Neil Anthony Morrissey MBE (born 4 July 1962) is an English actor, voice actor, singer and businessman. He is known for his role as Tony in Men Behaving Badly. Other notable acting roles include Deputy Head Eddie Lawson in the BBC One school-based drama series Waterloo Road, Nigel Morton in Line of Duty, and Rocky in Boon. Morrissey also provides the voice of many cartoon characters, including Bob, Roley, Scrufty, Lofty, Mr. Angelo Sabatini, Mr. Fothergill and Farmer Pickles in the original UK version of Bob the Builder.
Neil Anthony Morrissey
4 July 1962
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor, singer, businessman|
(m. 1987; div. 1991)
Morrissey was born in Stafford, the third of four sons of Irish parents who were both psychiatric nurses. He and his youngest brother Stephen spent much of their childhood in separate foster homes, Morrissey spending most of his time at Penkhull Children's Home, under the care of Margaret Cartlidge.
He attended Thistley Hough High School, in Penkhull, where he discovered a love for acting through the encouragement of teacher Sheila Steele. He studied for his A-levels at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College. It was there that he realised that his time in care would end at the end of his first year, aged 17, with the bleak prospect of a move to a working boys hostel that could end his academic and dramatic career. A solution was found through the family of his friend, Mark Langston, who fostered Neil until the summer of his 18th birthday.
Morrissey had developed his skills and reputation as an actor through his teenage years at Stoke Schools Theatre, Stoke Repertory Theatre and Stoke Original Theatre, performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1979. His application to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama resulted in an unconditional offer, which paved the way for the next steps in his theatrical growth. Arriving with no educational grant and no living funds, he was helped by the school to obtain an educational grant, and he 'sofa-surfed' for his first year with friends. During this time he and a fellow student started a street theatre act, which gained them an agent, and hence the required 40 hours of bookings to gain an Equity card.
Offered the leading role as Robin Hood in The Theatre Chipping Norton's 1982 pantomime, Morrissey agreed to leave the Guildhall School in the first term of his third year. He quickly paid off his student debts by landing parts in film and theatre productions. In 1984, Morrissey played Able Seaman Matthew Quintal in The Bounty alongside Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier. In the same year, he also appeared in episode 5 (of series 5) of the police drama Juliet Bravo, shown on BBC1.
Morrissey shot to fame in the mid-1980s as dim biker Rocky in the ITV drama series Boon. In 1990, he played the lead role of Noddy in the British spoof horror film I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, which involved many of the actors from Boon.
His role as Tony in Men Behaving Badly was created to replace the character of Dermot after Harry Enfield's departure from the series. The series became one of the most popular UK sitcoms of the 1990s and turned Morrissey into a national star and a target for the tabloid newspapers. His ongoing romance storyline with co-star Leslie Ash led to the pair appearing in several advertisements for Homebase. In 1997, he starred in the Comedy Premiere The Chest and in 1998 two TV productions: the one-off My Summer with Des for the BBC and The Vanishing Man for ITV.
Morrissey also starred in two-part TV comedy drama released on 23 April 2000 ( traditionally William Shakespeare's birthday), Happy Birthday, Shakespeare, in which he portrayed a coach driver. One of his colleagues (played by Amanda Holden) was the object of his desire.
Morrissey also starred in the John Godber film about rugby league Up 'n' Under and voiced several characters in the children's television series Bob the Builder, including the lead character, between 1998 and 2012. During his voice acting role, he achieved two UK number 1 singles, with "Can We Fix It?" (which was the 2000 UK Christmas No 1), and "Mambo No 5" in 2001. After the original series ended, he later provided the narration for Morph (in recent years) and Maisy.
In 2007, he appeared in British TV show Skins as the father of Cassie and made a guest appearance in Neighbours as a priest, remarrying long term characters Susan (Jackie Woodburne) and Karl (Alan Fletcher) on a boat on the River Thames. On 11 October 2007, he made his first appearance in the BBC One school-based drama series, Waterloo Road as new deputy headteacher, Eddie Lawson. Taking the role to pay for his business problems, Morrissey was in this role for two series stating later that he left due to the poor quality of the scripts, making his final appearance in May 2009.
