Jim Broadbent

James Broadbent (born 24 May 1949) is an English actor.[1] He won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his supporting role as John Bayley in the feature film Iris (2001), as well as winning a BAFTA TV Award and a Golden Globe for his leading role as Lord Longford in the television film Longford (2006). Broadbent received four BAFTA Film Award nominations and won one for his performance in Moulin Rouge! (2001). He was also nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Jim Broadbent
Broadbent in 2007
James Broadbent

(1949-05-24) 24 May 1949
ResidenceNorth West London, England
Lincolnshire, England
EducationLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active1972–present
Anastasia Lewis (m. 1987)

Broadbent played Horace Slughorn in the fantasy films Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011). He joined the cast of the television series Game of Thrones, playing a role of Archmaester Ebrose, in the seventh season (2017). His other notable roles were in Bullets over Broadway (1994), Topsy-Turvy (1999), Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), Moulin Rouge! (2001), The Gathering Storm (2002), Hot Fuzz (2007), Another Year (2010), The Iron Lady (2011), Cloud Atlas (2012), Brooklyn (2015) the Paddington films (2014, 2017).

Early life

Broadbent was born in Holton cum Beckering,[2] in Lincolnshire, the second son of Doreen "Dee" Broadbent (née Findlay), a sculptor, and Roy Laverick Broadbent, an artist, sculptor, interior designer and furniture maker.[3] Broadbent's parents were both amateur actors who co-founded the Holton Players acting troupe at Holton.[4] The two have been described by the BBC as conscientious objectors who "worked the land" rather than participate in World War II.[3] In Wickenby, a former Methodist Chapel was purchased in 1970 by Holton Players, who converted it into a 100-seat theatre, named Broadbent Theatre in memory of Roy Broadbent, who designed the conversion. In 2005 he played Brian the snail in the remake of The Magic Roundabout aged 55. He played Roy Slater in Only Fools And Horses in 1998-1999 aged 48 and 49 in 2 years.

Broadbent had a twin sister who died at birth. Broadbent was educated at Leighton Park School, a Quaker school in Reading,[5] and briefly attended art college before transferring to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He graduated in 1972.[6] His early stage work included appearances as Patrick Barlow's assistant in the mock National Theatre of Brent.[7]


Broadbent's early stagework included a number of productions for The National Theatre of Brent as the downtrodden assistant Wallace to Patrick Barlow's self-important actor and manager character Desmond Olivier Dingle. Broadbent and Barlow played many male and female character roles in comically less-than-epic tellings of historical and religious stories, such as The Complete Guide to Sex, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Revolution!!, and All The World's A Globe. These were hits at the Edinburgh Fringe, in London, and on tour. Later stage work included the original productions of Kafka's Dick (1986) and Our Country's Good (1988) at the Royal Court Theatre and work for the Royal National Theatre including "The Government Inspector". Work on the stage with Mike Leigh includes Goosepimples and Ecstasy.

He had worked with Stephen Frears in The Hit (1984) and Terry Gilliam in Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985) before establishing himself in Mike Leigh's Life Is Sweet (1990). He proved his ability as a character actor in films including The Crying Game (1992), Enchanted April (1992), Bullets over Broadway (1994), The Borrowers (1997), and Little Voice (1998) before taking a leading role in another Mike Leigh film, Topsy-Turvy (1999), playing dramatist Sir William S. Gilbert. He played "The Shy Doctor" in the 1999 Comic Relief parody Doctor Who sketch, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death.

In 2001, Broadbent starred in three of the year's most successful films: Richard Curtis' Bridget Jones's Diary, Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge!, and Richard Eyre's Iris, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.[8] In 2002, he appeared in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York and in the film adaptation of Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby (2002 film).

