Timothy Leonard Spall, OBE (born 27 February 1957) is an English actor and occasional presenter. He became a household name in the UK after appearing in the 1983 ITV comedy-drama series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
Spall received critical acclaim for his performance in Secrets & Lies (1996), for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Subsequently, he starred in supporting roles including The Last Samurai (2003), Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter film series (2004-2010), played Albert Pierrepoint in Pierrepoint (2005), Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Peter Taylor in The Damned United (2009) and Winston Churchill in the The King’s Speech (2010). Spall has also starred in the television documentary Timothy Spall: Back at Sea (2010–2012).
In 2014, Spall won the Best Actor award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for portraying J. M. W. Turner in Leigh’s biographical film Mr. Turner.
Spall, the third of four sons was born in Battersea, London. His mother, Sylvia R. (née Leonard), was a hairdresser, and his father, Joseph L. Spall, was a postal worker. He trained at the National Youth Theatre and RADA, where he was awarded the Bancroft Gold Medal as the most promising actor in his year. His brother Matthew is a long term computer game professional, now running a new startup, Invisiplay Ltd. Another brother, Richard, was the landlord of the Astolat public house in Guildford.
Spall is married to Shane and has three children: Pascale (born 1976), Rafe (born 1983), who is also an actor, and Mercedes (born 1985). He lives in Forest Hill, south-east London.
In 1996, Spall was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, but has since been in remission. He has said of his illness: “I didn’t know what made me ill but stress had something to do with it and the point is now to head off stress at the pass. It made me aware of things and become more selective. I am less worried about employment. I really do my homework so I am not getting stressed on the set because I don’t know what I’m doing.”
He is the owner of a Dutch barge that he and his wife have been sailing around the British Isles as part of a BBC Four TV series Timothy Spall: Back at Sea.