♦ British actor and writer
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, he went to England in 1968 and studied at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He appeared in plays at the Royal Court Theatre, including David Hare's Teeth 'n' Smiles (1975), and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (1982). In 1984 he gave a performance of macabre brilliance in the title role of Bill Alexander's production of Richard III, a performance given theatrical virtuosity by his use of crutches. In 1992 he played the lead in Terry Hands's RSC production of Tamburlaine the Great. In 2004 he adapted and played the central role in a stage version of Primo Levi's If This Is a Man, to great acclaim. A powerful stage presence, he has also appeared occasionally in television drama, notably in The History Man (1982). In his book The Year of the King (1985), he describes his work on Richard III. He illustrated the book himself, as he did his first novel, Middlepost (1988). He subsequently wrote a film script, Changing Step (1989), two more novels, The Indoor Boy (1991) and Cheap Lives (1995), and co-authored Woza Shakespeare! (1996, with the director Gregory Doran), which discusses the staging of Titus Andronicus. He entered into a civil partnership with Doran in 2005. His first play, I.D., premiered in London in 2003. He was made a KBE in 2000.