David Bradley (English actor)

David John Bradley (born 17 April 1942)[1] is an English actor. He is known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film series, Walder Frey in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones and Abraham Setrakian in the FX horror series The Strain. He is also an established stage actor with a career that includes a Laurence Olivier Award for his role in a production of King Lear.

David Bradley
Bradley at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con
David John Bradley

(1942-04-17) 17 April 1942
Years active1971–present

Other acting credits include the BBC series Our Friends in the North, the ITV series Broadchurch (for which he won the best supporting actor award at the 2014 British Academy Television Awards), and the films Hot Fuzz, The World's End and Captain America: The First Avenger.

In 2012, he played Solomon in the Doctor Who episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". In 2013, Bradley portrayed William Hartnell in the Doctor Who docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time. He returned to Doctor Who portraying the First Doctor in "The Doctor Falls" and the 2017 Christmas Special "Twice Upon a Time". He also portrayed William Hartnell's First Doctor in a series of audio stories released by Big Finish entitled The First Doctor Adventures starting in January 2018.

In 2018 - 2019, he played Gillenormand in the BBC television miniseries Les Misérables, which was broadcast in the UK between 30 December 2018 and 3 February 2019 and also in the US on PBS Masterpiece between 14 April and 19 May 2019.

Early life

Bradley was born in York, where he attended the Catholic St George's Secondary Modern School, at which he was a member of the choir. He first performed on stage in musical productions as a member of a youth club and with the Rowntree Youth Theatre. Upon leaving school he completed a five-year apprenticeship with the optical instruments maker Cooke, Troughton & Simms and he remained with the firm until 1966 when he moved to London to train as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[2]


Bradley joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company in the early 1970s.[3] He first appeared on television in 1971, as a police officer in the successful comedy Nearest and Dearest. He was awarded a Laurence Olivier Award in 1991 for his supporting role as the Fool in King Lear at the Royal National Theatre. He appeared in the Royal National Theatre's 1997 production of The Homecoming, as well as productions of The Caretaker at Sheffield Theatres and the Tricycle Theatre from 2006 to 2007. In 2005 he played the title role in Nicholas Hynter's production of Henry IV Parts One and Two at the Olivier Theatre, London.[4]

Bradley played fictional Labour Member of Parliament Eddie Wells in the 1996 award-winning BBC Two serial Our Friends in the North. Also in 1996, he appeared as gangster Alf Black in Band of Gold. In 1998, he appeared in the BBC adaptation of Vanity Fair as the miserly Sir Pitt Crawley, and Our Mutual Friend as the villainous Rogue Riderhood. Other television appearances include the 2001 series The Way We Live Now, directed by David Yates, who would work with Bradley five years later on the Harry Potter films.

From 2002–04, Bradley starred as Jake in the BBC comedy series Wild West. Bradley acted in the 2004 musical drama serial Blackpool on BBC One. He appeared in the 2005 BBC drama Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, playing the role of a morose coach driver who takes an unruly party of pupils on a trip to Salisbury Cathedral, and the 2006 BBC drama Sweeney Todd. He had a small role in a 2005 episode of the series Taggart. In 2003, he played Tom in the Midsomer Murders episode "The Green Man". He appeared as the electrolarynx-using gangster Stemroach in the BBC comedy series Ideal and as Electric in the BBC's Thieves Like Us, as well as the BBC One series True Dare Kiss in 2007–08.

Bradley appeared in the 2002 film Nicholas Nickleby, and had a small role in the 2007 comedy film Hot Fuzz as a farmer who illegally hoards weapons. He played Cohen the Barbarian in a Sky One adaptation of The Colour of Magic in 2008.[5] That same year he appeared as Spooner in a production of No Man's Land at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, which later transferred to London's West End.

