Daniel Mays
Born (1978-03-31) 31 March 1978 (age 45)
Epping, Essex, England
Alma materItalia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
Years active1995–present
SpouseLouise Burton

Daniel Mays (born 31 March 1978)[1] is an English actor having had roles in EastEnders (2000), Pearl Harbor, All or Nothing, Vera Drake (2001), Rehab (2005), Shifty, Red Riding (2008), Made in Dagenham, Ashes to Ashes (2010), Outcasts (2011), Mrs Biggs, Byzantium (2012), Line of Duty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Des and White Lines (2020).

Mays has been nominated for best supporting actor at both the BIFA's (2008), and the BAFTA's (2017), as well as having extensive experience in theatre.

Early life

Born in Epping, Essex,[1] the third of four boys,[1] Mays was brought up in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, by his electrician father and bank cashier mother. He attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts[1] before going on to become a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), graduating in 2000 with an Acting Diploma.[2][1]

Acting career

In 2000, Mays debut role was a slot in EastEnders.[3] Mays started his big screen career in 2001, as a pilot in the movie Pearl Harbor.[3] His big break happened in 2002, when Mike Leigh cast him in both All or Nothing and Vera Drake, and Mays has said that working with Leigh was a big influence, advising that no stone be unturned when creating truly believable characters.[3]

In 2005, he was cast in the BBC drama Rehab,[4] then in 2008, played the role of Michael Myshkin in Channel 4's adaptation of David Peace's Red Riding trilogy.[5] His appearance in the 2008 independent British crime film Shifty, co-starring Riz Ahmed, earned him a nomination for best supporting actor at the British Independent Film Awards.[6]

In 2010, Mays starred as Eddie O'Grady in the film Made in Dagenham. In the same year, he played DCI Jim Keats in the third series of Ashes to Ashes, in which he portrayed a character that was the antagonist of Philip Glenister's Gene Hunt.[7][8]

In 2011, Mays appeared in the BBC sci-fi series Outcasts.[9] He had roles in No One Gets Off in This Town and a supporting role in the Steven Spielberg film The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. He then played a criminal on a curfew after serving a 10-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend when he was 19 in the programme Public Enemies, which aired on BBC One in early January 2012. He played Ronnie Biggs in a 5-part drama called Mrs Biggs. In 2012, he starred alongside Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan in the vampire film Byzantium.[10]

For much of the latter half of 2013, Mays performed on stage. Performing in Nick Payne's Same Deep Water As Me at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Nigel Lindsay[11] and in the first major revival of Jez Butterworth's debut play Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theatre. He starred alongside Ben Whishaw, Brendan Coyle, Rupert Grint and Colin Morgan.[12]

In 2016, Mays starred in Series 3 of BBC drama Line of Duty as Sergeant Danny Waldron, an armed response officer whose troubled and abusive childhood comes under investigation as part of wider investigation of police corruption throughout the serial. He was nominated for a BAFTA Television Award for Supporting Actor for his role.[13] In 2016 Mays played the part of Aston in Harold Pinter's play The Caretaker directed by Matthew Warchus at The Old Vic Theatre in London opposite Timothy Spall and George MacKay.[14] The same year, Mays portrayed Tivik in the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.[15]

In 2020, Mays starred as lead investigator Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay in the ITV three-part television drama miniseries Des, about the 1983 arrest of the serial killer Dennis Nilsen, and as Marcus in the Ibiza based whodunnit series White Lines.[16]

In March 2023, Mays made his musical debut as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls directed by Nicholas Hytner at the Bridge Theatre. He left the production temporarily in July (where the role was taken over by Owain Arthur) due to filming commitments before returning to it in October.

Personal life

Mays has a son and a daughter with makeup artist Louise Burton.[17] As of 2005, he was living in Crouch End, an area in the London Borough of Haringey.[4] A keen football fan, he is a supporter of Leyton Orient.[18]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Skin Deep Flashback youth Short film
Pearl Harbor Pilot No. 3
2002 All or Nothing Jason
2004 Vera Drake Sid
2005 The Secret Life of Words Martin
The Best Man Pool Guy
2006 Middletown Jim Hunter
A Good Year Bert the Doorman
2007 Atonement Tommy Nettle
2007 Saddam's Tribe: Bound by Blood Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti
2008 The Bank Job Dave Shilling
Shifty Chris
Bitter Unknown Short film
2009 Mr. Nobody Young Journalist
The Firm Yeti
2010 Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang Blenkinsop
Hippie Hippie Shake Widgery
Made in Dagenham Eddie
No One Gets Off in This Town
2011 The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn Allan
2012 Byzantium Noel
2013 Welcome to the Punch Nathan Bartnick
2015 Victor Frankenstein Barnaby
2016 Dad's Army[19] Private Joe Walker
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story[20] Tivik Cameo
The Infiltrator Frankie
2017 The Limehouse Golem George Flood
2018 Swimming with Men Colin
Two for Joy Lias
Shaun William
2019 Fisherman's Friends Danny Anderson
1917 Sergeant Sanders
2020 The Rhythm Section Dean West
2022 Your Christmas or Mine? Geoff Taylor
2023 Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget Fetcher Voice, replacing Phil Daniels[21]
2023 Your Christmas or Mine 2 Geoff Taylor


