001 Howard Katz Cottesloe Theatre, Royal National Theatre London
2002 Plasticine Spira
Boy Having Sex
Royal Court Theatre London
2003 Henry V Boy Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre London
His Girl Friday Ralph Sweeney Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre London
2003-04 His Dark Materials Roger Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre London
2004-06 The History Boys Rudge Royal National Theatre London
2005 The Laramie Project Sound Theatre London
2005-06 Herg’s Adventures of Tintin (aka Tintin in Tibet) Tintin Barbican Arts Centre London
2006 The History Boys Rudge Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Hong Kong
St James Wellington
Sydney Theatre Sydney
Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway New York
2007 A Respectable Wedding Groom Young Vic London
2008 The Sea Billy Hallercut Theatre Royal Haymarket London
2009 A Miracle Gary Trudgill Royal Court Theatre London
2012 Sex With a Stranger Adam Trafalgar Studios London
2014 The Pass Jason Royal Court Theatre London
2015 A View from the Bridge Rodolpho Lyceum Theatre Broadway New York
 

See More of Russell’s Credits at  TheatreGold DataBase Here


Holding the Man on DVD Here