In 2009, Bradley appeared as an animal rights activist in the popular BBC drama Ashes to Ashes, and appeared in BBC's The Street later that year. Bradley portrayed Will Somers, Henry VIII's court fool, in an episode of the Showtime series The Tudors in 2009. In 2010, he appeared in the film Another Year, which earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor from the London Film Critics Circle Awards. In 2011, 2013 and 2016, Bradley appeared as Lord Walder Frey in the HBO series Game of Thrones.[6][7] In January 2017, it was confirmed that Bradley would appear in the seventh season of the show later that year.[8][9]

Bradley played Solomon, a ruthless buccaneer, in the 2012 Doctor Who episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". He previously provided voice work for The Sarah Jane Adventures serial Death of the Doctor.[10] It was announced in January 2013, that Bradley had been cast as actor William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time, a BBC docudrama about the creation of Doctor Who in 1963. The special aired in November 2013, adding to the buildup to the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who later that month.

From 2014, Bradley plays Professor Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor turned vampire hunter in Guillermo del Toro's TV series The Strain.[11] He will voice the Lord High Admiral Suvarov in the PC RPG The Mandate.[12]

In 2015, Bradley was announced a public supporter of Chapel Lane Theatre Company based in Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK.[13]

In 2017, in the final episode of the tenth series of Doctor Who, "The Doctor Falls", Bradley returned to portray the First Doctor, having previously been portrayed by Hartnell, who originally played the character. He reprised this role in the 2017 Christmas special, "Twice Upon a Time".[14][15] This makes him the third actor to play the role in the television programme, after William Hartnell and Richard Hurndall since the premiere of Doctor Who in 1963, and at the age of 75, he is the also the oldest actor to play the role of the Doctor.[16]

Personal life

Bradley serves as the President of Second Thoughts Drama Group, which performs in and around Stratford-upon-Avon.[17] On 17 July 2012, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Warwick.[18] On 19 November 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from York St John University.

He is an avid fan of football clubs Aston Villa and York City.[19][20] On 22 November 2014, he took part in a video paying tribute to Aston Villa on the club's 140th birthday.[21]


Year Title Role Notes
1971 A Family at War Colin Woodcock Television
1978 The Professionals German terrorist Television
1987 Prick Up Your Ears Undertaker
1992 Between the Lines Sgt. Harry Ross Television – episode "Lies and Damned Lies"
Screenplay Mr Preach Television – episode "Bad Girl"
1994 Martin Chuzzlewit David Crimple Television mini-series
Performance Barnadine Television – episode "Measure for Measure"
Screen Two Headmaster Television – episode "Criminal"
1995 Casualty Stanmore Television – episode "Hit & Run"
The Vet Dick Sims Television – episode "Relative Vaules"
1996 In Your Dreams Tutor Television
Wycliffe Joe Mawnan Television – episode "Total Loss"
Band of Gold Alf Black Television – episode "Hustling"
Our Friends in the North Eddie Wells Television
A Touch of Frost Les James Television – episode "Unknown Soldiers"
1997 Reckless Arnold Springer Television mini-series
The Moth Dave Waters Television film adaptation of Catherine Cookson novel
1998 Our Mutual Friend Rogue Riderhood Television mini-series
Tom's Midnight Garden Abel
Left Luggage Concierge
Vanity Fair Sir Pitt Crawley Television mini-series
2000 The King Is Alive Henry
2001 The Way We Live Now Mr. Broune Television mini-series
Gabriel and Me Granddad
Blow Dry Noah Thwaite
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Argus Filch
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
This Is Not a Love Song Mr Bellamy
Nicholas Nickleby Nigel Bray
Wild West Jake Television Series
2003 Midsomer Murders The Green Man Television Series Season VII ep.1 The Green Man
Charles II: The Power and the Passion Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey
2004 Exorcist: The Beginning Father Gionetti
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Argus Filch
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2006 Lycanthropy Club owner
Ideal Stemroach Television series
2007 Hot Fuzz Arthur Webley
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Argus Filch
2008 I Know You Know Mr. Fisher
The Daisy Chain Sean Cryan
The Colour of Magic Cohen the Barbarian
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Argus Filch
Harry Brown Leonard Attwell
The Tudors Will Somers Television series
2010 Another Year Ronnie
The Holding Cooper
The Sarah Jane Adventures Shansheeth Voice
New Tricks Simon Beswick / John Plummer
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Argus Filch
Game of Thrones Walder Frey Television series
Guest role; 6 episodes
Nominated for Best TV Villain at the 2013 IGN Awards
2011 Waking the Dead George Barlow Television series
Captain America: The First Avenger Tower Keeper
2012 World Without End Brother Joseph TV miniseries
Bad Education Ennis Television series
2012–2013 Prisoners' Wives Francesca's Father Television series
2012 Benidorm Stan Garvey Television series
The Hollow Crown Gardener Television series
Episode: "Richard II"
Doctor Who Solomon Television series
Episode 7.2 – "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"
2012–2014 Mount Pleasant Charlie Television series
2013 Broadchurch Jack Marshall Television series
Won Best Supporting Actor award at the 2014 British Academy Television Awards
An Adventure in Space and Time William Hartnell Television docudrama
Nominated in Best Single Drama category at the 2014 British Academy Television Awards
The World's End Basil
2014–2017 The Strain Professor Abraham Setrakian Television series
2014 Silk Judge Reynolds Television series
2016 The Young Messiah Old Rabbi
Beowulf Gorrik Television series
2016 Medici: Masters of Florence Count Bardi Television series
2017 Doctor Who First Doctor Television series – episode "The Doctor Falls" and Christmas Special "Twice Upon A Time"
2017–2018 Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia Merlin Netflix animated series, voice
2017 Britannia[22] Quane S1E5 cameo
2018 Await Further Instructions Grandad
2018–2019 Les Misérables Moniseur Gillenormand Television Series
2019 After Life Tony's Dad


