Kevin Whately

Kevin Whately (born 6 February 1951) is an English actor. Whately is primarily known for his role as Robert "Robbie" Lewis in the crime dramas Inspector Morse from 1987-2000 and Lewis from 2006-2015, his role as Neville "Nev" Hope in the British television comedy Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and his role as Jack Kerruish in the drama series Peak Practice, although he has appeared in numerous other roles.

Kevin Whately
Whately as Inspector Lewis
in Oxford, August 2015
Born (1951-02-06) 6 February 1951
ResidenceWoburn Sands, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England
Years active1979–present
TelevisionInspector Morse
Madelaine Newton (m. 1984)

Early life

Whately is from Humshaugh, near Hexham, Northumberland.[2] His mother, Mary (née Pickering[3]), was a teacher and his father, Richard, was a Commander in the Royal Navy.[4] His maternal grandmother, Doris Phillips,[4] was a professional concert singer and his great-great-grandfather, Richard Whately, was Anglican Archbishop of Dublin.[5] The BBC documentary Who Do You Think You Are?, broadcast on 2 March 2009, also revealed that Whately is a descendant, on his paternal side, of Thomas Whately of Nonsuch Park (father of Thomas Whately), a leading London merchant, English politician and writer who became a director of the Bank of England, and of Major Robert Thompson, a pioneer tobacco plantation owner in Virginia who was a staunch supporter of the Parliamentarian cause at the time of the English Commonwealth.[4]

Whately was educated at Barnard Castle School,[6] and went on to study drama at the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1975.[7][8] Before going professional, Whately was an amateur actor at the People's Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne during the 1970s. His brother, Frank, is a lecturer at Kingston University in London.[9][4]


Before turning to professional acting, Whately began his working life as a folk singer, and still plays the guitar, performing for charity concerts.[4] Along with other Auf Wiedersehen, Pet stars, he makes an appearance at the biennial benefit concert Sunday for Sammy in Newcastle. Before becoming an actor, he started training as an accountant.

His acting career includes several stage plays, among them an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men, and film appearances in The Return of the Soldier, The English Patient, Paranoid and Purely Belter.

Whately's television appearances include episodes of Shoestring, Angels, Juliet Bravo, Strangers, Coronation Street, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Alas Smith and Jones, Look and Read, You Must Be The Husband, B&B, Peak Practice, Skallagrigg, The Broker's Man, Murder in Mind, Inspector Morse, 2003 Comic Relief Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Lewis, New Tricks, Who Gets the Dog?, The Children and Silent Cry. Whately provided one of the voices for the English-language version of the 1999 claymation Children's television series Hilltop Hospital. He has also done voiceovers for a WaterAid advertisement.

In 1985, Whately appeared in a 3-part Miss Marple adaptation ("A Murder Is Announced") for the BBC. His part, Detective Sergeant Fletcher, opposite John Castle as Inspector Craddock, was very similar to what became the career-defining role he took two years later, when he was cast as Detective Sergeant Lewis, the down-to-earth complement to the eponymous Inspector Morse played by John Thaw. Whately starred opposite Thaw in 32 episodes over 13 years in the hugely successful series that established him as a household name in the UK.

He reprised the role in the spin-off series Lewis, in which Lewis returns to Oxford as a full Inspector. With his new partner, the Cambridge-educated Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox), Inspector Lewis solves murder mysteries while trying to rebuild his life after his wife's sudden death in a hit-and-run accident and to gain recognition from his sceptical new boss.

Richard Marson's book celebrating fifty years of Blue Peter comments that Whately auditioned as a presenter for the show in 1980 but lost out to Peter Duncan.

In 2010 Whately played the lead in the television film Joe Maddison's War about strained family and social relations in wartime. Directed by Patrick Collerton, it presented a view of World War II through the eyes of shipyard worker and World War I veteran Joe Maddison (Kevin Whately) who serves in the Home Guard during the Blitz.

Following the filming of the seventh series of Lewis, at the end of 2012, Whately and Laurence Fox announced that they would take a break of at least a year before filming more episodes. ITV indicated a continuing commitment to the series and that they wished to produce additional episodes of the programme. On 4 November 2012 Whately performed in a radio drama on BBC3 called The Torchbearers, which follows the circumstances of several UK citizens whose lives are changed through contact with the Olympic Torch.[10] In 2013, the Live Theatre of Newcastle upon Tyne produced a series of performances of the unique, acclaimed one-person play, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, which is enacted as a cold reading with no sets or costumes by a different performer each night. Whately was the actor for the sold-out performance of 10 March 2013. After the end of 9th and final series of Lewis Whately announced he was to retire from acting after playing Lewis on and off for 28 years.[11]

Whately was the patron of the Central School of Speech and Drama Full House Theatre Company for 2011.[12]

Personal life

Whately lives in Woburn Sands near Milton Keynes with his wife actress Madelaine Newton, who starred in the 1970s BBC drama When the Boat Comes In. Madelaine starred as Morse's love interest in the Inspector Morse episode entitled Masonic Mysteries (1990; series 4, episode 4).

