Timothy Peter Pigott-Smith, OBE (13 May 1946 – 7 April 2017) was an English film and television actor and author. He was best known for his leading role as Ronald Merrick in the television drama series The Jewel in the Crown, for which he won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in 1985. Other noted TV roles included lead roles in The Chief, “ Midsomer Murders – Days of Misrule”,The Vice, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, King Charles III and two Doctor Who stories (The Claws of Axos (1971) & The Masque of Mandragora (1976)). Pigott-Smith appeared in many notable films including: Clash of the Titans (1981), Gangs of New York (2002), Johnny English (2003), Alexander (2004), V for Vendetta (2005), Quantum of Solace (2008), Red 2 (2013) and Jupiter Ascending (2015).
Pigott-Smith was born in Rugby, Warwickshire, the son of Margaret Muriel (née Goodman) and Harry Thomas Pigott-Smith, who was a journalist. He was educated at Wyggeston Boys' School, Leicester, King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon and Bristol University. He trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
After a long career in smaller roles, Pigott-Smith's appearance as Arthur Llewellyn Davies in the BBC's The Lost Boys mini-series led to his gaining his big break with the leading role of Ronald Merrick in the 1984 television serial The Jewel in the Crown. Other appearances include the title role in the crime drama series The Chief (1990–1993), a recurring role in ITV drama The Vice as Ken Stott's nemesis, Vickers, and Bloody Sunday. He appeared in two adaptations of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South; in the 1975 version he played Frederick Hale and in 2004 he played Frederick's father Richard. In 1995, he starred in a serial of the series Ghosts.
He was a regular narrator of documentary television series. He narrated the Battlefield series, which examines pivotal battles of the Second World War from an operations point of view. Later, he narrated a series on the British Royal Family, entitled Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work. The series followed Queen Elizabeth II for more than a year, including the 2007 state visit to the United States.
He appeared in Lewis in 2015 as a taxidermist in the episode "One For Sorrow". He also appeared on the ITV series, Downton Abbey in the third series' (third season) fifth episode as obstetrician/gynaecologist Sir Philip Tapsell, who was present at the death of Lady Sybil Crawley Branson (Jessica Brown Findlay) from eclampsia after giving birth to her daughter.
His film career included the 2004 film Alexander, The Four Feathers, Clash of the Titans, Gangs of New York, Johnny English, The Remains of the Day and V for Vendetta. He also appeared as Major General Robert Ford in director Paul Greengrass's Bloody Sunday (2002), and as the Foreign Secretary in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008). In February 2010 Piggott-Smith played Alan Keen in the television film On Expenses. He also had a cameo appearance as Sniggs in the BBC production of Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall in 2017. His final film role was that of Sir Henry Ponsonby, Queen Victoria's Private Secretary, in Victoria & Abdul (2017).
Pigott-Smith worked in the theatre in Shakespearean and Greek roles; for instance, he played Posthumus in John Barton's 1974 production of Cymbeline for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In early stage roles he is credited as "Tim Smith".
Contemporary works included Enron, playing Ken Lay, for the Chichester Festival Theatre, and then London, in 2009 and Tobias in A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre, London in 2011. He returned to the Almeida in 2014 as a post-accession Charles, Prince of Wales in King Charles III, for which he received a nomination for the Olivier Award for Best Actor, and his first Tony Award nomination for its production on Broadway in 2015. He also appeared as Charles in the 2017 film adaptation of the play.
He was also a radio actor, appearing in many productions on BBC Radio 4.
He wrote two children's books in the series The Baker Street Mysteries, featuring the exploits of Sherlock Holmes' Baker Street Irregulars – The Dragon Tattoo (2008) and Shadow of Evil (2009). He played Holmes in a BBC Radio adaptation of The Valley of Fear.