  1. "Birth details at freebmd.org.uk". freebmd.org.uk. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  2. David Bradley Interview: From a York childhood to Doctor Who Archived 12 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 22 November 2013
  3. NATIONAL THEATRE: 1970s ROB WILTON THEATRICALIA. accessed 25 July 2011.
  4. Henry IV Parts One and Two Review by Michael Billington, The Guardian, 5 May 2005. Retrieved 29 June 2019
  5. Roz Laws (15 June 2007). "Harry Potter and the Magical Midlanders". Sunday Mercury. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  6. George R.R. Martin (24 November 2010). "wedding guest". Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  7. "'Game of Thrones' actor 'loved' doing Red Wedding scene". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  8. "David Bradley | United Agents". www.unitedagents.co.uk. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  9. "Game of Thrones season 7: release date, cast, trailers, spoilers & more". NME. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. Ng, Philiana (21 November 2013). "FX's 'The Strain' Casts 'Harry Potter's' David Bradley to Replace John Hurt". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  12. "The Mandate by Perihelion Interactive LLC — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  13. Harvey-Ball, Thom (23 March 2015). "New Supporter – David Bradley!". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  14. Reporters, Telegraph (1 July 2017). "First look pictures of the First and Twelfth Doctors together in the Doctor Who Christmas special". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  15. Gill, James (1 July 2017). "New Doctor Who Christmas special pictures tease history-making reunion for Peter Capaldi's Doctor". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  16. Martin, Dan (1 July 2017). "Doctor Who recap: series 36 finale – The Doctor Falls". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  17. Second Thoughts Our President for several years now has been David Bradley.
  18. "Honorary Graduates 2012". warwick.ac.uk. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  19. "Harry Potter star Bradley: Villa Park is truly magical". Avfc.co.uk. 14 November 2011. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  20. "Potter star is potty over York City".
  21. "BAFTA-winner David Bradley on Villa's 140 years". Aston Villa. 22 November 2014. Archived from the original on 1 December 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  22. Mariola, Tay (29 January 2018). "Crítica | Britannia – Primeira Temporada (Amazon)". Volts. Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. Há até uma participação especial de ninguém menos que David Bradley, O Walter Frey de Game of Thrones.
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