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Fist of Fun Patrick Nuffy Episode 2.5–2.6
2000 EastEnders Kevin Four episodes
2001 In Deep Dave Street Episode 1.5: "Ghost Squad: Part 1"
The Bill Warren Debdale Episode 17.46: "Temptation"
2002 Manchild Mechanic Episode 1.1: "Fiftysomething"
NCS: Manhunt Danny Bird Episodes 1.1 and 1.6
Dead Casual Unknown TV film
Tipping the Velvet Jimmy Burns TV serial
2003 Rehab Adam TV film
2004 Top Buzzer Carlton Appeared in ten episodes
Keen Eddie Ronnie Wiggensey Jr. Episode 1.8: "Sticky Fingers"
2005 Beneath the Skin Moz Burnside TV film
Class of '76 DS Steven Grant TV film
Funland Carter Krantz Appeared in all 11 episodes
2007 Consent Steve TV film
Saddam's Tribe Uday TV film
Half Broken Things Michael TV film[22]
2008 White Girl Steve TV film
Consuming Passion: 100 Years of Mills & Boon Charles Boon TV film
2009 Plus One Rob Black Appeared in all five episodes
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 Michael Myshkin
The Street Mark Episode 3.2
2010 Hustle Mervyn Lloyd Episode 6.5: "Conned Out of Luck"
Ashes to Ashes Jim Keats Appeared in eight episodes
2011 Outcasts Cass Cromwell
Doctor Who Alex Series 6 Episode 9: "Night Terrors"
2012 Treasure Island Doctor Livesey Miniseries
Public Enemies Eddie Mottram
Mrs Biggs Ronnie Biggs
2014 The Great Fire Samuel Pepys TV series 4 episodes
Common Tommy Ward TV film
2016 Line of Duty Sergeant Danny Waldron Series 3
2017 Guerrilla Cullen TV series
Born to Kill Bill TV series
Against the Law Peter Wildeblood Docu-drama
2018 Urban Myths: The Sex Pistols Vs. Bill Grundy Mike Housego TV series 1 episode
My Dinner with Hervé Casey TV movie
The Interrogation of Tony Martin DC Peters TV movie
2019 Porters Anthony De La Mer Regular, 6 episodes (Series 2)
Good Omens Arthur Young Miniseries
Temple Lee Simmons 8 Episodes
2020 Des Peter Jay TV miniseries
White Lines Marcus
Code 404 DI John Major
2022 Inside No. 9 Shane Series 7 Episode 4
2022 Magpie Murders Chubb 6 Episodes
2022 Maryland PC Moody TV film
2023 The Long Shadow Sydney Jackson TV miniseries[23]
TBA Franklin Edward Bancroft Upcoming miniseries[citation needed]
TBA Moonflower Murders Chubb Upcoming BBC series[24]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2004 Reims International Television Days Best Actor Rehab Won [25]
2008 British Independent Film Awards BIFA TV Award for Best Supporting Actor Shifty Nominated [6][25]
2013 National Television Awards Most Popular Male Drama Performance Mrs Biggs Nominated [25]
2017 British Academy Television Awards BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actor Line of Duty Nominated [13] [25]


  1. ^ a b c d e Paddock, Terri (11 February 2008). ""20 Questions With… Daniel Mays"". whatsonstage.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Student & graduate profiles: Daniel Mays". RADA. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Raphael, Amy (12 April 2009). "'Deeply scary, deeply lovable'". theguardian.com.
  4. ^ a b "Funland Starts this autumn on BBC Three". bbc.co.uk. 27 September 2005.
  5. ^ Barnett, David (9 September 2008). "Bradford: City gives a backdrop to new drama". Bradford Telegraph & Argus.
  6. ^ a b "The nominations and jury members for the 11th annual British Independent Film Awards (BIFA 2008)". BIFA. 28 October 2008.
  7. ^ "Ashes To Ashes: Daniel Mays". Manchester Evening News. 28 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Ashes To Ashes series three press pack: Daniel Mays". BBC. 3 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Outcasts". BBC One. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Byzantium-Contains very strong language, strong violence, sex and sex references". bbfc.co.uk. 31 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Past productions – Donmar Warehouse". Donmar Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Sonia Friedman Productions". soniafriedman.com. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Television: Supporting Actor in 2017". BAFTA. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  14. ^ "The Caretaker". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  15. ^ Staunton, Terry. "Rogue One: Review". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  16. ^ Gillibrand, Abigail. "White Lines season 2: Daniel Mays believes Netflix's new show is 'crying out for another series". metro.co.uk. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  17. ^ Neville, Ryan (10 January 2016). "Finally, Daniel Mays married his girlfriend Louise Burton, who is also the mother of his children". hitberry.com. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  18. ^ "On Soccer AM… This Saturday Gazza joins Max and Helen". Sky Sports. 17 April 2009.
  19. ^ "Dad's Army film cast announced". BBC. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Rogue One". Starwars.com. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  21. ^ Ritman, Alex (20 January 2022). "New 'Wallace & Gromit' Film in Works From Aardman/Netflix; 'Chicken Run 2' Cast and Title Unveiled". The Hollywood Reporter.
  22. ^ "Half Broken Things" – via rottentomatoes.com.
  23. ^ "The Long Shadow casting announcement". itv.com/presscentre. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  24. ^ "First look images released and further casting announced for Moonflower Murders, sequel to mystery drama Magpie Murders". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  25. ^ a b c d "Daniel Mays Awards". IMDB (Index source only). Retrieved 4 February 2023.