Richard Rankin

Richard Rankin
Richard Rankin in 2018
Born Richard Harris
(1983-01-04) 4 January 1983
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Alma mater Langside College
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 2006–present
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Relatives Colin Harris[1]

Richard Rankin (born Richard Harris on 4 January 1983) is a Scottish film, television and theatre actor. He is best known for the Scottish sketch show Burnistoun and as Roger Wakefield Mackenzie in the Starz drama Outlander.[2][3]

Early life

Rankin was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1983 and spent part of his childhood in the West End of the city where he attended Stonelaw High School before moving to King's Park when he was ten years old.[4][5] One of four boys born to a police officer father and a mother in the hotel industry, he originally planned a career in the sciences or Information Technology.[5]

Rankin attended Glasgow Caledonian University as an IT major, but while on holiday in Los Angeles he had a chance encounter at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.[6] A local film producer told the then 22-year-old that he had the look of an actor, and upon his return to Glasgow Rankin auditioned for Langside College with his brother Colin Harris.[5][6] Both graduated and went on to a career in acting, but when Richard, who was known by his birth name of Richard Harris, applied for his Equity card he began using his mother's maiden name Rankin to prevent confusion with Irish actor Richard Harris.[5][7]


Rankin began his professional career in 2006 by starring along side Robert Florence in VideoGaiden, a Scottish video game show originally aired on BBC Two Scotland.[8][9] Between 2007 and 2010 he made appearances on episodic Scottish television programs Legit (2007) and The Old Guys (2009) for the BBC and Taggart (2010) for STV.[10][11][12] The Scottish sketch comedy series Burnistoun, which ran for three series on BBC Two Scotland, featured Rankin in various roles from 2009 until 2012.[2][13]

In 2011, Rankin starred in the short film Dead Ringer, directed by Carter Ferguson. Conceived, written, and filmed in a forty-eight hour period, the film won several awards including Best Director and Best Actor for Rankin at the Glasgow 48 Hour Film Project.[14][15] He was cast as Captain Thomas Gillan by the BBC in 2014 to star in WWI based mini-series The Crimson Field alongside Kevin Doyle and Oona Chaplin.[16][17] The series aired on BBC One in April 2014.[18] That same year he featured in an ultra low-budget horror film, House of Him, which was released during the Glasgow Film Festival in February 2014. The film had a budget of approximately £900 and starred many of his old Burnistoun colleagues, including Kirsty Strain and Louise Stewart.[19][20]

In January 2015, Rankin joined the cast of the BBC One crime drama series Silent Witness in the two-part story "Falling Angels" as Detective Inspector Luke Nelson.[21] NBC's conspiracy thriller American Odyssey, which was cancelled after one season, saw Rankin guest star as corporate hit man Haney in two episodes.[22][23] Writer Kay Mellor tailored the role of Sean McGary, in the third series of her anthology drama The Syndicate, specifically for Rankin, changing the character from a Northerner to a Scot.[24] The series follows a group of colleagues who win the lottery, with Rankin portraying the gamekeeper of a run-down estate.[25] BBC One's four part crime drama From Darkness sees Rankin portray Norrie Duncan alongside Anne-Marie Duff's ex-cop Claire Church.[26] In addition to his television roles, Rankin was also cast in John Well's film Burnt, alongside Bradley Cooper.[27]

In December of 2015, it was announced that Rankin had been cast as the adult Roger Wakefield in Starz's time traveling drama series Outlander.[28] Appearing first in the 2016 season two finale and then again in several episodes of season three, Rankin's character is the love interest of Brianna Randall Fraser.[29] Later in 2016, Rankin appeared as Detective Inspector Elliott Carne on the BBC's crime drama Thirteen.[25] Returning to short films, Rankin starred as Vance in Chloë Wicks' The Wyrd, the story of a young couple in seventh century pagan England dealing with the introduction of Christianity.[30][31]

Rankin had roles in two BBC productions in 2017. First was the dramatic miniseries The Replacement, which revolves around Ellen (Morven Christie), who is dealing with maternity leave and the effects it has on her career. Rankin plays her psychiatrist husband in the three part series.[32][33] The second was a two episode stint as Father Hrothweard on historical drama series The Last Kingdom, based upon Bernard Cornwell's series of novels titled The Saxon Stories.[34][35]

Series twenty of ITV's long-running crime drama Midsomer Murders, which premiered in the United States in 2018 prior to its release in the UK, featured Rankin in episode four as football star Danny Wickham.[36]



Year Title Character Production Notes
2006VideoGaidenVariousBBCAppeared in: Season 2, Ep. 2, 6
2007LegitNelsonBBC One ScotlandAppeared in: Season 1, Ep. 5 "Danny, Champion of the World"
2009The Old GuysGroomBBCAppeared in: Series 1, Ep. 3 "Marriage"
2010TaggartGed McShaneSTVAppeared in Series 26, Ep. 1 "I.O.U"
2009-2012BurnistounVariousBBC Two ScotlandAppeared in: Series 1, 2, 3
2014The Crimson FieldCaptain Thomas GillanBBC OneAppeared in: Series 1
2015Silent WitnessD.I. Luke NelsonBBC OneAppeared in: Series 18, Ep. 3, 4 "Falling Angels (Two parts)"
2015American OdysseyHaneyNBCAppeared in: Series 1, Ep. 10, 11
2015 The Syndicate Sean McGary BBC One Appeared in: Series 3
2015From DarknessNorrie DuncanBBC OneAppeared in: Series 1
2016ThirteenD.I. Elliott CarneBBC ThreeAppeared in Series 1
2016-Present Outlander Roger Wakefield (MacKenzie)[37] Starz Appeared in Season 2, Ep. 13; Season 3, Ep. 4, 5
2017The ReplacementIan RooneyBBCMiniseries
2017The Last KingdomFather HrothweardBBC TwoAppeared in: Series 2, Ep. 1, 2
2018Midsomer MurdersDanny WickhamITVAppeared in: Series 20, Ep. 4