Whately enjoys rock music and plays the guitar; he has cited Pink Floyd and Dire Straits as bands he has particularly enjoyed.[4] He is a fan of Newcastle United[13] on the football field, but says that he prefers rugby league,[13] and as a cricketer admitted to Inspector Morse writer Colin Dexter that he would like to have played cricket professionally for England. Dexter devised the storyline for the Inspector Morse episode "Deceived by Flight" (1989; series 3, episode 3) in which Sergeant Lewis had to go undercover in a cricket team to investigate drug smuggling.[4]

In August 2014, Whately was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September's independence referendum.[14]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 Hawk the Slayer [15]
1982 The Return of the Soldier Hostile soldier's mate
1996 The English Patient Hardy
2000 Paranoid Clive
Purely Belter Mr Caird
2006 The Fourth King Narrator Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Out of the Past 2 episodes
1979 Shoestring Bobby Treen Episode: "The Partnership"
1980 BBC2 Playhouse Bob Smith Episode: "The Dig"
Fair Stood the Wind for France Lancaster crew Episode 1.1
Angels Norman Pollard 3 episodes
Juliet Bravo PC Chris Evans Episode: "Coming Back"
Strangers Michael Hobb Episode: "Retribution"
1981 Coronation Street Kevin 2 episodes
1983 Shackleton Jameson Adams Episode: "Our Dead Bodies Must Tell the Tale"
1983–2004 Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Neville Hope Main role
1985 Miss Marple Detective Sergeant Fletcher 3 episodes
1987–2000 Inspector Morse Detective Sergeant Lewis Main role
1987 Smith & Jones Episode 4.3
1988 Look and Read Ray Hilton 10 episodes
You Must Be the Husband Hugo Mansell Episode: "A Bit Prickly in the Morning"
1990 Screenplay Neil Baldwin Episode: "Night Voice"
1991 Aspel & Company Himself Episode 8.8
1992 B&B Steve Shepherd
1993–1995 Peak Practice Jack Kerruish 36 episodes
1994 Screen Two Sam Hopkins Episode: "Skallagrigg"
Q.E.D. Narrator Episode: "Food Fights"
An Audience with... Himself Uncredited Audience Member

Episode 14

1996 Trip Trap Ian Armstrong Television film
1997 Songs of Praise Himself 1 episode
Gobble Colin Worsfold Television film
Light Lunch Himself Episode: "Ooh Doctor, I Feel a Bit Peaky"
1997–1998 The Broker's Man James 'Jimmy' Griffin Lead role
1999 The People's Passion Judas Television film
Hilltop Hospital Dr Matthews Voice

Episode: "Gracey Greyshell's Last Day"

Pure Wickedness Geoff Meadows Main role
What Katy Did Dr. Philip Carr Television film
2001 Murder in Mind Nigel Liddy Episode: "Neighbours"
Merseybeat Philip Kitchener 2 episodes
2002 John Thaw: An Appreciation Himself Short television special
The BAFTA TV Awards 2002 Himself Television special
Plain Jane David Bruce Television film
Silent Cry Richard Herd Television film
The John Thaw Story Himself Television special documentary
Lads' Army Narrator
2003 Little Wolf's Book of Badness Akela Voice

Short television film

Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do Neville Hope Television special
Bible Mysteries Narrator Episode: "David and Goliath"
Promoted to Glory Maj. Nigel Hurst Television film
2003–2005 GMTV Himself 3 episodes
2004 Richard & Judy Himself 1 episode
The Legend of the Tamworth Two Wolf Television film
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Himself 1 episode
Belonging Jacob Copplestone Television film
2004–2011 This Morning Himself 2 episodes
2005 Dad Oliver James Television film
Drama Connections Himself Episode: "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet"
ITV 50 Greatest Shows Himself Television special
Footprints in the Snow Kevin Hill Television film
ITV 50: The Golden Years Himself Television film documentary
2006–2015 Lewis DI Robert Lewis Lead role
2006 Today with Des and Mel Himself 1 episode
New Tricks Andrew Simson Episode: "Congratulations"
TV's 50 Greatest Stars Himself Television film documentary
Live! Girls! present Dogtown Bus Driver BBC3 Comedy, Series 1 Episode 1
2007 Lewis... Behind the Scenes Himself Television film
There's Something About... Morse Himself / Det. Insp. Lewis Television film documentary
The Music of Morse Narrator Voice

