Clive Russell

Clive Russell
Russell in 2014
Born (1945-12-07) 7 December 1945
Reeth, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–present

Clive Russell (born 7 December 1945) is a Scottish actor. He is best known for his roles as Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline in Ripper Street, Angus O'Connor in Happiness and Brynden Tully in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

He also appeared in the Scottish sitcoms Still Game and Rab C Nesbitt as Big Innes and in teen drama Hollyoaks as Jack Osborne's brother Billy Brodie.

Life and career

Russell was born in Reeth, North Riding of Yorkshire, England but brought up in Fife, Scotland.[1]

Russell first performed before an audience in 1960 on The Shari Lewis Show, but it was not until 1980 that he had his first real acting job – performing on the London stage as the superintendent in Nobel Prize-winner Dario Fo's satire Accidental Death of an Anarchist, about police corruption in Italy. The reviews were good, and he reprised that role for television in 1983. After further honing his skills in various British TV productions and a handful of films – including Jute City, The Power of One, The Hawk and Seconds Out – Russell received exposure before international audiences as Caleb Garth in the celebrated BBC miniseries Middlemarch, based on the George Eliot novel of the same name. A year later, he fell in love on the movie screen with Helena Bonham Carter in Margaret's Museum, for which he earned a Genie nomination at the 16th Genie Awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. After more TV roles and another film, Russell played Ralph Fiennes' father in another critically acclaimed film, Oscar and Lucinda . Growing recognition of his acting skills then brought him major roles in four major TV miniseries: Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, The Railway Children and The Mists of Avalon.


Standing 6' 6", Russell is a familiar and unforgettable face on British television and has appeared in numerous television series including Boys from the Blackstuff,[2] Hope and Glory, Neverwhere, Great Expectations,[3] The Mists of Avalon, Heartburn Hotel,[4] Roughnecks, Monarch of the Glen, Waking the Dead,[5] Silent Witness, Rockface, and Spaced. Russell has also made appearances in Still Game, Happiness, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Cracker. From 2005 to 2006, Russell played Phil Nail in ITV's Coronation Street. Russell made an appearance in Waterloo Road as Lisa and Lenny Brown's grandfather for one episode, also playing Billy Wilson for two in Shameless.

He has appeared as Jock in the third series of the BBC's Jam and Jerusalem, as "Bayard, King of Mercia" in Merlin and in Hotel Babylon as an artist forced to fake his own death when he is in debt. In 2012, he joined the cast of the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones as Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully.[6][7][8]

In 2016, he joined the cast of Hollyoaks as Billy, brother of established character Jack Osborne[9]

In January 2017 he had a small role in the BBC Three comedy "Uncle", portraying Sam and Andy's father and later in the year appeared in Doc Martin.


In Margaret's Museum, a highly acclaimed film, he starred opposite Helena Bonham Carter as the Gaelic-speaking Neil Currie. Russell's other film credits include Festival, Ladies in Lavender, King Arthur, Made of Honour, Lecture 21, The 13th Warrior and The Wolfman.

He made an appearance in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes as Captain Tanner, and reprised the role in the film's 2011 sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. He appeared in the 2010 film The Wolfman as MacQueen. Russell also appeared in Robin Hardy's The Wicker Tree which was released in the first quarter of 2012, playing the character of Beame alongside the Hobbit star Graham McTavish.

He played Inspector Frederick Abberline in BBC One's Ripper Street. He played Tyr in the live-action film Thor: The Dark World (2013).[10]

Edinburgh Fringe 2010

In 2010, Russell made his debut one-man show Touching the Blue.[11]


1992The Power of OneSgt. Bormann
1993The Hawk
1995Margaret's MuseumNeil Currie
1996NeverwhereMr. Vandemar
1997Oscar and LucindaTheophilius
1999Great Expectations (1999 film)Joe
1999The 13th WarriorHelfdane
2001SpacedDamien Knox
2001–2003HappinessAngus O'ConnorMain Cast
2002Mad DogsThin man
2003The Mayor of CasterbridgeNewsonTV Film
2004Ladies in LavenderAdam Penruddocke
2004King ArthurLancelot's Father
2004The Rocket PostAngus Mackay
2004Still GameBig InnesSeries 3 Episode 4 "Big Yin"
2005FaithGordonTV Film
2005–2006Coronation StreetPhill NailSeries Regular
2006Mist: The Tale of a Sheepdog PuppyMcPhersonTV Film
2007The Yellow HouseMonsieur RoulinTV Film
2007Joe's PlaceDave
2008Made of HonourCousin Finlay
2008Lecture 21Hoffmeister
2008MerlinBayardSeries 1, Episode 4: "The Poisoned Chalice"
2009Book of BloodWyburd
2009Sherlock HolmesCapt. Tanner
2009The BillDanny Travis2 episodes
2010The WolfmanMaqueen
2010Cup CakeMute McGill
2010The Fighter's BalladFather John
2011The Wicker TreeBeame
2011Sherlock Holmes: A Game of ShadowsCapt. Tanner
2012–2016Ripper StreetChief Inspector Frederick Abberline
2013Mary, Queen of ScotsDouglas
2013Thor: The Dark WorldTyr
2013The ListPeter
2013–2016Game of ThronesBrynden Tully7 episodes
2014-2018The Amazing World of GumballDaniel Senicourt; Manly Warrior4 Episodes]]"
2015After BannockburnRobert Bruce
2016The Young MessiahWeer
2016StellaUncle Clem
2016OutlanderLord Lovat1 episode[12]
2016HollyoaksBilly BrodieGuest role
2017UncleNevilleGuest role
20171066: A Year to Conquer EnglandHarald HardradaDocudrama
2017BackPaulGuest role
2017The Hatton Garden JobKenny CollinsSupporting


  1. Faith – Cast Profiles & Interviews Clive Russell Archived 23 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "Boys from the Blackstuff" (April 23, 2013) Wonders in the Dark
  3. Clive Russell at FilmBug
  4. Heartburn Hotel at British Comedy Guide
  5. Clive Russell at Film Reference
  6. Patten, Dominic (24 September 2012). "'Thor: The Dark World' Adds Pair To Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  7. "Game of Thrones' Clive Russell on Survivor's Guilt, Brienne Shipping, and Where Blackfish Has Been All These Years". 13 June 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  8. Schwartz, Terri (5 June 2016). "Game of Thrones: Clive Russell on the Blackfish's Mission". IGN. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  9. Minn, Hayley (21 August 2016). "Game Of Thrones star Clive Russell joins Hollyoaks as Jack Osborne's ex-con brother". Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  10. ""Thor: The Dark World" adds Clive Russell and Richard Brake". Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  11. "Edinburgh 2010: Touching the Blue" (July 5, 2010) Broadway World
  12. "'Outlander': Clive Russell On Playing Lord Lovat". Access Hollywood. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
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