In August 2009, he promoted a national tour of the play Rain Man. During the 2009 Christmas season he played the role of Buttons in the Pantomime Cinderella at The Assembly Rooms in Derby. By popular demand, Morrissey returned to the stage in the pantomime Aladdin playing the character of Wishey-Washey at The Assembly Rooms in Derby.
In 2015, he played a character called Keith, who is Johnny (Joe Maw) and Tee's (Mia McKenna Bruce) villainous mother's former boyfriend, in the CBBC sitcom The Dumping Ground, for one episode. In December 2015, Morrissey starred in BBC Two's comedy drama A Gert Lush Christmas, playing the father of Russell Howard's character.
In 2016, he joined the cast of Grantchester for the second series. He played the role of Harding Redmond. Also in 2016, he took part in the second series of ITV's reality series Bear Grylls: Mission Survive.
His other West End theatre work includes Speed, Robin Hood, The Daughter In-Law and his critically acclaimed West End performance in A Passionate Woman. In 2005 Morrissey performed in Victoria Wood's musical adaptation of Acorn Antiques alongside Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston and Josie Lawrence. Morrissey took over the role of Nathan Detroit from Nigel Lindsay in the London revival of Guys and Dolls from March to June 2006.
On 1 April 2006, a BBC Three spoof programme titled Neil Morrissey's Secret documented sides of Morrissey's life that were previously unknown to the world at large. It alleged he has a house, wife and two children in Jordan as well as a degree in Botany for which he had studied for 20 years. These studies were integral to his motivation to find a breakthrough in anti-ageing. According to the documentary he has invented a cream called 'The Essence' which contains extracts of a plant found only in a remote Jordanian village. In the documentary the cream's acolytes include celebrities such as Jane Seymour, Gloria Hunniford and Philippa Forrester. The show followed Morrissey as he carried out his research which involved years of study and crossing continents, funded by his lucrative acting career.
Ultimately Morrissey launches the cream only to have his friends concerned for his health, his laboratory broken into, and a trip to Jordan where he finds that the villagers whose trust he had gained through time spent with them, have abandoned their homes because of the fall-out of his discovery. This hoax was launched on 1 April and despite the suspicions caused by this date as April Fool's Day, it still managed to convince some people that it was true.
Morrissey's love of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas led him to buy up numerous properties in the village of Laugharne, including the Hurst Hotel, the New Three Mariners pub and Brown's Hotel in April 2004 for £670,000. In October 2006, it was announced that the business had put Brown's Hotel on the market to finance the redevelopment of the Hurst Hotel, and the expansion of the private members' club, Hurst House in Covent Garden, London.
In July 2008, with delays encountered on the construction of Hurst House-at-the-Mill, a luxury hotel in Hertfordshire due to open in 2009, the Laugharne-based assets of the Hurst House group went into a packaged administration. The assets were subsequently bought by new investors backing Roberts, resulting in the end of Morrissey's association with Laugharne.
Morrissey part owned the lease on the Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn in Marton, North Yorkshire. From this base came the Morrissey Fox range of real ale, developed by Morrissey and chef Richard Fox which is still in production. In June 2009, it was reported that his Welsh pub had failed and the lease to Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn was handed back to the owner after just 18 months on 22 October 2009.
Morrissey avoided bankruptcy over his failed business ventures but entered an IVA. Morrissey now owns a chain of pubs in Staffordshire, including The Plume of Feathers in Barlaston, and more recently The Old Bramshall Inn in Bramshall. The latter opened its doors as a Neil Morrissey pub on 28 June 2018, an event which Morrissey attended.
Morrissey married Amanda Noar in 1987 after meeting her when she guested in an episode of Boon; the couple have a son born in 1989. The couple divorced in 1991. He then became engaged to actress Elizabeth Carling, whom he had first met in 1989, when she too was working on Boon. They parted on good terms, and she later guest starred alongside him on Men Behaving Badly. His subsequent affairs have been well documented by the British tabloids, including dating Rachel Weisz after starring together in My Summer with Des in 1998. They lived together at his flat in Crouch End, north London.
