Tom Burke (actor)

Tom Burke (born 30 June 1981) is an English actor. He is best known for his role as Athos in the BBC series The Musketeers (2014–2016), as Dolokhov in the BBC literary-adaptation miniseries War & Peace and most recently for his role as the title character Cormoran Strike in the BBC series Strike (2017).

Tom Burke
Born (1981-06-30) 30 June 1981
London, England
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1999–present
RelativesArthur Calder-Marshall (grandfather)

Early life

Tom Burke was born in London and grew up in Kent.[1] His parents, David Burke and Anna Calder-Marshall, are also actors, as were his godparents, Alan Rickman and Bridget Turner.[2] His maternal grandparents were writers Arthur Calder-Marshall and Ara Calder-Marshall. Burke was born with a cleft lip and had reconstructive surgery.[3]

Burke always wanted to become an actor and attended the National Youth Theatre and the Young Arden Theatre in Faversham as well as Box Clever Theatre Company performing at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury,[1] besides participating in the plays his parents staged in their hometown.[2]

As a child, Burke was diagnosed with dyslexia[2] and struggled academically. He left school before his A-levels because he "couldn't stand the idea of that" and thought he "wouldn't survive it".[4] As soon as he left school at 17, he wrote to an acting agency and got the first role he ever auditioned for.[4] He attended dance school before being accepted at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London when he was 18.[5]


Burke's first role was as Roland in 1999's Dragonheart: A New Beginning, a direct-to-video sequel of the 1996 film Dragonheart. In that year he appeared in an episode of the series Dangerfield and the television movie All the King's Men. After graduating from RADA, he started working steadily in television, film and theatre.


His first television part after drama school was Syd in the Paul Abbott thriller series State of Play, starring John Simm, Bill Nighy and James McAvoy. In 2004 he played Lee in TV film Bella and the Boys. In 2005 he played the 20-year-old version of Giacomo Casanova's son, Giac, in the television adaptation of Casanova, starring David Tennant and Peter O'Toole.[6]

In 2006 he played Dr. John Seward in the TV film Dracula. In 2007 he played Napoleon Bonaparte in an episode of BBC's docudrama Heroes and Villains and had a small part as a book publisher in the satirical drama The Trial of Tony Blair. In 2009 he played Lieutenant Race in an episode of the 12th series of Agatha Christie's Poirot. In 2011 he played Bentley Drummle in two episodes of BBC's adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. In 2012 he became a regular cast member in the second series of BBC Two's The Hour playing the part of journalist Bill Kendall. Since January 2014 he has played Athos on the BBC One series, The Musketeers, an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers.[6] He also plays Cormoran Strike in the BBC miniseries Strike based on J.K. Rowling's detective novels.[7][8][9]


In 2004 he had his first cinema part in The Libertine. In 2007 he played an aspiring filmmaker who ends up directing a porn film in the comedy I Want Candy. In 2008 he played Bluey in Donkey Punch, a horror thriller film which debuted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. In 2009 he played Geoff Goddard in Telstar: The Joe Meek Story. In the same year he had a small part in Stephen Frears' Chéri. In 2010 he played Davy in Third Star, a drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch, JJ Feild and Adam Robertson which follows a trip four friends, one of them terminally ill, make to Barafundle Bay in Wales.[6]

In 2012 he played Mark in Cleanskin. In 2013 he played Billy, the older brother of Ryan Gosling's character in Only God Forgives, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. In the same year he had a supporting role in the Ralph Fiennes-directed film The Invisible Woman.[6]


As a theatre actor, Burke has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has appeared in plays at Shakespeare's Globe, playing Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in 2004; at the Old Vic in Noël Coward's Design for Living opposite Andrew Scott and Lisa Dillon in 2010; and at the Almeida Theatre playing Greg in reasons to be pretty in 2011. In 2002 he played Hamlet in Howard Barker's Gertrude – The Cry, a reworking of Shakespeare's Hamlet which focuses on the character of Gertrude, the protagonist's mother.[10]

In 2006 he worked with Ian McKellen in the play The Cut. In 2008 he played Adolph in Creditors at the Donmar Warehouse. Actor Alan Rickman, Burke's godfather, staged the play which earned Burke an Ian Charleson Award. The play subsequently premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in 2010. In 2012 he played Louis Dubedat in The Doctor's Dilemma at the National Theatre.[11]



