Open main menu

Nicholas Victor Leslie Henson (born 12 May 1945) is an English actor who has portrayed many roles since 1963. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1977.

Nicky Henson
Nicholas Victor Leslie Henson

(1945-05-12) 12 May 1945 (age 74)
London, England
Years active1964–present
Spouse(s)Una Stubbs (1969–75)
Marguerite Porter (1986–present)


Early lifeEdit

Henson was born in London, the son of Harriet Martha (Collins) and comedian Leslie Henson.[1] Henson attended St. Bede's Prep School, Eastbourne and Charterhouse in Godalming.[2] He trained as a stage manager at RADA, and first appeared on stage himself as a guitarist. As a member of the Young Vic Company he played Pozzo in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.



Henson has appeared in various television roles, including guest roles in Fawlty Towers, Minder, Boon, A Touch of Frost, Heartbeat, After You've Gone and Doctors. He also played the eponymous hero in Shine On Harvey Moon when the series was revived in 1995. In 2005 he played Hugo, an antique dealer in Bad Girls. In February 2006, Henson joined the cast of the BBC1 soap opera EastEnders, playing Jack Edwards. Henson left the production towards the end of the year due to health problems.

Henson has played three different characters the police drama series The Bill, the first in 1991, the second in 1998, and the third in 2007. In 2010, he appeared in an episode of the ITV period drama Downton Abbey and appeared in two further episodes in 2013.[3] He also played Randolph Mepstead, the older brother of David Jason's character in the pilot episode of the 1976 series Lucky Feller.


Nicky Henson's film appearances include Witchfinder General (1968), There's a Girl in My Soup (1970), Mosquito Squadron (1970) and Psychomania (1971). He graduated to lead roles in The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones (1976) and No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977), before returning to supporting roles in Vera Drake (2004) and George Clooney's Syriana (2005).


On stage, Henson has played many Shakespearian characters and has had leading roles in Look Back in Anger, Man and Superman, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, She Stoops to Conquer, Noises Off and many other plays. He appeared as Mordred in the original 1964 London version of Camelot opposite Laurence Harvey as King Arthur. Henson made his Broadway debut in a production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, opposite Stephanie Beacham. He was nominated for a 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical of 1997 for his role in Enter the Guardsman.

He started directing with a Restoration workshop at LAMDA with a production of The Provok'd Wife. In 2009 he directed the Jack Shepherd play Only When I Laugh at the Arcola Theatre in London and Alan Ayckbourn's Intimate Exchanges at Sheringham Little Theatre.


He played Lemuel 'Chipper' Barnet in Space Force series 1 and 2 (1984–85).

Personal lifeEdit

Henson married actress Una Stubbs (who incidentally played his sister-in-law Caroline Bishop in EastEnders). The couple had two sons, Joe and Christian, both of whom are composers. The marriage ended after Henson began an affair in 1974 with actress Susan Hampshire, his co-star in several stage productions.[4]

He then married ballerina Marguerite Porter, by whom he has a third son, Keaton, a musician and illustrator.[5]

Adam Henson, a farmer and regular presenter on BBC TV's Countryfile, is a nephew.


Henson was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. Surgeons removed tumours from around his spleen, but a routine check-up in 2006 showed that other tumours had grown and it would be dangerous to remove them. Henson was put on a regimen of chemotherapy, and now works regularly to raise funds for cancer charities, especially Marie Curie Cancer Care.[6]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "Nicky Henson Biography (1945–)". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Nicky Henson – Actor". Nicky Henson. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Henson Nicky – Artist Information and Profile". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  4. ^ Lambert, Angela (2 January 2001). "A rose that refuses to wilt". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 26 July 2018. When Pierre left [Susan] in 1974, she divorced him . . . [and] threw herself into work, appearing that year as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew and Peter Pan that Christmas. Appearing with her was Nicky Henson, then married to Una Stubbs, and the two began a lengthy affair that led to his divorce.
  5. ^ "Keaton Henson". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Institute of Sport and Recreation Management website". Retrieved 27 December 2015.

External linksEdit