Television film documentary

Kevin Whately: Morse & Me Himself Short documentary series
Legends Himself Television documentary

Episode: "The Dankworths"

Who Gets the Dog? Jack Evans Television film
2008 The Alan Titchmarsh Show Himself 1 episode
50 Greatest TV Endings Himself Television film documentary
Profiling Himself Television documentary

Episode: "Colin Dexter"

The Children Cameron Miller Main role
2009 Who Do You Think You Are? Himself Television documentary

1 episode

Top of the Cops Himself / DS/DI Robert Lewis Television film documentary
2009–2016 Masterpiece Mystery! Inspector Lewis 10 episodes
2010 Breakfast Himself 1 episode
Joe Maddison's War Joe Maddison Television film
2011 The A to Z of Crime Himself / DI Robert Lewis Television documentary

Episode: "U to Z"

2012 The Unforgettable John Thaw Himself Television film documentary
Inspector George Gently Donald McGhee Episode: "Gently in the Cathedral"
2013 The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track Narrator Television documentary series
Richard Briers: A Tribute Himself Television film documentary
The Crime Thriller Club Himself Television documentary series

Episode 1.3

2015 The Sound of ITV: The Nation's Favourite Theme Tunes Himself / Lewis Television film documentary
Lorraine Himself 1 episode
2016 Pointless Celebrities Himself Episode: "Law and Order"
Still Game Cameron Hastie Episode: "Job"
2016–2017 Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Himself 6 episodes
2017 Who Shot Simon Cowell? Himself Television film
2017–2018 Island Medics Narrator Voice

Television documentary



Year Title Role Theatre Notes
Whistling Milestones Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Tunes of Glory Royal Lyceum Theatre / Scottish Tour
The Foursome Harry Warehouse Theatre
Raffles Charles Lamb Far Eastern Tour
Accounts Andy Mawson Edinburgh / Riverside Studios
Operation Elvis Elvis Tricycle Theatre
Bad Language Phil Hampstead Theatre
Henry IV Prince Hal Tyne Theatre
Billy Liar Title Role National Tour
She Stoops to Conquer Tony Lumpkin Oxford Playhouse
Three Piece Suite Keith Bishop Queen's Theatre
The Crucible John Proctor Leicester Haymarket
Our Own Kind Daines Bush Theatre
1989 The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd Blackmore Leicester Haymarket
1996 Twelve Angry Men Juror 8 Bristol Old Vic / Comedy Theatre
1997 Snake in the Grass Ray Lucas Old Vic Theatre
1998 How I Learned to Drive Uncle Peck Donmar Warehouse
2013 White Rabbit Red Rabbit Live Theatre
2015 Gypsy Herbie Chichester Festival Theatre
Arthur Arthur Theatre Royal Haymarket [16]


  1. Marriage Index. April 1984. Aylesbury. Vol 19. Page 1137.
  2. "Hexham actor digs deep to discover a privileged past". JournalLive. 2 March 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  3. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  4. "Kevin Whately". Who Do You Think You Are?. Season six. Episode five. 2 March 2009. BBC One.
  5. "BBC Who Do You Think You Are?". BBC. 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  6. "Drama". Barnard Castle School website. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  7. "Distinguished Alumni". Central School of Speech and Drama website. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  8. "High Profile Alumni". The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  9. kingstonshakespeareseminar (24 January 2018). "Frank Whately: Edward Alleyn and the Rose + Conference Introduction".
  10. "BBC Radio 3 – Drama on 3, The Torchbearers". 4 November 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. "Full House Theatre Company" (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF). The Alumni Newsletter. Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London (17). August 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  13. Roger, Sylvia (2 March 2009), "My Perfect Weekend: Kevin Whately: Grilled kippers, battered cod and a Newcastle family catch-up.", The Daily Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group Limited – [TMG]
  14. "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. London. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  15. "KEVIN WHATELY" (PDF). CDA Theatrical Agency. November 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  16. "Kevin Whately and Angela Griffin to lead cast in Arthur by Ben Weatherill as part of the Pitch Your Play at the Theatre Royal Haymarket" (PDF). Masterclass. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2019.

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