Morrissey has numerous tattoos. According to one version of their origin, he applied them himself with needles and Indian ink. On his left arm is his first name and a blob which was going to be his initials before it became infected, causing him to require a tetanus jab. On his right is a squiggle which is a reversed version of The Saint logo. Morrissey himself says the tattoos were done by other boys at the children's home. The boys there apparently saw that he did not have a tattoo and so gave him the option of a tattoo or a beating. He decided on the tattoo and now regrets not taking the other option.
In 2006, Morrissey was awarded an honorary degree from Staffordshire University. He is a supporter of Crystal Palace FC. A fan of real ale, in 2011 he produced a real ale with the club called Palace Ale.
He was honoured Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2020 New Year Honours for his services to television.
|1984||The Bounty||Seaman Matthew Quintal||Film debut|
|1990||I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle||Noddy, aka Nick Oddie|
|1992||The Ballad of Kid Divine: The Cockney Cowboy||Cass Malone|
|1993||Liberation: Captive 2||Video game (voice only)|
|1994||Staggered||Jeff the Videographer|
|1995||Trafford Tanzi||Dean Rebel||TV movie|
|1996||The Vanishing Man||Nick Cameron||TV movie|
|Roger Roger||Phil||TV movie|
|1997||The Chest||John Croft||TV movie|
|1998||Jack and the Beanstalk||Jack||TV movie|
|Up 'n' Under||Steve|
|My Summer with Des||Martin||TV movie|
|1999||Hunting Venus||Charlotte||TV movie|
|The Flint Street Nativity||Adrian Atherton/Wise Man||TV movie|
|The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything||Director||TV movie|
|2000||Happy Birthday Shakespeare||Will Green||TV movie|
|2001||Bob the Builder: A Christmas to Remember||Bob (UK)/ Lofty (UK)/ Farmer Pickles (UK)||Direct-to-video animated film (voice only)|
|Another World||Captain Ronald Brimstone||Animated film (voice only)|
|2003||Bob the Builder: The Knights of Can-A-Lot||Bob (UK) Lofty (UK)/ Farmer Pickles (UK)||Animated TV movie (voice only)|
|2004||Monkey Trousers||Various roles|
|Bob the Builder: The Big Dino Dig||Bob (UK)/ Lofty (UK)/ Farmer Pickles (UK)||Direct-to-video animated film (voice only)|
|2005||The Adventures of William Shakespeare||Richard III|
|2006||Acorn Antiques: The Musical||John/Tony||Direct-to-video film|
|Curious George||Police Officer|
|2010||Inn Mates||Brian||TV movie|
|2011||The Adventures of William Shakespeare Vol. 2||Richard III|
|Care for Kids||Himself|
|2012||Run for Your Wife||Gary|
|2015||A Gert Lush Christmas||Dave Colman||TV movie|
|1984||Juliet Bravo||Oliver||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 5 "No Peace"|
|1985||Roll Over Beethoven||Youth||Guest appearance – 1 episode|
|Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense||Policeman||Guest appearance – 1 episode; "Paint Me A Murder"|
|Travellers by Night||Flick||Miniseries – recurring role|
|1986||C.A.T.S. Eyes||Trevor||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 2|
|1987||Pulaski||Tarquin Taylor||Guest appearance – 1 episode; "The Price of Fame"|
|1987–95||Boon||Rocky Cassidy||Recurring role|
|1992–99||Men Behaving Badly||Tony Smart||Leading role|
|1992||Cluedo||Gordon Ferrar||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 3|
|1993||Comedy Playhouse||Danny||Guest appearance – 1 episode; "Stuck on You"|
|The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer||Himself||Guest appearance – 1 episode; "Food and Drink"|
|1995||The Morph Files||Narrator||Recurring role (voice only)|
|Noel's House Party||Himself||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 3|
|1997||Brambly Hedge||Wilfred Toadflax||2 episodes (voice only)|
|1997||Midsomer Murders ||Mitch McAllister|
|1996–1997||Soul Music||Mort||Recurring role – 7 episodes (voice only)|
|1998||The Vanishing Man||Nick Cameron||Recurring role|
|1998–2012||Bob the Builder||Bob (UK)/ Roley (UK)/ Lofty (UK)/ Farmer Pickles (UK)||Leading role (voice only)|
|1999||Maisy||Narrator (British Version)||(voice only)|
|2001||Look and Read||Zzaap||Guest appearance – 1 episode (voice only)|
|2002||Paradise Heights||Charlie Eustace||Recurring role|
