Matthew MacFadyen

Matthew MacFadyen


10/17/1974, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, UK

Birth Name

Matthew MacFadyen


  • Jerome Flynn and Matthew Macfadyen on Ri...
  • Matthew Macfadyen on Ripper Street Seaso...
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British actor Matthew MacFadyen, known to television audiences as MI5 agent Tom Quinn on the BBC action-drama Spooks, was born to an actress and drama teacher mother and a father who was in the oil business. As a result, his family moved around the world a great deal.…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • MacFadyen prefers performing on stage more than appearing onscreen.

    • Aside from both appearing as lead actors in Spooks, Matthew and his wife Keeley Hawes worked together in Death at a Funeral (2007) and "Season 1, Episode 7" of Ashes to Ashes, wherein Keeley is a series regular.

    • In portraying Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Matthew based his performance solely from the script since he had not read the book prior to shooting the film.

    • Matthew is allergic to cats. He also has a fear of horses. In one of his horse-riding scenes in Pride & Prejudice, he was on a ladder rather than an actual horse.

    • In 2007, Matthew narrated for the PC version of the video game Robin Hood's Quest while he and his wife Keeley Hawes did the narration for the PS2 version.

    • MacFadyen did voice acting work for the following BBC radio programmes: The Voyage of the Beagle (2000), Trampoline (2001), Getting Away From It: The Island (2004), and Making of Music (2007).

    • When he was a teenager, Matthew admired actors Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh, and Michael Gambon.

    • In 2004, Matthew lent his voice for the reading of the audiobook Coma by Alex Garland. He also narrated Tony Parsons' Stories We Could Tell in 2005.

    • On April 26, 2009, Matthew finished the Flora London Marathon with a final time of 4:54:44. He ran with the TV Times Adidas Leukaemia Research team.

    • In 2002, he began a relationship with his Spooks co-star Keeley Hawes (Zoe Reynolds). They got married in October 8, 2004 in a private ceremony at their local registry office. They have two children: daughter Maggie (b. December 2004) and son Ralph (b. September 2006). He also has a stepson, Myles (b. 2000), from Hawes' previous marriage to entrepreneur Spencer McCallum.

    • Matthew is 6' 3" (1.91 m). He has brown hair and blue eyes.

    • Theatrical Credits:
      The Crimson Island as Dymogatsky (RADA, 1994)
      Lorca's Death as Rafael/Intellect, (RADA, 1994)
      The Feigned Inconstancy as Chevalier, (RADA, 1994)
      The Beggar's Opera as Macheath, (RADA, 1994)
      One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as Chief Bromden, (RADA, 1995)
      The Libertine as John Wilmot, (RADA, 1995)
      The Duchess of Malfi as Antonio Bologna, (Cheek By Jowl Theatre Company, 1995)
      A Midsummer Night's Dream as Demetrius, (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1996)
      Much Ado about Nothing as Benedick, (Cheek By Jowl Theatre Company, 1998)
      The School for Scandal as Charles Surface, (Royal Shakespeare Company 1998)
      Battle Royal as Mr. Brougham, (National Theatre, 1999)
      Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 as Henry, (National Theatre, 2005)
      Total Eclipse as Paul Verlaine, (Royal Court Theatre, 2006)
      The Pain and the Itch as Clay as Clay, (Royal Court Theatre, 2007)

    • His film debut was in the Ben Elton film, of his own novel, Maybe Baby (2000), wherein he played Hugh Laurie's obnoxious boss, Nigel. His television debut was portraying Hareton Earnshaw in the 1998 Granada Television production of Wuthering Heights.

