A slightly paunched British actor of stage, television, and films, Timothy Spall has played a wide array of character parts, but his career has been most enhanced through his work with writer-director Mike Leigh. He first teamed with Leigh on the television drama "Home Sweet Home" (BBC, 1981), playing one of a trio of postmen, then on-stage in "Smelling a Rat" (1988). Feature collaborations between the two include "Life Is Sweet" (1991), in which Spall played an inept restaurateur, and the acclaimed "Secrets & Lies" (1996), where he played Maurice, a gentle photographer who possesses secret knowledge about his family.
Spall studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he earned the school's prestigious Bancroft Gold Medal, then headed for the stage. Among his many successes were his performances as Bottom in the controversial Royal National Theatre production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", directed by Robert Lepage, and as Wackford Squeers in Trevor Nunn's production of "Nicholas Nickleby" at the Royal Shakespeare Company. But British audiences know him best from his television work, which included the early-80’s sitcom "Auf Wiedersehen Pet", and mid-90’s sitcom "Outside Edge", opposite Brenda Blethyn, who played his sister in "Secrets & Lies". American audiences saw him on the 1993 HBO special "Tracey Ullman: A Class Act", and as guest a star on "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (ABC, 1992).