Jason Watkins
Jason Peter Watkins

(1962-10-28) 28 October 1962 (age 61)
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Caroline Harding (divorced)
Clara Francis
(m. 2014)

Jason Peter Watkins (born 28 October 1962)[1][non-primary source needed][2] is an English stage, film and television actor. He played the lead role in the two-part drama The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, for which he won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor. He has also played William Herrick in Being Human, Gavin Strong in Trollied, Simon Harwood in W1A, Gordon Shakespeare in the film series Nativity, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson in Season 3 of The Crown and Detective Sergeant Dodds in McDonald & Dodds.

Early life

Watkins was born in 1962,[2] in Windsor Road, Albrighton, Shropshire,[2] where he lived until the age of seven, when his parents moved to Wolverhampton.[3] His father Alan was a metallurgist[2] at Marston in Wolverhampton and his mother a teacher at Albrighton's primary school.[2] He credits his introduction to entertainment to taking lessons in clowning at Bridgnorth from mime artist Ben Benison, also a presenter on TV programme Vision On.[2]

Being dyslexic, Watkins enjoyed drama as a subject least affected by this issue.[4] He furthered his acting skills as a student of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, graduating in 1985 with an Acting (RADA Diploma).[5]



Following his graduation from RADA, Watkins established himself as a stage actor, joining the National Theatre company.[6]

He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in A Servant For Two Masters[7] at the (Young Vic, subsequently transferred to New Ambassadors Theatre).[8] His other theatre work includes Rafts and Dreams[6] at the Royal Court Theatre, Philistines and Landscape with Weapon (by Joe Penhall) at the National Theatre, London (2007) and A Laughing Matter (by April De Angelis) at the Royal National Theatre in 2003.[9]

In 2018, he played the predatory serial killer Ralph in a revival of Bryony Lavery's play Frozen at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.[10]


In 1987, Watkins debut appearance on television was in EastEnders as estate agent Gerry Fairweather, a role he played for 11 episodes.[2]

Watkins's more prominent television roles have included the vampire leader William Herrick in Being Human; the crime suspect Jason Buliegh in Conviction;[6] Bradley Stainer in Funland;[3] and the dog-walking crime witness Francis Cross in Five Days.[6] He also played Oswald Cooper in "The Great and the Good", an episode of Lewis;[3] Plornish in the 2008 BBC production of Little Dorrit;[6] and Cabbage Patterson in the BBC adaptation of Lark Rise to Candleford.[6] He had a cameo as Gene Hunt's dissolute lawyer Colin Merric, in episode seven of the second series of Life on Mars.[6]

In 2006, he played the pioneering radiologist Ernest Wilson in a BBC pilot, Casualty 1906. Also in 2006 he played the part of Sir Christopher Hatton in The Virgin Queen, a four-part BBC drama.[6] He then featured in the second series of the BBC's comedy Psychoville, as Peter Bishop, owner of Hoyti Toyti, an antique shop specialising in toys. Additionally he appeared as Doctor Roger Brierley in Victoria Wood's television film Housewife, 49.[6]

Since 2011, he has also appeared in the Sky One sitcom Trollied as the store manager Gavin.[3] In early 2012 he joined the cast of the BBC drama Prisoners' Wives, appeared as Detective Gilks in Dirk Gently and portrayed a smooth Church of England PR man in Twenty Twelve.

On 11 May 2013, he appeared in the Doctor Who story Nightmare in Silver, written by Neil Gaiman, featuring the Cybermen in their current design.[11] Also in 2013 he played an anaesthetist in The Wrong Mans. In 2014, he appeared as Simon Harwood in the BBC comedy series W1A.[12]

In 2014, he played the leading role in a two-part ITV drama entitled The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, about the innocent initial suspect in the 2010 murder of Joanna Yeates. He won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor for this role.[13]

In 2016, Watkins played the role of Pastor Hansford in the four-part ITV drama The Secret. Watkins appeared in two episodes of The Hollow Crown and played the role of Malcolm Turner in the BBC sitcom series Love, Nina. He narrated the Channel 4 documentary series The Job Interview, appeared as Tony Michaels in an episode of Friday Night Dinner and was cast as Mr Humphries in the BBC revival of Are You Being Served?.[14]

In 2017, Watkins played Solomon Coop, private secretary to the Prince Regent (later George IV), in the BBC One series Taboo.[12] Also on BBC One, Watkins performed as Wilfred Lucas-Dockery, the governor of the prison in the third episode of the BBC's adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel Decline and Fall.[15] He played Simon in the second series of the ITV drama Safe House in 2017, as well as playing Tim Ifield in the fourth series of Line of Duty.[16] In 2018 he played Roger in the BBC sitcom Hold the Sunset and Emlyn Hooson in the Russell T Davies miniseries A Very English Scandal,[17] and he provided the voice of Captain Orchis in the BBC adaptation of Watership Down.[12]

