Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a Ghanaian-born British actor known for his film, television, theatre, and voice work.
|Alma mater||Guildford School of Acting|
Holdbrook-Smith was born in Accra, Ghana. He grew up in Frimley, Surrey, England, went to school in Frimley, with his mother Tenu, his father Henry and brother Kofi. He was initially frightened of taking up acting due to his family's disapproval. "I was about 15, I thought, ‘I wonder if I could [become an actor]’. I hadn’t really suggested it to anyone. It just didn’t seem allowed. So there was a slow exploration of [acting] and by the time I was 18, I was resolute."
Holdbrook-Smith began his acting career on television in 2002 when he played Orlando Figes in the Judge John Deed episode "Everyone's Child". Since then, he has had roles in TV series such as Little Britain, Star Stories (from 2006 till 2008), Taking the Flak, Sirens, Holby City, Silk, Father Brown, Father Brown, The Last Panthers, Class, Dark Heart and The Split.
His first major theatre lead came in 2005, when he played Ken in Mustapha Matura's Playboy of the West Indies at the Tricycle Theatre. He later starred in their critically acclaimed African-American Season, performing in the European premieres of Walk Hard by Abram Hill, Fabulation by Lynn Nottage and Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson. In interviews he has cited August Wilson’s plays as personal favourites. In 2006 he played Levee In Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, then four years later he appeared as Herald Loomis in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson at the Young Vic Theatre.
He first appeared at the Globe in 2007 in Love’s Labours Lost. Later the same year he performed this Shakespeare play at the National Theatre of Korea, in Seoul. Holdbrook-Smith had his debut at the National Theatre in 2009 and has since starred in four productions there (most notably appearing as Mortimer in Edward II). In 2015 he played Laertes alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre, this play was also broadcast live in movie theatres worldwide as part of National Theatre Live.
In 2016 Holdbrook-Smith could be seen with Benedict Cumberbatch again, this time in the blockbuster Marvel’s Dr Strange. A year later he played the part of Det. Crispus Allen in DC Comics Justice League. The same year he also starred as Warden Walker in the well-known children's film Paddington 2, and as Father Emery in the positively-reviewed horror film Ghost Stories. In 2018, he played the role of Oliver in The Commuter and played Frye/Weasel in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns.
Holdbrook-Smith has also performed in BBC radio dramas, including Judas and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Furthermore Holdbrook-Smith is known for his audiobook narrations, most notably the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch.
|2012||Womack||Dan Tan||Short film|
|2013||The Double||Guard / Doctor|
|2013||10ml I.V.||Karl||Short film|
|2014||Trick or Receipt||Martin||Short film|
|2015||Hamlet||Laertes||Live in theaters|
|2016||Doctor Strange||Physical Therapist|
|2017||Ghost Stories||Father Emery|
|2017||Justice League||Detective Crispus Allen|
|2017||Paddington 2||Warden Walker|
|2018||Mary Poppins Returns||Frye / Weasel (voice)|
|2002||Judge John Deed||Orlando Figes||Episode: "Everyone's Child"|
|2003||Casualty||PC Riddock||Episode: "Never Judge a Book"|
|2003||Absolute Power||Journalist No. 1||Episode: "Burn and Crash"|
|2004||Little Britain||2 episodes|
|2004||Holby City||Lee Holden||Episode: "One More Chance"|
|2005||Family Affairs||Officer Kennedy||1 episode|
|2005||According to Bex||Vox Pops||Recurring|
|2005||Mike Bassett: Manager||Carlton Dawes||Main cast|
|2006||Pulling||Joe's Father||1 episode|
|2006-2008||Star Stories||Various||8 episodes|
|2007||The Bill||Bruno Hammond||Episode: "Code of Silence"|
|2007||The Whistleblowers||Male Nurse||Episode: "Pandemic"|
|2007||Katy Brand's Big Ass Show||1 episode|
|2009||Whatever It Takes||Nifemi||TV Movie|
|2009||Taking the Flak||Joyful Sifuri||Main cast|
|2009||PhoneShop||Graham||Episode: "New Man: Pilot"|
|2011||Holby City||Paul James||2 episodes|
|2012||Silk||Paul McGovern||1 episode|
|2013||Frankie||Max Hall||1 episode|
|2014||Turks & Caicos||Colin Maitlis||TV Movie|
|2014||Crackanory||Commander||Episode: "In Space No One Can Hear You Clean & the Weather Man"|
|2014||Agatha Raisin||Rev. Jez Bloxby||Episode: "The Quiche of Death"|
|2015||Father Brown||Marvin Morris||Episode: "The Invisible Man"|
|2015||Midsomer Murders||Rob Mead||Episode: "The Dagger Club"|
|2015||The Last Panthers||James Davis||Miniseries; main cast|
|2016||Class||Jasper Adeola||Episode: "Nightvisiting"|
|2016||Dark Heart||DS Dave Pulford||1 episode|
|2018||The Split||Glen Peters||Recurring|
- "Dramatic Need". Dramatic Need. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Ositelu, Tola (May 27, 2017). "Dramatic Chameleon: An Interview with Kobna Holdbrook-Smith". Soul Culture. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
- "STAR GUESTS LEAD CHANGE THROUGH THE ARTS CAREERS EVENT AT GSA | GSA - Guildford School of Acting". gsauk.org. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "Alumni: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith". Guilford School of Acting. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
- "Playboy of the West Indies, Tricycle Theatre, London". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Afridiziak.com. "Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Joe Turner's Come and Gone". Afridiziak Theatre News. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- www.kbgroupuk.com. "Hamlet". barbican.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Doctor Strange (2016), retrieved 2018-05-31
- Paddington 2 (2017), retrieved 2018-05-31
- Marshall, Rob (2018-12-25). "Mary Poppins Returns". Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "Episode 1, Judas, 15 Minute Drama - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Saturday Drama - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "Kobna Holdbrook Smith on GoodReads". GoodReads. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
- "Rivers of London audiobook by Ben Aaronovitch - Rakuten Kobo". Rakuten Kobo. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "CAST & CREATIVE - Tina Turner Musical Limited". Tina Turner Musical Limited. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Bamigboye, Baz (2017-11-17). "Ike star is simply the best, says Tina: Singer gives approval to the actor who will play her late ex-husband in musical about her life". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2018-07-22.