Year Title Character Notes
2011Dead RingerRichieShort Film/Independent
2014The House of HimHim
2015BurntReece Waiter
2016The WyrdVanceCompleted, Screened at Norwich Film Festival


Year Title Role Director Theatre
2008 Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off Bothwell[38][11][39] David Lee Michael Citizens Theatre
2009 The Pillowman Tupolski[40][41] David Lee-Michael Citizens Theatre
2010The Lieutenant of InishmoreDonny[42][43]David Lee-Michael & David WinterCitizens Theatre
2012Black WatchGranty[44][45]John Tiffany[46]National Theatre of Scotland
2012Good With PeopleEvan[47][48]George PerrinTraverse Theatre


  1. Placencio, Ingrid. "Colin Harris Actor/Writer & Producer". Colin Harris. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  2. 1 2 Guide, British Comedy. "Excalibur - Burnistoun - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  3. "'Outlander': 3 shows to help with your new Richard Rankin obsession". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  4. "Stonelaw's class of 1994-2000 all set to return to Rutherglen for a big school reunion". Daily Record / Rutherglen Reformer. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Outlander star Richard Rankin on playing Roger Wakefield, his Glasgow childhood and swapping IT for acting". The Herald. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  6. 1 2 English, Paul (27 March 2014). "The Crimson Field star Richard Rankin: I went from big budget production to filming in a pal's mum's house in Balornock". Daily Record.
  7. "Colin has a ball as Scots soccer ace in Clough film". Evening Times. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  8. "'Outlander' Season 2 casting update: Richard Rankin to play Roger Wakefield". International Business Times AU. 2015-12-15. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  9. Virtue, Graeme (2016-03-03). "VideoGaiden – the return of video gaming's greatest TV show". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  10. "Profile: Richard Rankin | Wonderland Magazine". Wonderland. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  11. 1 2 "Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Black Watch". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  12. "Outlander casts its grown-up Roger". Digital Spy. 2015-12-14. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  13. "Burnistoun - S3 - Episode 3". Radio Times. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  14. "48 HOUR FILM PROJECT | How we won big (twice) ... | fightdirector". fightdirector. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  15. "Crime". FilmFreeway. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  16. "The Crimson Field's Richard Rankin on Thomas and Kitty's romance and hopes for a second series". Radio Times. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  17. "Professor helps recreate 1915 field hospital for BBC drama The Crimson Field". Manchester University.
  18. "The Crimson Field - BBC One".
  19. McConnachie, Garry (2014-11-05). "Movie review: The House of Him". dailyrecord. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  20. "The House of Him". The List. 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  21. "Silent Witness - S18 - Episode 3: Falling Angels - Part One". Radio Times. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  22. "American Odyssey". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  23. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (2015-07-01). "NBC Cancels 'American Odyssey' After One Season". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  24. "The Syndicate returns for series 3". Digital Spy. 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  25. 1 2 "'Outlander': 3 shows to help with your new Richard Rankin obsession". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  26. "Richard Rankin: From Darkness is fresh crime drama". Digital Spy. 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  27. Petski, Denise (2015-12-14). "'Outlander' Casts Richard Rankin As Roger Wakefield". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  28. "'Outlander' Season 2 Finds its Roger Wakefield in Scottish Actor Richard Rankin". Variety. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  29. Cohn, Paulette. "Outlander's New Star Richard Rankin on Working with Sophie Skelton and What He Has Learned". Parade. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  30. "2017 – The Wyrd". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  31. TheVideoWhisperer (2016-10-12), Behind the Scenes on The Wyrd with Richard Rankin, retrieved 2018-07-25
  32. "Meet the cast of The Replacement". Radio Times. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  33. "Who is Richard Rankin? Actor who plays Ian Rooney in The Replacement and star of Silent Witness and Outlander". The Sun. 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  34. Hughes, Sarah (2017-03-16). "The Last Kingdom recap: series two, episode one – back to wild wild Wessex". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  35. "The Last Kingdom series 3 confirmed – historical drama to air exclusively on Netflix". Radio Times. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  36. Clarke, Stewart (2018-01-16). "BritBox Scoops Up All 20 Seasons of 'Midsomer Murders'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  37. Prudom, Laura (14 December 2015). "'Outlander' Season 2 Finds its Roger Wakefield in Scottish Actor Richard Rankin".
  38. ""Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off" - February 2008". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  39. "Richard Rankin as Granty".
  40. ""The Pillowman" - March 2009". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  41. "The Pillowman returns by special invitation Media Release | Press | Citizens Theatre". Citizens Theatre. 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  42. ""The Lieutenant of Inishmore" - February 2010". Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  43. "The Lieutenant of Inishmore | Citizens Theatre". Citizens Theatre. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  44. Barraclough, Leo (2015-08-07). "International Star You Should Know: Richard Rankin". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  45. "Richard Rankin | Chicago Theater Beat". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  46. "'Black Watch's' experiment in war poetry is a play in athleticism". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  47. "The Letter of Last Resort /Good With People, Traverse Theatre,". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  48. Gardner, Lyn (2012-08-15). "The Letter of Last Resort/Good With People – Edinburgh festival review". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
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