Mark Williams (actor)

Mark Williams (born 22 August 1959)[1] is an English actor, screenwriter and presenter. He has appeared as Arthur Weasley in seven of the Harry Potter films, and as one of the stars of the popular BBC sketch show The Fast Show. He also played Brian Williams in the BBC series Doctor Who, and Olaf Petersen in Red Dwarf. More recently he has appeared as the title character in the BBC series Father Brown.

Mark Williams
Williams at Brighton Big Beach Screen Events 2017
Born (1959-08-22) 22 August 1959
ResidenceLewes, East Sussex, England
OccupationActor, presenter, screenwriter
Years active1982–present

Early life

Williams was educated at North Bromsgrove High School and Brasenose College, Oxford. He performed with Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS). Having made a career as a theatre actor and working for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre along the way, he came to wider public attention through his appearances on the BBC television sketch programmes Alexei Sayle's Stuff and The Fast Show.[2] Williams has described the huge popularity of the latter show as a "double-edged sword" as it has led to his being seen by the public as a comedian rather than as an actor.[2]


Williams made his film début alongside fellow débutants Hugh Grant and Imogen Stubbs in the Oxford University Film Foundation production Privileged in 1982.[3]

His most famous cinema role is as Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, which began in 2002. Other high-profile appearances include the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro and Claire Danes in 2007 and a 2012 role in Doctor Who as Brian Williams, father of the Doctor's companion, Rory.[4]

Since 2013, he has appeared as the lead role in the BBC costume drama Father Brown. Williams also featured in the first series of Blandings, the BBC TV adaptation of the P. G. Wodehouse Blandings Castle stories, broadcast in 2013, in which he played Beach, the Emsworth's tipsy butler; his performance was described as "a delight" by Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail[5] but he did not return for the show's second series, for which he was replaced by Tim Vine.

In 2014 and 2015, he presented the BBC daytime game show The Link. The show ran for two series.

Aside from his acting work, Williams has also presented several documentary programmes: Mark Williams' Big Bangs on the history of explosives, a follow-up to previous series Mark Williams on the Rails, Industrial Revelations and More Industrial Revelations.

He is a supporter of Aston Villa F.C. although, living in Lewes, he also supports Brighton & Hove Albion.[6]

Interviewed in 2014 by the Lancashire Evening Post, when asked if some people still saw him as a comedy actor, Williams replied, "Well, it’s only a few people in the BBC. In America, they see me as a major British character actor, but unfortunately, the BBC is pretty parochial and people are institutionalised here."[7]

Williams is married, and has one child with his former wife.



Year Title Role Notes
1982 Privileged Wilf
1987 Out of Order PC
1988 High Season Benny
1994 Prince of Jutland Aslak
1996 101 Dalmatians Horace
1997 The Borrowers Exterminator Jeff
1998 Shakespeare in Love Wabash
1999 Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? Roland Thornton
2000 High Heels and Low Lifes Tremaine
2001 Second Star To The Left Duke
2002 Anita and Me The Reverend 'Uncle' Alan
The Final Curtain Declan Farrell
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Arthur Weasley
2004 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London Inspector Crescent
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Arthur Weasley
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2006 A Cock and Bull Story Ingoldsby
2007 Stardust Billy the Innkeeper
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Arthur Weasley
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Flutter Raymond
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Arthur Weasley
Albert Nobbs Sean
2016 Golden Years Publican


Year Title Role Notes
1988 The Storyteller Fearnot's brother Episode "Fearnot"
Red Dwarf Olaf Petersen Three episodes: "The End", "Balance of Power" and "Stasis Leak"
Alexei Sayle's Stuff First series, six episodes
1989 Tumbledown Lumpy
1990 Kinsey Danny
Making Out Manfred Episodes 1 and 2
KYTV Episode "Launch"
1991 Merlin of the Crystal Cave Cerdic
Bottom Boris Episode "Accident"
1993 The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer Don Powell Seven episodes 1993–1995
1994 Health and Efficiency Steven Episode "Cinderella Rockafeller"
The Fast Show Various characters 23 episodes 1994–2000
Chef! Policeman 2 Episode "Masterchef"
1995 The Big Game Tommy Hollis
Searching Gerald
Peak Practice Roland Grogan Episode "Life and Soul"
1998 The Fast Show Live Various characters
The Canterbury Tales Chanticleer Episode "Leaving London" – voice
Ted & Ralph Confirmed Bachelor
1999 Hunting Venus Peter
2000 Gormenghast Professor Perch
The Strangerers Cadet Flynn Nine episodes
2001 Fun at the Funeral Parlour Larry Nazareth Episode "The Jaws of Doom"
Industrial Revelations Himself Two series (as presenter)
2002 Shackleton Dudley Docker
2003 Grass Ben Six episodes
2004 Mark Williams on the Rails Himself Presenter
Carrie and Barry Kirk Two episodes
2006 Mark Williams' Big Bangs Himself Presenter
Saxondale Deggsy One episode
2007 Tumbledown Lumpy
2008 Sense and Sensibility Sir John Middleton
2009 Inspector George Gently Joe Bishop Episode "Gently in the Night"
Blood in the Water Jerry Hourihan
Agatha Christie's Marple Claud Evans Episode "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"
New Tricks David Beaumont Episode "The Truth is out There"
2010 The Indian Doctor Richard Sharpe[8] Five episodes
2011 Frankenstein's Wedding Alphonse Frankenstein
2012 Being Human Regus
Hustle Dale Ridley
Doctor Who Brian Williams 2 episodes
2013 Blandings Sebastian Beach Six episodes
Still Open All Hours Planter's Salesman
2013— Father Brown Father Brown Title character, 70 episodes
2014–2015 The Link Presenter BBC daytime game show
2015 Drunk History Robert Catesby Episode: "Episode Four"
2016 Twirlywoos Waiter Television series, "More About This Way, That Way"

Video games

Year Title Voice role
2016 Lego Dimensions Arthur Weasley (voice)

Voice Over


  1. "Mark Williams". IMDb. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  2. "Mark Williams: I'm not a comedian". 12 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  4. "Other Series 7 stars announced". Tardis Times. 2012. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012.
  5. Letts, Quentin (13 January 2013). "A 36-stone porker to rival the genius of Jeeves". Mail Online. Retrieved 15 January 2013
  6. "Mark Williams: Captain of industry". The Independent, 21 September 2005. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  7. "I'm a British character actor – not a comedian".
  8. Ian Wolf. "The Indian Doctor – Production Details". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
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