Michael Simkins as Sir Humphrey Appleby, Cabinet Secretary

Michael grew up in Brighton and trained at RADA. A familiar face on stage and TV, his recent leading West End roles include Sam Carmichael in Mamma Mia!, Billy Flynn in Chicago and David Buckle in Michael Frayn’s comedy Donkeys’ Years. Other West End credits include Mary Stuart, Democracy, The Old Masters, Look Look, Richard III, Henceforward, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Burn This, Sam Mendes’ award-winning production of Company, and the NT’s A View From the Bridge, which transferred to the Aldwych Theatre and for which he was nominated Best Supporting Actor.

Also at the National Theatre, he appeared in Tons of Money, A Small Family Business, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Richard Eyre’s production of King Lear (subsequently filmed for TV).

Other recent London credits include Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I at the Royal Albert Hall, Alan Ayckbourn’s own production of his comedy Taking Steps at the Orange Tree, the critically acclaimed production of Terence Rattigan’s Less Than Kind at the Jermyn Street Theatre and, most recently, as the Head of MI 6 in Sarah Helm’s political drama Loyalty at Hampstead Theatre.

On television, he’s appeared in a million different series, usually as policemen or unsuspecting husbands. He plays Deputy Commissioner Walters in Linda La Plante’s detective drama Above Suspicion, while other leading credits include Hugh Reid in the first series of Foyle’s War, Mr Gibbs in My Dad’s the Prime Minister and Lionel Mead in the BBC medical series Doctors. He is soon to be seen in Sky’s spoof detective comedy, A Touch of Cloth.

Films include V for Vendetta, Topsy-Turvy and, most recently, The Iron Lady.

In addition, Michael is a best-selling author and journalist. His books include What’s My Motivation?, the Costa-nominated sporting memoir Fatty Batter, Detour de France (a wry look at our closest neighbours) and, most recently, The Last Flannelled Fool. His next book, How to be an Actor, is published next spring.

In 2010 he achieved a lifetime ambition when he starred in Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night: Gilbert and Sullivan Spectacular, broadcast live from the stage of the Chichester Festival Theatre.

He is also a regular contributor to The Daily Telegraph and The Times, as well as a familiar voice on Radio 4 in programmes such as Front Row, Off the Page, Quote Unquote and BH.

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