Michael Smiley

Michael Smiley (born 1963) is a Northern Irish comedian and actor. He is perhaps best known for his roles in the films Kill List (2011) and The Lobster (2015).

Michael Smiley
Michael Smiley (cropped).jpg
Smiley smiling in 2016
Born1963 (age 57–58)
OccupationComedian & Actor
Spouse(s)Miranda Sawyer

Early lifeEdit

Smiley was born in 1963 in Belfast and grew up in Holywood with an older brother and sister.[1][2] He was raised Catholic.[3]

He moved to London with his first wife in 1983. He began doing stand-up in 1993, after accepting a bet at an open-mic night.[2] He had worked as a cycle courier, like his character in Spaced, and as an acid house DJ.[4]


He became well known for his role as Tyres O'Flaherty, the bicycle riding raver, in two episodes of the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, and for his appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Melbourne Comedy Festival.[4] He played Mac, a former member of the British Army's Parachute Regiment in the 2008 horror film Outpost and as a zombie in Shaun of the Dead.[citation needed]

In 2003, he guest starred in the Doctor Who audio drama Creatures of Beauty. In 2004 he appeared in season 2, episode 4 of Hustle as Max the forger.[5] He also was a small character in episode 2 "The Model" of 15 Storeys High.[citation needed]

He has appeared in all three series of The Maltby Collection on Radio 4 as Des Wainwright, an eccentric security guard who keeps repeating himself and reminding people he was in the SAS. He plays the part of Benny "Deadhead" Silver in the BBC drama series Luther. In 2010, he had a major role in the film Burke & Hare alongside his Spaced co-stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes.

In 2011, he starred in British horror film Kill List. The film received critical acclaim, and earned him the "Best Supporting Actor" Award at the 2011 British Independent Film Awards.[6]

In 2013, he has appeared in an episode of BBC One's Ripper Street as George Lusk, and the critically acclaimed Channel 4 shows Utopia as Detective Reynolds and Black Mirror as Baxter.[citation needed] He also starred in A Field in England as the main antagonist, the alchemist O'Neill. He also played Roddy in Father Figure. In November 2013 he appeared in the third episode of the BBC Two Mitchell and Webb comedy Ambassadors as Mr Jackson. In 2014, he played Micky Murray in BBC Four's The Life of Rock with Brian Pern.[7]

To coincide with the opening stages of the Giro d'Italia in May 2014, Michael Smiley:Something to Ride Home About was a travelog programme for BBC Northern Ireland, directed by George Kane, featuring Smiley cycling around Northern Ireland and meeting local people.[8][9][10] A second series was commissioned for 2015.[8]

In 2014 Smiley played Colonel Morgan Blue in the Doctor Who episode "Into the Dalek".[11]

In 2013, Smiley also starred in the Netflix show Black Mirror as Baxter in “White Bear”. He also had a major role in British crime series Luther (TV series) acting as “Deadhead” Benny Silver from 2010 until 2019.

In 2019, Smiley co-starred with Elijah Wood and Martin Donovan in the film Come to Daddy directed by Ant Timpson.[12]

In 2020, he starred in Dead Still, a 6-part Irish-Canadian television drama series, alongside Eileen O'Higgins & Kerr Logan. It premiered on May 18, 2020 on Acorn TV and May 15, 2020 Citytv.[13] The series is a co-production between Ireland's Deadpan Pictures and Canada's Shaftesbury Films and is written by John Morton, and directed by Imogen Murphy and Craig David Wallace.[14][15][16]

Personal lifeEdit

Smiley has been married twice and has four children: two with his first wife and childhood sweetheart, Merilees, and two with his second wife, journalist/broadcaster Miranda Sawyer.[2] He resides near Brockwell Park in Herne Hill, London.[17]