Broadbent voiced Madame Gasket in the 2005 film Robots. Broadbent also appeared as DCI Roy Slater, an associate character in the enormously popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses. The character appeared in three episodes over an eight-year period. He had originally been offered the lead role of Del Boy in the series, but he turned it down due to other commitments. He has also played a role in the Inspector Morse series. Other comic roles include the lead role in the sitcom The Peter Principle and occasional guest appearances in Not The Nine O'Clock News, Only Fools and Horses, and Victoria Wood As Seen on TV. He portrayed Don Speekingleesh in "The Queen of Spain's Beard" in the first series of The Black Adder in 1983. He also played the role of Prince Albert in Blackadder's Christmas Carol, first broadcast in 1988. He joined Rowan Atkinson in his Spider-Man spoof Spider-Plant Man, as a disgruntled Batman, jealous of Spider-Plant Man's success.

Broadbent played the lead role of the TV film Wide-Eyed and Legless.[9] Based on a true story, the drama tells of Deric Longden's wife, Diana, and her fight against a mysterious wasting illness which turned out to be myalgic encephalomyelitis. It began as a type of flu but it grew progressively worse. She was subject to blackouts and became so debilitated that she could barely get out of her wheelchair. It led to years of pain and paralysis that ended in her death.

Broadbent portrayed the title role in the Channel 4 drama Longford in October 2006, earning a BAFTA TV Award, a Golden Globe, and a 2007 Emmy nomination for his performance as Frank Pakenham (1905–2001), Earl of Longford, which was centred on Longford's ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the parole of Myra Hindley from her life imprisonment for the Moors Murders.

Broadbent appeared as Inspector Frank Butterman in Hot Fuzz in 2007.

He appeared in the original radio production of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, playing the character Vroomfondel. Forty years later, he took the role of Marvin in the Hexagonal Phase radio series.[10] He was also a regular in Stephen Fry's radio comedy show Saturday Night Fry, which aired on BBC Radio 4 in 1988. In 2008, he starred as pro-Newtonian physicist Sir Oliver Lodge in the fact-based single drama Einstein and Eddington for the BBC.

Broadbent also briefly appeared in the fourth film in the Indiana Jones series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and in The Young Victoria (2009) alongside Emily Blunt as King William IV.

Broadbent joined a long list of British actors by appearing in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as well as the final movie in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 as Horace Slughorn[11]

In 2009, he portrayed Sam Longson, chairman of Derby County football club in the 1960s and 1970s, in the film The Damned United; the starring character in the film was football manager Brian Clough, played by Michael Sheen. In 2010, he provided the voice for the character Major Mouse in a series of radio advertisements and one produced for television for an energy company, E.ON, for their eonenergyfit.com website campaign. He also starred as the older Logan Mountstuart in the TV adaptation of William Boyd's novel Any Human Heart. He had a lead role in Exile, a BBC One drama, starring John Simm and written by Danny Brocklehurst.[12]

In 2010, Broadbent reunited with director Mike Leigh, in Another Year with Ruth Sheen, and Lesley Manville. The film premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in competition for the Palme d'Or. According to review aggregation website, Rotten Tomatoes, 93% of critics have given the film a positive review, with the critical consensus reading, "Characterized by strong performances and the director's trademark feel for the nuances of everyday life, Another Year marks another solid entry in Mike Leigh's career of kitchen-sink English drama."[13]

In 2012, he played Denis Thatcher opposite legendary actress Meryl Streep as the former Prime Minister in The Iron Lady. Streep won her third Academy Award for her performance. That same year he also starred in Cloud Atlas.

In 2014, he starred in Roger Mitchell's critically acclaimed drama film, Le Week-End alongside Lindsay Duncan. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 89% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 148 reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10. The website's critical consensus states: "Topped with bittersweet humor but possessing surprisingly thorny depths, Le Week-End offers a sophisticated, well-acted portrait of late-life struggles and long-term marriage."[14]

In 2015, Broadbent starred in the Oscar nominated film Brooklyn alongside Saoirse Ronan, Domhnaal Gleeson, and Julie Walters. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 256 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Brooklyn buttresses outstanding performances from Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen with a rich period drama that tugs at the heartstrings as deftly as it satisfies the mind."[15] The film was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Later that year, he also appeared in a role in Alan Bennett's comedy film The Lady in the Van (2015) alongside Maggie Smith, and Alex Jennings.

Broadbent has also appeared in the critically acclaimed British comedy films, Paddington (2014), and Paddington 2 (2018) alongside Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, and Ben Whishaw.

