Joe Gilgun

Joseph William Gilgun (born 9 March 1984) is an English actor known for several roles, including that of Eli Dingle in ITV's Emmerdale, Woody in the film This Is England (2006) and its subsequent spin-off series and Rudy Wade in E4's Misfits with Matt Stokoe. He currently appears in the AMC television adaptation of the Vertigo comic Preacher as the Irish vampire Cassidy.[1]

Joe Gilgun
Gilgun at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International promoting Preacher.
Joseph William Gilgun

(1984-03-09) 9 March 1984
Years active1994–present

Early life

Gilgun was born in Chorley, Lancashire, to Judith and Andrew. He has two younger sisters, Jennie and Rosie. He attended Rivington VA Primary School and Southlands High School. He also trained at the Laine Johnson Theatre School and the Oldham Theatre Workshop.[2] He has dyslexia and ADHD, which he describes as the "biggest pain of [his] life" and in interviews has openly discussed depression and anxiety.[3][4] He started drama workshops at the age of eight, following advice from an educational psychologist, and was described as having "exceptional talent". When he was 10, he got his first TV acting role in Coronation Street. He stayed until he was 13. Gilgun studied art at Runshaw College. He started a degree in fashion design, but found it too academic. He was a plasterer, until returning to acting full-time with Emmerdale.


As a child actor, Gilgun played little tearaway Jamie Armstrong in Coronation Street between 1994 and 1997. He left the soap when the actress playing his on-screen mother left the show. Gilgun revisited the set in an ITV special The Kids from Coronation Street in 2004. In 1998, when he was 14 years old, he presented a feature on Wish You Were Here...? where he visited Phantasialand, one of Germany's largest theme parks.[5]

Gilgun took a break in his teens, acting part-time in local and national stage productions including the Salford-based Hanky Park the Musical at The Lowry.[6][7] He played Charlie Millwall in a critically acclaimed tour of the stage play Borstal Boy, which ended at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.[8]

Gilgun found the break from acting difficult, telling The Guardian in December 2011 that "[I] went off the fucking rails" and became confused about what to do with his life. He ended up working as a plasterer.[9]

He returned to acting full-time in 2006, when he won the roles of both trouble-prone Eli Dingle in long-running soap opera Emmerdale and kind-hearted skinhead Woody in This Is England, his debut as a film actor. This Is England was released in the UK on 27 April 2007 and subsequently won several awards including a BAFTA for Best British Film in 2008.[10][11][12][13]

In 2007, Gilgun starred alongside welterweight boxing champion Michael Jennings in a locally produced feature-length documentary entitled Chorley: Where People Go to Fight. All proceeds went to Derian House Children's Hospice, with Gilgun helping to present the cheque.[14] Additionally, he appeared in a Dingle-centred episode of Ghosthunting with... hosted by Yvette Fielding.

Gilgun was granted time off from Emmerdale to shoot the 2009 British crime thriller Harry Brown, where he played drug dealer Kenny Soames.[15][16][17][18] Gilgun announced he would quit Emmerdale on 10 November 2009, feeling the time was right to move on. His last appearance was on 30 April 2010. An Emmerdale representative said the programme had not ruled out a future return for the character.[19] Gilgun later indicated he currently had no such plans.[20]

Gilgun reprised the character of Woody for three Channel 4 TV spin-off series of This Is England, called This Is England '86.[21] and This is England '88[22] and This Is England '90, which aired in September 2010, December 2011 and 2015 respectively. In 2010, This is England writer-director Shane Meadows referred Gilgun to star in longtime collaborator Paul Fraser's music video for the song "Dead American Writers" by Tired Pony.

On 9 May 2011, it was announced that Gilgun had been cast as newcomer Rudy Wade in the third series of Misfits with Matt Stokoe. The character Rudy can manifest a clone of himself that roughly represents his conscience. He appeared in the first episode of the third series in late October 2011 with Matt Stokoe.[23] He replaced as lead the character of Nathan following the departure of Robert Sheehan. An online short called Vegas Baby covered Nathan Young's exit and Rudy's arrival.[24] Gilgun said that replacing Sheehan had "been frightening... You'd think that it'd be a total ballache, what with being new and stuff and Rob doing such a good job".[9]

In the following years, Gilgun appeared in the 2012 American science fiction film Lockout, co-written and produced by Luc Besson and starring Guy Pearce,[25] the 2013 BBC series Ripper Street as a Fagin-type character, Carmichael, as well as starring in the final two series of Misfits.[26] He appears in the music video for "Tiny Legs" by Then Thickens, released in 2014. Having been friends with a few members of the band from growing up around Chorley, Joe agreed to star in the video. It involved him having makeup, flour and eggs applied to his face amongst other things and took several, messy takes to get right.[27]

In 2015, Gilgun played Ellic in Breck Eisner's The Last Witch Hunter alongside Michael Caine, Vin Diesel, and Elijah Wood.

