Bartholomew was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and brought up in Gosport. In television Bartholomew's work has ranged from The Darling Buds of May, Rumpole of the Bailey, Minder, and more recently, Making Waves, Spooks and Marcella.
On stage he has been in productions such as A Man for All Seasons at the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham, Mirandolina and Assassins. In 2005 he was in the acclaimed production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee in the starring role of George at the Liverpool Playhouse and in that same year also at the playhouse he appeared in Alan Ayckbourn's Christmas comedy Season's Greetings. At the Menier Chocolate Factory in London he appeared in the new musical Take Flight in 2007. In 2010 he was well received as Eliza Doolittle's father in the Royal Exchange's production of Pygmalion. In 2011 in Mogadishu by Vivienne Franzmann at the Royal Exchange in Manchester and then at the Lyric Theatre in London.
In 2017 he recorded two songs for the album Wit & Whimsy - Songs by Alexander S. Bermange (one solo and one featuring all of the album's 23 artists), which reached No. 1 in the iTunes comedy album chart.
Bartholomew is married to theatre director Loveday Ingram. Their first child was born in March 2005 and their younger born on a later date of December 2007.
This section lists events whose chronological order is ambiguous, backward, or otherwise incorrect.May 2020)(
|2018−||Coronation Street||Geoff Metcalfe||ITV||Series regular|
|2016||New Blood||Tom Robinson||BBC|
|2016||Maigret||The Baron||ITV||Maigret Sets a Trap|
|2011||South Riding||Gaius Drew||BBC||3 part mini series|
|2010||Accused||Stephen Sullivan||BBC||Helen's Story|
|2010||Foyle's War||Dillon||ITV/Greenlit Productions||The Hide|
|2008||Heartbeat||Russell Bryant||ITV/Yorkshire Television||You Never Can Tell|
|2008||New Tricks||Sam Tallis||BBC||Spare Parts|
|2008||HolbyBlue||Keith Sparrow||BBC||Episode 9, Series 2|
|2007||Thieves Like Us||Sergent Atwell||BBC Three||The Jackets Job|
|2006||Spooks||Dainiel Wise||BBC||Series 5, Episode 6 and 7|
|2005||Open Wide||Ray||ITV/Thames Television||TV Movie|
|2005||New Tricks||Tallis||BBC||Series 2, Episode 1|
|2004||Making Waves||Lt. Cdr. William Lewis||ITV/Carlton Television|
|2004||William and Mary||Housing Inspector||ITV/Meridian Television||Episode 4, Series 2|
|2003||The Bill||Alfred 'Manny' Manola||ITV/Thames Television/Central Independent Television||085|
|2000–2001||Without Motive||Ronnie Stocks||ITV/HTV|
|1999||Casualty||Mick Milburn||BBC||Benny and the Vets|
|1998||The Ruth Rendell Mysteries||Stanley Trotter||ITV/Meridian Television||Road Rage|
|1997||Wycliffe||Mick Sennan||ITV/HTV||Close to Home|
|1996||Is It Legal?||Terry Beath||ITV/Carlton Television||Office Party|
|1994||Jo Brand Through the Cakehole||Himself||Channel 4||Jo Brand Through the Christmas Cakehole|
|1993||Love Hurts||D.I. Payne||BBC||If the Cap Fits|
|1991||The Darling Buds of May||Tommy Mason||ITV/Yorkshire Television||Christmas is Coming|
|1984||Minder||Keith Wendell||ITV/Thames Television||Get Daley|
|1983||The Professionals||Miller||ITV/LWT||Cry Wolf|
|1982||Crown Court||James MaccPherson||ITV/Granada Television||The Fiddling Connection|
|1979||Rumpole of the Bailey||Mr Simmonds||ITV/Thames Television||Rumpole and the Fascist Beast|
His work in the theatre includes: -
- Truffaldino, The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. Directed by Martin Duncan at the Richmond Theatre (1982)
- Deemer,Winding the Ball by Alex Finlayson. World premiere directed by Greg Hersov at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1989)
- Joseph Surface,The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1990)
- Oliver,Doctor Heart by Peter Muller. British premiere directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1991)
- The Fool, King Lear. Directed by Greg Hersov at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1999)
- George, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee at the Liverpool Playhouse (2005)
- Charles Guiteau, Assassins by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by Nicolai Forster at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (2006)
- Count Albafiorita,Mirandolina by Goldoni. Directed by Jonathon Munby at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (2006)
- George Putnam, Take Flight by David Shire and Richard Maltby. Directed by Sam Buntrock at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2007)
- Lickcheese, Widowers' Houses by George Bernard Shaw. Directed by Greg Hersov at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (2009)
- Horace Vandergelder, Hello Dolly. Directed by Timothy Sheader at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park(2009)
- Paul Hammond, The Power of Yes by David Hare. Directed by Angus Jackson at the Royal National Theatre (2009)
- Alfred Doolttle, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. Directed by Greg Hersov at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (2010)
- Chris, Mogadishu by Vivienne Franzmann. World premiere directed by Matthew Dunster at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (2011)
- Touchstone,As You Like It. Directed by Greg Hersov at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (2011)
- Arturo Ui,The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Directed by Walter Meierjohann at the Nottingham Playhouse (2011)
- Mogadishu "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Coronation Street's Ian Bartholomew always knew Geoff Metcalfe was a villain". Digital Spy. 28 June 2019.
- Hughes, Johnathon (30 March 2018). "Coronation Street: newcomer revealed as Tim Metcalfe's dad". Radio Times. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
- "Coronation Street cast: Who plays Geoff Metcalfe? Who is actor Ian Bartholomew?". Express UK. 5 July 2019.