In 2016, he was cast in the massively popular Emmy Award winning HBO series seventh season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.[16][17]

On 28 May 2018, he played Gloucester in the BBC Two's of King Lear.[18]

In 2018, he played Hans Christian Andersen in the premiere of Martin McDonagh's play A Very Very Very Dark Matter at the Bridge Theatre in London.[19]


In 2018, Broadbent's first graphic novel Dull Margaret was published by Fantagraphics Books.[20]


Selected filmography

Personal life

Broadbent has been married to painter and former theatre designer Anastasia Lewis[21] since 1987. He is an atheist.[22]

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2001 Iris Best Supporting Actor Won

Emmy Awards (Primetime)

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2002 The Gathering Storm Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie Nominated
2007 Longford Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2002 Iris Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Won
2003 The Gathering Storm Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2007 Longford Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Won

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Year Nominated Work Category Result
1998 Little Voice Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture Nominated
2002 Moulin Rouge! Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture Nominated
2002 Iris Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
2018 Game of Thrones Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA)

Year Nominated Work Category Result
2000 Topsy-Turvy Best Actor in a Leading Role – Film Nominated
2002 Iris Best Actor in a Leading Role – Film Nominated
2002 Moulin Rouge Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film Won
2004 Young Visiters Best Actor in a Leading Role – Television Nominated
2007 Longford Best Actor in a Leading Role – Television Won
2011 Any Human Heart Best Actor in a Leading Role – Television Nominated
2012 The Iron Lady Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film Nominated

Other awards

Year Nominated Work Category
1999 Topsy-Turvy
2001 Moulin Rouge!
2002 Nicholas Nickleby National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
2006 The Street
2007 Longford
2007 Nicholas Nickleby
2009 The Damned United Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
2010 Another Year
Any Human Heart

Other awards and honours

Broadbent was offered an OBE in 2002, but he declined it, stating that there were more deserving recipients than actors and that the British Empire was not something he wanted to “celebrate”.[23][24]

Broadbent was made an Honorary Associate of London Film School.


  1. "Jim Broadbent | Biography, Movies, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  2. "It's a Golden Globe for Jim Broadbent", Louth Leader, 14 January 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2011
  3. "BBC – Lincolnshire – History – Famous Yellowbelly – Jim Broadbent". Bbc.co.uk. 24 August 2005. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  4. "Broadbent Theatre Member Profile: Roy Broadbent". Broadbent.org. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  5. Home. "An in-depth look at your favourite celebrity personalities – hellomagazine.com, HELLO!". Hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  6. Newsmakers, Issue 4. Gale, 2008
  7. "BBC - The National Theatre Of Brent In The Greatest Story Ever Told - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  8. "The 74th Academy Awards (2002) Nominees and Winners, Sunday, 24 March 2002". Oscars.org. 24 March 2002. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  9. "Wide-Eyed And Legless".
  10. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hexagonal Phase - S4". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  11. "Broadbent on "Potter" & "Indy 4" (17 September 2007)". Darkhorizons.com. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  12. "BBC news entertainment-arts". BBC News. Bbc.co.uk. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  13. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/another_year_2010
  14. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/le_week_end
  15. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/brooklyn
  16. Hibberd, James (31 August 2016). "Game of Thrones casts Jim Broadbent in first season 7 role". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  17. "'Harry Potter' star joins 'Game Of Thrones' cast for season seven". NME. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  18. "Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson to Star in 'King Lear' for Amazon and BBC".
  19. "A Very Very Very Dark Matter | The Bridge Theatre". The Bridge Theatre. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  20. "Comics & Graphic Novels :: Graphic Novels :: Dull Margaret". www.fantagraphics.com. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  21. Walden, By Celia (24 November 2010). "Jim Broadbent: 'I love being someone else'".
  22. Farndale, Nigel (22 September 2007). "Jim Broadbent: the heartbreak kid" via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  23. Eden, Richard (8 January 2012). "Oscar-winning star Jim Broadbent says 'rogue' actors should reject honours". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  24. "Broadbent Snubbed Obe". contactmusic.com. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
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