In March 2015 Gilgun earned the role of drug-addict vampire Cassidy, one of the main characters in the AMC series Preacher.[28] Speaking of the casting of Gilgun, Preacher executive producer Seth Rogen said: "It's one of those things that happens only a few times throughout your career, where you just go 'Oh, it's you. You're the character that is written on the page'... You could tell Joe's lived like 100 lifetimes, and he's probably done some shit you do not want to hear about, but at the same time, he's one of the most fun, loving people you'll ever be around. And it was exactly what the character needed to be."[29]

Personal life

Gilgun has developed a close relationship with his co-stars from the This Is England stories, referring to them in interviews as "the gang". Gilgun also has a tattoo of the name Matt Stokoe across his hand dedicated to the character closest to him in Misfits.[9]



YearTitleRole Notes
2006This Is EnglandRichard "Woody" Woodford
2009Harry BrownKenneth "Kenny" Soames
2010Top of the RangeJoeShort (10 minutes)
2013TennisJerryShort (23 minutes)
2014PrideMike Jackson
2015The Last Witch HunterEllic
2016The InfiltratorDominic


1994–1997Coronation StreetJamie Armstrong
1998Wish You Were Here...?Guest Presenter
2005ShamelessRicoSeason 2, episode 2
2005Big DippersCarlTV film
2006SortedCar MechanicSeason 1, episode 5
2006–2010EmmerdaleEli Dingle
2010This Is England '86Richard "Woody" WoodfordTV series (4 episodes)
2011This Is England '88Richard "Woody" WoodfordTV series (3 episodes)
2011–2013MisfitsRudy WadeSeries 3 to Series 5
2013Ripper StreetCarmichaelSeason 1, episode 2
2013Coming UpMartinSeries 8, episode 1
2015This Is England '90Richard "Woody" WoodfordTV series (4 episodes)
2016–2019PreacherCassidyMain character, also executive producer
2019–presentBrassicVincent "Vinnie" O'NeilMain character, also executive producer

Awards and nominations

Year Result Award Category Film or series Character
2006 Nominated British Independent Film Awards Best Supporting Actor/Actress This is England Woody
2007 Nominated British Soap Awards Best Newcomer Emmerdale Eli Dingle
Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Newcomer
Nominated TV Quick and TV Choice Awards Best Soap Newcomer
2008 Nominated Digital Spy Awards Villain of the Year
2012 Won Virgin Media TV Awards Best Newbie Misfits Rudy Wade
Won SFX Awards Breakout Star
Nominated BAFTA Television Award Best Actor This Is England '88 Woody


  1. "Cooper Pretty Much Set For "Preacher"". Dark Horizons. 10 April 2015. Archived from the original on 23 August 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  2. "Chorley lad Joseph acted up and became a familiar TV face". Chorley Guardian. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  3. Sarah Waterfall (30 November 2004). "Life as a Corrie kid | Manchester Evening News -". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  4. "Newsquest - Home". Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  5. "BFI | Film & TV Database | WISH YOU WERE HERE...?[04/05/98] (1998)". 16 April 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  6. "Details". Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  7. "Harry Brown". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  8. Considine, Clare (10 December 2011). "Emmerdale misfit Joe Gilgun is most at home with the This Is England gang". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  9. "This Is England News, Reviews, Summary, Cast and Crew, Videos". 2 March 2012. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  10. "My Film Vault". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  11. Retrieved 5 May 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. Ifc Pictures (27 July 2007). "Down and out? Pick on someone lower |". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  13. "Big names star in labour of love movie (From Chorley Citizen)". 10 October 2007. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  14. "Harry Brown (2009)". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  15. "'Emmerdale's Gilgun lands Caine movie - Emmerdale News - Soaps". Digital Spy. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  16. paul woods. "laine management". laine management. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  17. "More TIFF titles for Galas and Special Presentations sections". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  18. "Eli Dingle quits 'Emmerdale' - Emmerdale News - Soaps". Digital Spy. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  19. "Shane on This Is England spin-off". Virgin Media. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  20. "Shane Meadows returns with Christmas special: This Is England '88 - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  21. "Misfits casts Joe Gilgun as new recruit Rudy - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  22. "Misfits - Series 3 news - plus an online short - Misfits blog". 11 April 2011. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  23. "Lockout (2012)". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  24. "'Preacher' Series Gets Its Cassidy". BD. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  25. "Celebrity News, Gossip and Photo Galleries - HuffPost Celebrity UK". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  26. "Preacher Casts Cassidy – Joseph Gilgun". DC. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  27. "'Preacher' Star Joseph Gilgun on Vampires, God, and Other Imaginary Things". Observer. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
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