He shared a flat with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in the 1990s.[18] He is an avid cyclist.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
1989 The Heist Detective Television film; uncredited
2000 Burnside Matthew Hutchins Episode: "Back with a Vengeance: Part 1"
1999-2001 Spaced Tyres O'Flaherty 2 episodes
2000-2002 Time Gentlemen Please Martin 3 episodes
2002 15 Storeys High Insistent Irish visitor Episode: "The Model"
2004 Murder Prevention DC Maurice Gibney 4 episodes
2005 Bleak House Phil Squod 8 episodes
2005 Hustle Max Episode: "Missions"
2005 ShakespeaRe-Told Peter Episode: "Much Ado About Nothing"
2005 Rose and Maloney DS Mallam Episode: "Rise & Fall"
2007 In the Spider's Web Phil Television film
2007 Y Pris Captain Episode: "Episode #1.3"
2007 Nearly Famous Danny Episode: "Episode #1.5"
2008 The Wrong Door 2 episodes
2008 HolbyBlue Brendan Duffy Episode: "Episode #2.10"
2008 Wire in the Blood Dr. Liam Kerwin 7 episodes
2009 Law & Order: UK Danny Doyle Episode: "Unsafe"
2010 One Night in Emergency Mortuary Attendant Television film
2010-2019 Luther Benny Silver 16 episodes
2011 Stolen Sean Television film
2012 Coming Up Ricky Episode: "Spoof or Die"
2012 Good Cop Tom Lomax Episode: "Episode Two"
2012 New Tricks Tinker Episode: "Part of a Whole"
2013 Ripper Street George Lusk Episode: "In My Protection"
2013 Utopia Detective Reynolds Episode: "Episode 1"
2013 Black Mirror Baxter Episode: "White Bear"
2013 Father Figure Roddy 6 episodes
2013 Ambassadors Mr Jackson Episode: "The Tazbek Spring"
2013-2014 Monumental Self
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Micky Murray 2 episodes
2014 Doctor Who Colonel Morgan Blue Episode: "Into the Dalek"
2014 Edge of Heaven Snowy 2 episodes
2014-2015 Michael Smiley: Something to Ride Home About Self
2015 Comedy Feeds Les Episode: "Fishbowl"
2016 The Aliens Antoine Berry 5 episodes
2016 Murder Whitmore Harris Episode: "The Big Bang"
2020 Dead Still Brock Blennerhasset Series lead
2021 Bloodlands Dinger 4 episodes
2021 Intergalactic Professor Hague Blake 1 episode


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Shaun of the Dead Zombie Tyres O’Flaherty Uncredited
2006 Breaking and Entering Thaddeus Uncredited
2006 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Porter
2006 Land of the Blind Thorne's Lieutenant
2008 Outpost McKay
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl Physician
2008 Terra Firma Quentin Short film
2009 Down Terrace Pringle
2009 Believe Lewis Short film
2010 Burke & Hare Patterson
2011 Kill List Gal
2011 Big Fat Gypsy Gangster Mad Mick
2012 Shell Hugh
2012 The ABCs of Death Father Tom Segment: ""U Is for Unearthed"
2013 For Those in Peril Frank
2013 A Field in England O'Neil
2013 Svengali Irish Pierre
2013 We Are the Freaks Killer Colin
2013 The World's End Reverend Green
2014 Glassland Jim
2014 Black Sea Reynolds
2015 The Hallow Garda Davey
2015 The Lobster Loner Swimmer
2015 Orthodox Shannon
2015 My Name is Emily Robert
2015 Tank 432 Capper
2016 Free Fire Frank
2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Dr. Cornelius Evazan
2017 Madame David
2017 Jawbone Eddie
2018 Birthmarked Gertz
2018 The Nun Priest
2019 Come to Daddy Jethro
2019 Rialto Noel
2021 Censor Doug Smart
2021 Gunpowder Milkshake Dr. Ricky


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Eye Witness BBC Radio 3
2007-2009 The Maltby Collection Des Wainwright BBC Radio 4


  1. ^ "BBC One - Monumental - Michael Simley". BBC One. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Michael Smiley: 'I'm an overnight success after 20 years!'". Belfast Telegraph. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  3. ^ Nolan, Larissa. "Michael Smiley: My Holywood love story had hardship and a happy ending". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2021-06-04.
  4. ^ a b "Living the life of Smiley". BBC News. 10 August 1998. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Hustle - what time is it on TV? Episode 4 Series 2 cast list and preview". RadioTimes. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  6. ^ Exley, Gemma (5 December 2012). "British Independent Film Awards 2011: Fassbender, Ramsey & Sophie from Peep Show win". Holy Moly. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  7. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03v0svc
  8. ^ a b "'Michael Smiley: Something To Ride Home About' Gets Second Series". Irish Film and Television Network. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  9. ^ Jarlath Regan (14 October 2013). "Michael Smiley". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (7 ed.). SoundCloud. Archived from the original on 15 December 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  10. ^ Jarlath Regan (11 June 2014). "George Kane". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (56 ed.). SoundCloud. Archived from the original on 15 December 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  11. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (30 August 2014). "Into the Dalek ****". Radio Times. London, UK. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  12. ^ Come to Daddy Review by Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, February 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Yeo, Debra (May 15, 2020). "He shoots dead people: Acorn TV's delightful 'Dead Still' blends the macabre art of post-mortem photography with period mystery". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  14. ^ Clarke, Stewart (May 30, 2020). "Acorn TV, Ireland's RTE Team for Morbidly Comic Drama 'Dead Still'". Variety. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  15. ^ Keller, Joel (May 18, 2020). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Dead Still' On Acorn TV, Where A Memorial Photographer Looks Into Murders In Victorian Dublin". Decider. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  16. ^ Starr, Michael (May 19, 2020). "'Dead Still' gives look into creepy world of Victorian-era death photography". The New York Post. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  17. ^ Tyler, Simon (7 June 2013). "Miranda Sawyer Interview". Not a Bad Dad. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  18. ^ Marsh, Hannah. "Welcome to the bonkers world of Michael Smiley". The Echo. Basildon. Retrieved 18 August 2013.

External linksEdit