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Shaun Dingwall was born in 1970 and attended Ilford County High School for Boys until 1988. His initial ambition was to become a photographer and for several years he worked as an assistant photographer within the fashion industry and commercial car industry. In 1990 he decided to change direction and attended the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Dingwall has played leading roles in many drama series such as the BAFTA winning BBC One serial Charles II: The Power and The Passion (as Thomas Osborne, Earl of Danby), directed by Joe Wright; The Long Firm (as Lenny, the hippy criminologist), written by Joe Penhall; and the epic serial In A Land of Plenty as the central role James Freeman. He also appeared in another period drama, the BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment, as Rhazhumikin. He played the recurring character Pete Tyler in the revival of Doctor Who. One of Dingwall's earlier roles was as Lance Corporal Steve Evans in Soldier Soldier. He later played Major Godber in another BAFTA winner, the Channel 4 film Mark of Cain.
He was a regular in ITV's series of police thriller serials, Touching Evil, from 1997 to 1999. In 2000 he appeared as James Freeman in the BBC epic serial In A Land Of Plenty. In 2004 he appeared in a guest role in BBC Two's adaptation of The Long Firm and as Scipio Africanus in the 2006 BBC docu-drama Hannibal.
In January 2009 he appeared in the TV drama Above Suspicion as DI Mike Lewis. Since January 2010 he has appeared as Reg Trotter in three episodes of Rock & Chips, a prequel to the long-running series Only Fools and Horses.
Dingwall's film career began with a small role in Second Best playing the same character as William Hurt. Dingwall portrayed a younger version of the character Graham in several flashback scenes. The film was directed by Academy Award winner Chris Menges and also stars John Hurt. This was followed by Villa Des Roses where Dingwall played Richard Grunewald, the German artist who wins the heart of Louise Creteur, played by Julie Delpy. The film is an adaptation of the well-known Belgian novel, and went on to win the Best Feature award at the 2002 Hollywood Film Festival.
Dingwall also played Kevin in the BBC film Tomorrow La Scala. The film was a huge hit at the Cannes Film Festival but did not receive a theatrical release. (The film was directed by Francesca Joseph, with whom Dingwall later worked on Learners.)
Dingwall has appeared in London's West End several times. He appeared in The Man Who Had All the Luck at the Donmar Warehouse as Gus, the enigmatic Austrian mechanic in search of the American dream. This was Dingwall's second time at the Donmar. He appeared there in Beautiful Thing in 1995 playing Ste. Other appearances have included Joey in Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness at the Royal Court and Achilles in Troilus and Cressida at the Old Vic. In 2004 Dingwall fulfilled a lifelong ambition by playing Hotspur in Henry IV, Part 1 at the Bristol Old Vic.