Iain Carmichael Wilson
9 July 1936
|Occupation||Actor • theatre director • broadcaster|
|Notable work||See below|
|Television||Only When I Laugh|
One Foot in the Grave
Born and Bred
Britain's Best Drives
Richard Wilson(born Iain Carmichael Wilson; 9 July 1936) is a Scottish actor, theatre director and broadcaster. He is most famous for playing Victor Meldrew in the BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave. Another notable role was as Gaius, the court physician of Camelot, in the BBC drama Merlin.
Wilson was born in Greenock, Scotland.
He went to the Lady Alice Primary school in Greenock. He studied science subjects at Greenock Academy, then completed his National Service with the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Singapore.
Wilson worked in a laboratory at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow as a research assistant before switching to acting at age 27. He trained at RADA and then appeared in repertory theatres in Edinburgh (Traverse Theatre), Glasgow and Manchester (Stables Theatre).
Wilson initially turned down the role of Victor Meldrew and it was almost offered to Les Dawson before Wilson changed his mind.
Wilson was awarded the OBE in the 1994 Birthday Honours for services to Drama. In April 1996, he was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow for a term of three years.
The narration of "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus", from Strawbs' eponymous first album, was performed by Wilson.
Wilson's biography, One Foot on the Stage: The Biography of Richard Wilson, was written by James Roose-Evans.
In March 2011, Wilson presented an edition of the Channel 4 current affairs programme Dispatches entitled Train Journeys From Hell, with transport journalist Christian Wolmar highlighting the failings of the British railway network.
Wilson has lived in London since 1959.
Wilson has been a campaigner for gay rights for many years. He appeared at charity events organised by gay rights campaign group Stonewall, but had not discussed his own sexuality in interviews with the media. He was named in a list of influential gay people in 2013 by Time Out magazine, which he considered to have outed him.
Wilson is a supporter of his local football club, Greenock Morton, but he has come to lend greater support to English club Manchester United. He is a patron of the Manchester United Supporters Trust. Wilson is a good friend of his One Foot in the Grave co-star Angus Deayton, and is godfather to Deayton's son.
Wilson is one of the patrons of Scottish Youth Theatre. Wilson is also a long-time supporter of the charity Sense and in 2007 hosted their annual award ceremony. He is also one of the honorary patrons of the London children's charity, Scene & Heard. He has been Honorary President of the Scottish Community Drama Association (SCDA) since 1998.
Wilson is a supporter of the Labour Party and recorded the party's manifesto on audio for the 2010 general election.
It was reported on 12 August 2016 that Wilson had suffered a heart attack. He had been due to reprise the role of Victor Meldrew in a one-man show at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
In June 2021 Wilson was the guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. His choices included "Hammond Song" by The Roches, Symphony No. 6 in D minor by Sibelius and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack. His book choice was the poetry of Robert Burns and his luxury item was a subscription to The Guardian.
Wilson had one older sister, Moira, who died in 2021 aged 91.
Wilson won the TMA Best Director Award in 2000 for Mr Kolpert.