Pigott-Smith died suddenly on 7 April 2017, aged 70. He had been scheduled to appear in a touring production of Death of a Salesman, with opening night in Northampton only three days later. His wife Pamela Miles was also to appear in the play but she had withdrawn after breaking a bone and needing surgery. On 2 May 2017 Coroner for Northamptonshire Anne Pember confirmed she ruled that Mr Pigott-Smith died of natural causes and therefore she will not hold an inquest into his death.
|1976||Aces High||Maj. Stoppard||Jack Gold|
|1977||Joseph Andrews||Cornet||Tony Richardson|
|1980||Sweet William||Gerald||Claude Whatham|
|Richard's Things||Peter||Anthony Harvey|
|1981||Clash of the Titans||Thallo||Desmond Davis|
|Escape to Victory||Maj. Rose – The English||John Huston|
|1986||A State of Emergency||Ft. Joe Ryan||Richard C. Bennett|
|1993||The Remains of the Day||Thomas Benn||James Ivory|
|2002||Safe Conduct||Fleming||Bertrand Tavernier|
|Bloody Sunday||Maj. Gen. Robert Ford||Paul Greengrass|
|The Four Feathers||Gen. Faversham||Shekhar Kapur|
|Gangs of New York||Calvinist Minister||Martin Scorsese|
|2003||Johnny English||Pegasus, Head of MI7||Peter Howitt|
|2004||Alexander||Omen Reader||Oliver Stone|
|2005||V for Vendetta||Peter Creedy||James McTeigue|
|2006||L'Entente Cordiale||S.I. Masterson||Vincent De Brus|
|Flyboys||Mr. Lowry||Tony Bill|
|2008||Quantum of Solace||Foreign Secretary||Marc Forster|
|2010||Alice in Wonderland||Lord Ascot||Tim Burton|
|2011||My Piece of the Pie||Mr. Brown||Cédric Klapisch|
|2013||RED 2||Director Philips||Dean Parisot|
|2015||Jupiter Ascending||Malidictes||The Wachowskis|
|2016||Whisky Galore!||Woolsey||Gillies MacKinnon|
|2017||6 Days||William Whitelaw||Toa Fraser||Posthumous release|
|King Charles III||Charles III||Rupert Goold||Posthumous release|
|Victoria & Abdul||Sir Henry Ponsonby||Stephen Frears||Posthumous release|
|The Little Vampire 3D||Frederick||Richard Claus & Karsten Kiilerich||Posthumous release, Voice, (final film role)|
|1979||Measure for Measure||Angelo||Desmond Davis||BBC Shakespeare series|
|1982||I Remember Nelson||Capt. Thomas Hardy||4 episodes|
|2014||37 Days||Herbert Henry Asquith||Justin Hardy||TV 3-part miniseries|
Note: "Vocal performance" would be more accurate than "narration," in that each character in each book has a distinctive voice, women as well as men, and class differences and accents are made plain. In The Fortune of War, for example, Pigott-Smith portrayed 22 British, 9 Americans, and 2 French.
|2000||Blue at the Mizzen||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 5|
|2000||The Fortune of War||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 5|
|2000||Desolation Island||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 5|
|2000||The Far Side of the World||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: November 7|
|2000||The Ionian Mission||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 5|
|2000||The Letter of Marque||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 4|
|2000||The Mauritius Command||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 5|
|2001||The Nutmeg of Consolation||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: August 7|
|2000||The Reverse of the Medal||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 5|
|2000||The Surgeon's Mate||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: July 5|
|2001||The Thirteen Gun Salute||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: June 5|
|2001||The Truelove||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: October 9|
|2002||The Wine-Dark Sea||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: January 22|
|2000||Treason's Harbour||Patrick O'Brian||Release Date: October 10|
|2000||Seven Years in Tibet||Heinrich Harrer||Release Date: July 5|
|1995 (?)||The Warlord Trilogy||Bernard Cornwell|
Pigott-Smith won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in 1985, for his role in The Jewel in the Crown. In 2014–15, he was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for his lead role in the play King Charles III. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to drama.
|1985||BAFTA TV Awards||Best Actor||The Jewel in the Crown||Won|
|2002||Fantasporto Award||Directors' Week Award for Best Actor||Bloody Sunday||Won|