Nigel Harman

Nigel Derek Harman (born 11 August 1973) is a British actor, best known for his role as heartthrob Dennis Rickman in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. He has worked mostly in theatre, with the stage being described as his "first love".[2] He starred in the final series of Hotel Babylon. In early 2013 he started filming for the fourth series of Downton Abbey, playing visiting valet, Mr Green.[3] From 2013 until the series ended in 2017, he played the role of Bradley Dawson in Sky One's Mount Pleasant. As of 2019 he stars as Lloyd in Season 4 of Cuckoo.

Nigel Harman
Nigel Derek Harman

(1973-08-11) 11 August 1973[1]
London, England
EducationDulwich College
Arts Educational Schools, London
Years active1984–91, 2002–present
Notable work
See below
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Downton Abbey

In the theatre, he has played various musical roles including Sky Masterson in Michael Grandage's revival of Guys and Dolls and Lord Farquaad in the original London production of Shrek the Musical for which he received an Olivier Award for his performance.

Childhood and early career

Harman grew up in Woldingham, and was educated at elite Dulwich College. However, he found school difficult: "I was never comfortable sitting down. I always wanted to get involved in something, not just learn and write. I was in so much trouble I had my own desk in detention."[2] His father was a bank manager, but also involved in amateur dramatics including work with Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association (CODA), an interest which was passed on to Harman. His mother was also involved in the productions, but she died when Harman was 18.

By the age of 8 he already had a manager and in 1984 he made his first major television appearance in the BBC1 drama series Tenko which was followed by appearances in Alas Smith and Jones (1986) and The Honey Siege (1987). He then turned his hand to larger theatre roles, appearing in productions such as Privates on Parade, Much Ado About Nothing and Summer Holiday. He trained at Arts Educational Schools in London and was in the original cast of world hit Mamma Mia!. He also performed in musicals on cruise ships for six and a half months, but told Paul O'Grady that he hated the experience.[4]

Having only worked on the stage and in musical theatre since leaving private school, Harman determined to expand into television and pursued TV roles.[5] He scored minor parts in episodes of Red Cap, Doctors and Coupling, but had to support himself by taking jobs at Pizza Hut and as a driver for supermarket chain Sainsburys [6] a fate not uncommon for many actors.


In 2003 he won the high-profile role of Dennis Rickman in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. At the time he won the role, Harman was working for British supermarket Sainsbury's as a delivery van driver.

His character's first notable bustup was with local hard man Phil Mitchell whom he punched in his very first episode making him the first of his many enemies. A few months later, Dennis was beaten up by some thugs who had been sent around by Phil. Then his long-lost father "Dirty" Den Watts (played by Leslie Grantham) famously returned after being presumed dead for over 14 years and together with Dennis framed Phil for armed robbery causing Phil to flee Walford on the run from police.

Harman left EastEnders on 5 November 2005, and his final episode was aired on 30 December 2005 in which Dennis was stabbed to death in the street by one of Johnny Allen's (Billy Murray) henchman (it was later discovered to be Danny Moon, played by Jake Maskall).

During his time on EastEnders Harman won multiple awards such as the following:

  • Wins:
    • National Television Awards 2003 Most Popular Newcomer
    • British Soap Awards 2004 Sexiest Male and Best Newcomer
    • Inside Soap Awards 2004 Sexiest Male and Best Actor
    • British Soap Awards 2005 Sexiest Male
    • Inside Soap Awards 2005 Sexiest Male and Best Actor
  • Nominations:
    • British Soap Awards 2005 Best Actor
    • National Television Awards 2004 Most Popular Actor
    • National Television Awards 2005 Most Popular Actor
    • Inside Soap Awards 2005 Best Couple (Shared with Letitia Dean)


After leaving EastEnders in December 2005, he appeared as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End alongside Jenna Russell and Nigel Lindsay. He opened alongside Sarah Lancashire who left the production with illness on 4 January 2006. He left the show in March 2006. In April 2006, he played Kerry Max Cooke in The Exonerated at Riverside Studio Theatre in Hammersmith, London.

In October 2006, Harman appeared in the Harold Pinter play The Caretaker at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, starring alongside David Bradley and Con O'Neill. The production toured from February to April 2007. The tour venues were the Theatre Royal, Brighton, the Richmond Theatre and the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.

Harman resumed the role of Sky Masterson again, joining the Guys and Dolls tour at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham in December 2006, and the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton in May 2007.

From May to July 2008 he appeared in The Common Pursuit at the Menier Chocolate Factory for a limited run.

From January to May 2009 he appeared in the play Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theatre, London with actors Lyndsey Marshal and James McAvoy.

In November and December 2009 he appeared in Public Property by Sam Peter Jackson at the Trafalgar Studios.

During May and June 2010, Harman appeared in the stage production of True West at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.

From May 2011 to February 2012 he played Lord Farquaad in the West End production of Shrek the Musical, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.[7] For his performance, he won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical and Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.[8]

In July 2012 he played Sir Charles Surface in The School for Scandal at the Theatre Royal, Bath.