In 2019, Watkins played Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the third series of the Netflix drama The Crown.[12] Since 2020 he has appeared in a leading role as DS Dodds in the Bath-set ITV crime drama series McDonald & Dodds.[12]

In 2022, Watkins appeared as Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the series SAS: Rogue Heroes.[12]

In 2023, Watkins starred as Ed Collier in the Channel 5 series The Catch,[18] alongside Aneurin Barnard and Poppy Gilbert.[19] The same year, it was confirmed that Watkins would be a contestant on the third series of the ITV show Cooking with the Stars, alongside other celebrities including Joanna Page, Matt Willis and Peter Andre.[20]


Watkins's film roles include character parts in Confetti,[12] High Hopes,[6] Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,[3] Tomorrow Never Dies, The Golden Compass[3] and Wild Child. He played Gordon Shakespeare in the first three films in the Nativity series.[3]

Personal life

Watkins is married to jewellery and fashion designer Clara Francis.[3] On New Year's Day 2011, their 2-year-old daughter Maude died of sepsis.[4] He dedicated his 2015 BAFTA award to her and campaigns for greater awareness of sepsis.[21] He is a Patron of Child Bereavement UK,[22] a charity that supports children, young people and families when a child grieves or when a child dies. He and his wife have two other children, Bessie[3] and Gilbert. He also has two sons, Freddie and Pip, from his first marriage to actress Caroline Harding.[4]


Year Ceremony Award Nominated work Result
2001 Olivier Awards Best Supporting Actor[7] A Servant To Two Masters Nominated
2002 Helen Hayes Awards Outstanding Lead Actor Won
2015 British Academy Television Awards BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actor[23] The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies Won
BAFTA Award for Best Mini-Series Won
2016 Royal Television Society Awards Best Drama Serial [24] Won
2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series[25] The Crown Won



Year Title Role Notes
1987–1988 EastEnders Gerry Fairweather 11 episodes [2]
1991 Soldier Soldier Cpl Geoff Porter Appeared in episode "Battlefields"
1993 The Buddha of Suburbia Terry
The Good Guys Paul Appeared in the episode "All That Sparkles"
Between The Lines Custody Sergeant 1 episode "Manslaughter"
1994 Casualty Partridge 1 episode "Love and Affection"
1999 Bostock's Cup Tommy Bennett TV film
2004 Conviction Jason Bueleigh Recurring role
2005 The Booze Cruise II: The Treasure Hunt Laurence TV film
Funland Bradley Stainer
2006 Blue Murder Barr Episode: "In Deep"
Housewife, 49 Dr Roger Brierley TV film
2007 Life on Mars Colin Merrick Episode 15
2008 Little Dorrit Mr Plornish TV miniseries, 6 episodes
Lewis Oswald Cooper Series 3, episode 4: "The Great And The Good"
Miss Austen Regrets James Stanley Clarke TV film
Hotel Babylon Murray Guest role
2009 Agatha Christie's Poirot Joe Bland Series 12, episode 1: "The Clocks"
2009–2012 Being Human William Herrick TV series, 13 episodes
2010–2012 Dirk Gently DI Gilks Recurring role
2011–2018 Trollied Gavin Strong Main role, 67 episodes
2011 Psychoville Peter Bishop Recurring role [3]
2012 Miranda Dick Twist Episode: "It Was Panning"
Prisoners' Wives William (Gemma boss) Six episodes
2013 Doctor Who Webley Episode: "Nightmare in Silver"
The Wrong Mans Anaesthetist Guest role
Call the Midwife Rev. Applebee-Thornton Guest role Series 2: Episode 4
2014–2017 W1A Simon Harwood Three series, 14 episodes
2014 The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies Christopher Jefferies Two-part drama
2016 The Secret Pastor Hansford Four-part drama
The Hollow Crown Suffolk Episodes: "Henry VI Part I" and "Henry VI part II"
Love, Nina Malcolm Turner Sitcom series
The Job Interview Himself, narrator Documentary series
Friday Night Dinner Tony Michaels Episode: "The Two Tonys"
Are You Being Served? Mr Humphries TV special
Would I Lie to You? Himself Series 10, episode 8
2017 Inside No. 9 Kevin Episode: "The Bill"
Taboo Solomon Coop Episodes 2–8
Line of Duty Tim Ifield Season 4, 2 episodes
Decline and Fall Governor Wilfred Lucas-Dockery Part 3
Safe House Simon Duke TV series, 4 episodes
2018 Inside The Tower of London Narrator
Watership Down Captain Orchis (voice) Recurring role
A Very English Scandal Emlyn Hooson[26] TV Mini-Series, 2 episodes
2018–2019 Hold the Sunset Roger Series 1–2
2019 The Crown Harold Wilson Main role (Season 3)
2020 Des Brian Masters TV miniseries
Midsomer Murders Joe Ferabbee Series 20, Episode 6: "Send in the Clowns"
2020–present McDonald & Dodds DS Dodds
2021 The Trick Professor Phil Jones Dramatisation of the "climategate" controversy.[27]
Around the World in 80 Days Bernard Fortescue
2022 A Ghost Story for Christmas Mr Wraxall Episode: "Count Magnus"[28]
SAS: Rogue Heroes Winston Churchill
2023 The Catch Ed Collier Channel 5 series - all 4 episodes
2023 Archie Stanley Fox
2024 Coma Simon Henderson