|2003||Murder in Mind||Stephen Kite||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 3|
|The Eustace Bros.||Charlie Eustace||Recurring role|
|2004||Unsolved History||Narrator||Guest appearance – 1 episode; "Aztecs: Temple of Blood"|
|Carrie & Barry||Barry||Miniseries – recurring role|
|2005||Bob the Builder: Project Build It||Bob (UK)/ Lofty (UK)/ Farmer Pickles (UK)||Leading role (voice only)|
|2007||Skins||Marcus Ainsworth||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 1|
|Neighbours||Vicar||Guest appearance – 1 episode; "Births, Deaths and Marriages"|
|2007–2009||Waterloo Road||Eddie Lawson||Series regular|
|2011||Supersize Grime||Narrator||Recurring role|
|Inspector George Gently||Tony Hexton||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 4|
|2012–2016||Line of Duty||DC Nigel Morton||7 episodes|
|2012||Me and Mrs Jones||Jason||6 episodes|
|2013||Skins Pure||Marcus Ainsworth||2 episodes|
|2014||Comedy Playhouse||Jez||Guest appearance – 1 episode; "Over to Bill"|
|2015||The Dumping Ground||Keith||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 3|
|Death in Paradise||Disco Biscuit||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 4|
|2016||Grantchester||Harding Redmond||Guest appearance – 5 episodes; series 2|
|Bear Grylls: Mission Survive||Himself, participant||Guest appearance – 1 episode; series 2|
|The Night Manager||Harry Palfrey||Miniseries – recurring role|
|2017—||The Good Karma Hospital||Greg McConnell||Recurring role|
|Striking Out||Vincent Pike, QC||Recurring role|
|2018||Moving on||Frank Barton||1 Episode; The Registrar|
|Unforgotten||Peter Carr||Four episodes|
|2019||The Trial of Christine Keeler||Colin Keeler||Episode 6|
|2021||The Syndicate||Frank Stevenson|
- "Neil Morrissey explains why he loves Staffordshire". Express and Star. 23 March 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
- "Neil Morrissey revisits his children's home roots". The Guardian. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- "BBC Two – Neil Morrissey: Care Home Kid, Episode 1". BBC. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
- Interviewed BBC TV Breakfast, 12 August 2009
- "Duke Of York's Theatre Schedule & Tickets for Events in 2020/21". Cheapoticketing.com.
- "BBC – Neil Morrissey and Charlie Brooks to guest star in series three of The Dumping Ground". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "RUSSELL HOWARD, NEIL MORRISSEY, GREG DAVIES, KERRY HOWARD & SOPHIE THOMPSON STAR IN A NEW ONE-OFF CHRISTMAS SPECIAL FOR BBC TWO". Avalonuk.com. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Neil Morrissey joins the cast of Grantchester". Itv.com. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Michelle Collins, Chelsee Healey join Bear Grylls show". Digitalspy.com. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Neil Morrissey's Secret". BBC. Archived from the original on 29 April 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Morrissey buys Dylan Thomas' local". News.bbc.co.uk. 22 April 2004.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Actor Morrissey to sell Dylan pub". News.bbc.co.uk. 16 October 2006.
- "Morrissey ends Laugharne connection". Western Mail. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Neil Morrissey gives up the Punch Bowl". Thepublican.com. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Neil Morrissey 'opts for IVA to repay £2.5m'". The Daily Telegraph. London. 17 August 2009.
- Interview: Neil Morrissey The Observer
- "Holden and Dennis marriage ends". BBC News. 27 December 2002. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- Neil Morrissey on Bob and behaving badly Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Recipients of Honorary Awards Archived 22 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine staffs.ac.uk
- Horizon Archived 16 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine staffs.ac.uk
- Honorary degree for media stars BBC
- "Famous Football Fans". The-football-club.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Crystal Palace | Manc Ale Is Coming To South London". Crystal Palace F.C. 12 July 2011. Archived from the original on 21 November 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- Crime and Punishment, retrieved 18 August 2020