Year Film Role Notes
2000 Dragonheart: A New Beginning Roland
2003 The Burl Connor
2004 Squaddie Andy
2005 The Libertine Vaughan
2006 The Enlightenment Daniel Clay
2007 I Want Candy John 'Baggy' Bagley
Supermarket Sam Sam
The Collectors Edgar
2008 Donkey Punch Bluey
2009 Telstar Geoff Goddard
Chéri Vicomte Desmond
Death in Charge Uncle Sean
Roar Mick
2010 The Kid Mr. Hayes
Third Star Davy
Look, Stranger
2012 An Enemy to Die For Terrence
Cleanskin Mark
2013 Only God Forgives Billy
The Invisible Woman Mr. George Wharton Robinson
2014 The Hooligan Factory Bullet
2019 The Souvenir Anthony
2020 Mank Orson Welles Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Dangerfield Gavin Kirkdale Episode #6.11 "Something Personal"
All the King's Men Private Chad Batterbee Television film
2003 State of Play Syd Episodes #1.3–1.6
The Young Visiters Horace
POW Robbie Crane Episode #1.3
2004 Bella and the Boys Lee
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Julian Britton Episode #3.1 "In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"
2005 Casanova Giac, aged 20 Episode #1.3
The Brief Dan Ottway Episode #2.2
Jericho Edward Wellesley Episode #1.1 "A Pair of Ragged Claws"
All About George Paul Episodes #1.2–1.6
2006 Number 13 Edward Jenkins Short
Dracula Dr. John Seward Television film
2007 The Trial of Tony Blair Book Publisher
Heroes and Villains Napoleon Bonaparte Episode #1.1 "Napoleon"
2008 In Love with Barbara Ronald Cartland Television film
2009 Agatha Christie's Poirot Lieutenant Colin Race Episode #12.1 "The Clocks"
2011 Great Expectations Bentley Drummle Episodes #1.2–1.3
2012 The Hour Bill Kendall Episodes #2.1–2.6
2013 Heading Out Ben Episode #1.6
2013–2014 Utopia Philip Carvel Episode #2.1, 2.5
2014–2016 The Musketeers Athos Main role
2016 War & Peace Fedor Dolokhov Television miniseries
2017–present Strike Cormoran Strike Main role


Year Title Role Location Notes
2002 Gertrude – The Cry Hamlet Riverside Studios
2003 The Wax King (Henry VI, Part 3) Lord Clifford The Dreaming Will Initiative part of the documentary film How do You Know My Daughter?
Fragile Land Fidel Hampstead Theatre
The Monument Stetko Finborough Theatre
2004 Romeo and Juliet Romeo Shakespeare's Globe [13]
2005 Macbeth Malcolm Almeida Theatre
The Incarcerator Liddle Old Red Lion Theatre
2006 The Cut Stephen Donmar Warehouse [14]
2007 Scenes from an Execution Carpeta Hackney Empire [15]
Glass Eels Kenneth Hampstead Theatre [16][17]
Don Juan Comes Back From the War Don Juan Belgrade Theatre
2008 I'll Be The Devil Dermot Tricycle Theatre
Excerpt from The Poisoned Atmosphere Soho Studio Director
Creditors Adolph Donmar Warehouse
2009 Restoration Robert Merivel Salisbury Playhouse
2010 Design for Living Otto The Old Vic [18]
2011 reasons to be pretty Greg Almeida Theatre [19][20][21]
2012 The Doctor's Dilemma Louis Dubedat National Theatre [22][23][24]
2016 Reasons to be Happy Greg Hampstead Theatre
Deep Blue Sea Freddie Page National Theatre [25]
2019 Rosmersholm Johannes Rosmer Duke of York's Theatre [26]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Work Result
2008 Ian Charleson Award Creditors at Donmar Warehouse Won[27]
2019 British Independent Film Award for Best Actor The Souvenir Pending[28]


  1. "At Home with Tom Burke", The English Home, April 2014 edition; accessed 28 March 2015.
  2. Scott, Danny (2 March 2014). "Little did I know my boy would become a Musketeer", The Sunday Times; retrieved 1 April 2014.
  3. Cartwright, Gemma (30 September 2017), Alan Rickman Was His Godfather, and 9 More Things You Need to Know About Tom Burke, PopSugar, retrieved 30 June 2019
  4. Bennett, Emily. "The Creditors Are Coming: Actor Tom Burke on Blending Method, Technique & Madness",; retrieved 1 April 2014.
  5. Tom Burke profile,; retrieved 1 April 2014.
  6. Tom Burke on IMDb
  7. Sommers, Kat. "First Look: Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger in 'Cormoran Strike'". BBC America. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  8. Furness, Hannah (7 September 2016). "Confirmed: Tom Burke to play Cormoran Strike in BBC's JK Rowling dramas". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  9. "Tom Burke cast in JK Rowling TV drama". 7 September 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  10. "Gertrude – The Cry, Riverside Studios, London". The Independent. 30 October 2002. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  11. Billington, Michael (25 July 2012). "The Doctor's Dilemma – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  12. "Tom Burke". IMDb. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  13. "Romeo and Juliet". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  14. "Theatre - The Cut". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  15. "Scenes from an Execution". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  16. "Theatre Review - Glass Eels". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  17. Billington, Michael (10 July 2007). "Theatre review: Glass Eels / Hampstead Theatre, London". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  18. "Design For Living, Old Vic Theatre - The Arts Desk". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  19. "Reasons To Be Pretty". Almeida Theatre. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  20. Billington, Michael (18 November 2011). "Reasons to be Pretty – review". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  21. "The Stage - Reasons To Be Pretty". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  22. "The Stage Review > The Doctor's Dilemma". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  23. Auld, Tim (6 August 2012). "The Doctor's Dilemma, at National Theatre, Seven magazine review". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  24. Billington, Michael (25 July 2012). "The Doctor's Dilemma – review". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  25. Billington, Michael (9 June 2016). "The Deep Blue Sea review – Helen McCrory blazes in passionate revival".
  26. Wood, Alex (1 February 2019). "Hayley Atwell and Tom Burke to star in Ibsen's Rosmersholm in the West End". WhatsOnStage.
  27. Groom, Holly. "Tom Burke scoops Ian Charleson award". The Sunday Times. 17 May 2009.
  28. Dalton, Ben. "‘The Personal History Of David Copperfield’, ‘Wild Rose’ head 2019 BIFA nominations". Screen Daily. 30 October 2019.
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