From September 2012 to January 2013 he starred alongside Rob Brydon and Ashley Jensen in Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus of Disapproval at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End.[9]

In August 2013, it was announced Harman would play the role of Simon Cowell in the West End musical I Can't Sing! The X Factor Musical,[10] which opened in February 2014 at the London Palladium. Despite positive reviews, the musical closed in May.[11]

In May 2014 it was announced that Harman would direct The Rabbit Hole, starring Joanne Froggatt. The production was due to open at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre on 24 September 2014[12] but has been postponed.

Also in 2014, Harman was revealed as the director for the UK tour of Shrek The Musical, which opened in July in Leeds and finished in February 2016 in Salford. The tour will resume in Edinburgh in December 2017.

In October 2016 he directed a double-bill Lunch and The Bow of Ulysses by Steven Berkoff at the Trafalgar Studios in the West End of London.

From 27 January to 11 February 2017, Harman starred in the French comedy What's In A Name? at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre alongside Sarah Hadland, Jamie Glover, Olivia Poulet and Raymond Coulthard.

Harman directed the London premiere of the musical Big Fish, starring Kelsey Grammer, which played at The Other Palace in November and December 2017.

In February 2019, Harman will embark on a UK tour of David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross opposite Mark Benton.

Further work

Harman's success on television and stage has facilitated a move into other television and film roles. In 2006 he played the leading role in one-off drama thriller The Outsiders, co-starring actors Colin Salmon and Brian Cox. Later that year he made a brief appearance in the Hollywood film Blood Diamond.

In 2007 and 2008 he made guest appearances in the Channel 4 series: Comedy Showcase and City of Vice as well as an episode of the BBC drama series Lark Rise to Candleford. He also played his first major film role (as singer Jess Conrad) in Telstar.

In 2009 he appeared in the series Plus One and took over from Max Beesley as the new male lead in the BBC drama Hotel Babylon playing new owner Sam Franklin. He also appeared as a "Dealer" in the Channel 4 online educational game 'The Curfew'.[13]

In 2010 he appeared in an episode of Agatha Christie's Marple.

In 2013 he appeared in the fourth series of Downton Abbey, playing the role of a visiting valet named Mr Green.[14] From 2013 until the series ended in 2017, he played Bradley Dawson in Mount Pleasant.



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Blood Diamond News Reporter #1
2008 R.I.P. TV Jake Short
Telstar Jess Conrad


Year Show Role Notes
1984 Tenko Timmy 1 episode: 3.1
1986 Alas Smith & Jones Uncredited 3 episodes
1987 The Honey Siege George Green 7 episodes
The Home-Made Xmas Video Peter
1991 The Bill Macfee 1 episode: The Juggler and the Fortune Teller
2002 Coupling Pizza Man 1 episode: The Girl with One Heart
2003 Red Cap Dan Coulthard 1 episode: Crush
Doctors Mike Summers 1 Episode: Black and Blue
2003–05 EastEnders Dennis Rickman British Soap Award for Best Newcomer (2003)
British Soap Award for Sexiest Male (2004-2005)
National Television Award for Most Popular Newcomer (2003)
Inside Soap Award for Best Actor (2004-2005)
Inside Soap Award for Sexiest Male(2004-2005)
Nominated - British Soap Award for Best Actor (2004-2005)
Nominated - National Television Award for Most Popular Actor (2004-2005)
Nominated - TV Quick and Choice Award for Best Soap Actor (2005)
2006 The Outsiders Nathan Hyde
2007 Comedy Showcase Rich Black 1 episode Plus One
2008 City of Vice Thomas Deacon 1 episode: 1.2
Lark Rise to Candleford Samuel Braby 1 episode: 1.7
2009 The Friday Night Club Ted
Plus One Rich Black 5 part series
Hotel Babylon Sam Franklin Series regular
2010 Agatha Christie's Marple Jason Rudd 1 episode: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
2013 Downton Abbey Green TV Series - Series four
2013-2017 Mount Pleasant Bradley TV series - since series three


  1. Researcha
  2. Dessau, Bruce (24 May 2008). "Life after death for Nigel Harman". London: The Times. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  3. "Cast comings and goings at ‘Downton Abbey’ announced for the British drama’s 4th season - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  4. "Nigel Harman interview". The Frank Skinner Show. 2005. ITV.
  5. "Nigel Harman interview". Parkinson. 2004. BBC. BBC One.
  6. "Nigel Harman interview". Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. 2005. BBC. BBC One.
  7. Nigel Lindsay and Nigel Harman Join West End Company of Shrek the Musical Archived 7 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Dadds, Kimberley (20 February 2012). "Staged to perfection: Kimberley Walsh and Kara Tointon lead the glamour stakes at theatre awards". Daily Mail. London.
  9. London Theatre News, Reviews, Interviews and more | WhatsOnStage
  10. "Nigel Harman cast as Simon Cowell in new X Factor musical by Harry Hill". Daily Mirror. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  11. "'I Can't Sing': Harry Hill reveals name of his X Factor musical". Daily Express. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  12. Bosanquet, Theo (23 May 2014). "Downton's Joanne Froggatt stars in Nigel Harman-directed play Rabbit Hole in West End - Theatre News - 23 May 2014". Awards. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. "Cast comings and goings at 'Downton Abbey' announced for the British drama's 4th season - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. 2 March 2013. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.