    • Awards and Nominations:
      1998 (N) - Best Classical Actor Under 30, RSC Ian Charleston Award
      2000 (N) - Best Actor - Male, Royal Television Society (UK), for Warriors
      2005 (N) - Best Actor, British Independent Film Awards, for In My Father's Den
      2005 (W) - Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, New Zealand Screen Awards, for In My Father's Den
      2006 (W) - Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards, for Pride and Prejudice, shared with castmates
      2006 (N) - ALFS Award: British Newcomer of the Year, London Critics Circle Film Awards, for Pride and Prejudice
      2008 (N) - Best Actor, BAFTA TV Award, for Secret Life
      2008 (W) - Best Actor - Male, Royal Television Society (UK), for Secret Life
      2009 (N) - Best Actor - Male, Royal Television Society (UK), for Little Dorrit
      2009 (N) - Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Screen Actors Guild Awards, for Nixon, shared with castmates

    • In 1992, he was turned down by the National Youth Theatre, but was accepted at Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), where he became friends with Merseybeat actress Josie D'Arby.

  • Quotes

    • Matthew: The point of being an actor, the whole idea of being an actor is that people don't know who you are. If they know who you are you can't do it, you're f*cked.

    • (about being cast on "Little Dorrit")
      Matthew: This story really blew my hair back. Then when the rest of the casting came through, I couldn't believe my luck. I've been in some sexy casts in my time, but nothing quite like this!

    • (on doing a Hollywood blockbuster)
      Matthew: I don't get excited by the whole zhooshiness factor... Apart from earning an awful lot of money, why would you want to go to LA and try to bag a film regardless of how crap it is, when you could be struggling with such a challenge? It's bullshit.

    • Matthew: I would hate not to do a play every couple of years. I think it's not me. I did four or five years in telly, and by the end of it was drained. I was a bit sick of myself. I didn't feel like an actor anymore. That sounds silly, but when you're doing a play you're using different muscles, and it blew all the cobwebs away.

    • Matthew: I try to be fussy about the parts I play. I think that's quite prudent, it means you're stretching different muscles, and you're scaring yourself by doing something which is out of your comfort zone.

    • (on playing a pedophile on "Secret Life")
      Matthew: It's a really horrible moment. I just let it pass through me. It's my job to do what the character does and try and make it as real as possible, but I'm quite good at switching off. I went home afterwards and cooked dinner and joked with my kids. I had no qualms about taking on the role because I am pleased with the way the story has been handled. As an actor, you can't judge your character.

    • Matthew: The lovely thing about being an actor is being anonymous, it's never having to explain yourself. And that's what I find interesting about actors or painters I admire. I don't want to know about their lives. I don't really want to know what Anthony Hopkins has for breakfast. It's kind of bollocks, isn't it?

    • Matthew: I just loved the whole idea of being an actor. We were waiting by the coach to go back to school where I was, and I'd look at the stage door and think, these creatures - where do they live? Where are they going now? To the pub! Wow! What's exciting is there's a curtain that divides the audience from this other world. You want to see behind.

    • (on the popularity of "Spooks")
      Matthew: The scripts are really good and they're exciting and they crack along quickly. It's glamorised and everyone likes spies, and it's three young people saving the world every week. It's topical with what's going on, I guess that's what really drew people in. And there's nothing been on like it before, it's not a cop show, there hasn't' been this kind of show on before I don't think.

    • (on storytelling in the theatre)
      Matthew: And in the theatre, if there are a thousand people there and they're all... (he mimes being open-mouthed) it's fabulous, not in an egotistical way, but it's meaningful because you're sharing an experience. When it's like that it's such a high. That's why I wouldn't want to leave it so long before doing a play again, I get very stolid and sluggish if I do too much telly.

    • (on how he felt about the period of "Pride and Prejudice")
      Matthew: It makes you stand better. It would feel wrong to slouch. It's before Freud and the idea of the individual and I like the formality of it, the reserve, the bowing and standing up - things that were second nature. You would never think of saying: 'This is how I feel.' It's fairly buttoned up.

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    Pride & Prejudice was the first picture I have ever seen this man, however, I thought he did a splendid job. He carried himself very well.

    He is attractive, not my particular type, but nice to look at. I thought he was much more attractive with the shaggy hair look from Pride & Prejudice rather than the shade head he has now.