Year Title Role Notes
1988 High Hopes Wayne [6]
1992 Split Second Coroner's Assistant [6]
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies Principal Warfare Officer
1999 Onegin Guillot
2004 Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Charlie Parker-Knowles [6]
2006 Confetti Gregory Hough [6]
2007 The Golden Compass Bolvangar Official [6]
2008 Wild Child Mr Nellist [6]
2009 Nativity! Mr Gordon Shakespeare [6]
2012 Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger
2014 Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?
2017 Hampstead James Smythe
The Children Act Nigel Pauling
2018 The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Rupert
2019 We Are Where We Are Andy Short
2023 The One Note Man One Note Man Short
Wicked Little Letters Mr. Treading


  1. ^ "Jason Watkins". Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Andrews, Mark (22 March 2021). "Jason's journey from clown days to BAFTA (page 20-21)". Shropshire Star. thefreelibrary.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Laws, Roz (4 September 2011). "Vampire Jason Watkins reveals his Midland past and mild-mannered life off-screen". Birmingham Mail.
  4. ^ a b c Woods, Judith (30 April 2015). "Jason Watkins: 'After the Death of a Child, Work Has More Purpose'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  5. ^ "RADA Student & graduate profiles: Jason Watkins". RADA. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "NT: People: Company Members: Jason Watkins". Royal National Theatre. 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Olivier Winners 2001". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Jason Watkins". weblo.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  9. ^ "A Laughing Matter". variety.com. 2 February 2003.
  10. ^ "Theatre Royal Haymarket - Frozen". officialtheatre.com. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  11. ^ The Doctor Who Team (7 November 2012). "BBC Latest News – Doctor Who – Confirmed for 2013: Cybermen and Stellar Cast". Doctor Who. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Jason Watkins". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  13. ^ "The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies scoops two BAFTAs". Bristol Post. Local World. 10 May 2015. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Jason Watkins, Sherrie Hewson and John Challis confirmed for Are You Being Served? reboot". Radio Times. 22 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Jason Watkins". IMDb. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  16. ^ "ITV announces brand new season of original event drama Safe House". itv.com. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  17. ^ "What time is Hold the Sunset on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  18. ^ "The Catch: Release date, cast and news for Channel 5 drama". radiotimes.com. 11 January 2023.
  19. ^ "The Catch: Meet the cast of the channel 5 drama - including this Midsomer Murders star". hellomagazine.com. 25 January 2023.
  20. ^ "Cooking with the Stars line-up in full featuring iconic singer and boxing legend". Daily Mirror. 17 April 2023.
  21. ^ Walker, Danny (8 September 2015). "BAFTA-winning Jason Watkins opens up about losing his two-year-old daughter". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Jason Watkins & Clara Francis".
  23. ^ Jess Denham (10 May 2015). "Bafta TV Awards 2015: Georgina Campbell and Jason Watkins win Best Actor and Best Actress for hard-hitting dramas". The Independent. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  24. ^ Justin Harp (22 March 2016). "Emmerdale, Doctor Foster, Ant & Dec and Catastrophe win big at the Royal Television Society Awards". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  25. ^ "Jason Watkins". IMDb.
  26. ^ "A Very English Scandal Cast Credits". IMDb. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  27. ^ "'Climategate' and the Trick: Hacked emails, a media storm, years potentially wasted – why scientist Phil Jones wants the story to be retold". news.sky.com. 2021.
  28. ^ "Count Magnus". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 16 December 2022.