Neil Anthony Morrissey (born 4 July 1962) is an English actor, singer and businessman. He is best known for his role as Tony in Men Behaving Badly, Eddie Lawson in Waterloo Road and Nigel Morton in Line of Duty.
Morrissey was born in Stafford to Irish parents. He and his brother Stephen (who died in 1997) were placed under a care order and later legally separated from their parents (both psychiatric nurses) after they went on multiple theft and burglary sprees. The boys spent much of their childhood in separate foster homes, Morrissey spending most of his time at the Penkhull Children's Home under the care of Margaret Cartlidge (Auntie Margaret). After studying at Thistley Hough High School in Penkhull, he was fostered by the family of his friend Mark Langston. This lasted for nearly two years after leaving the children's home at 17. He studied for his A levels at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College. During this time he was an active member of the Stoke Repertory Theatre, Stoke Schools Theatre, and Stoke Original Theatre and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1979. His successful application to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama resulted in an unconditional offer which paved the way for the next steps in his theatrical career.
On leaving the Guildhall, Morrissey paid off his student debts by landing parts in film productions. His first role in 1984 was Able Seaman Matthew Quintal in The Bounty alongside Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier.
In 1984 he also appeared in episode 5 (of series 5) of the police drama Juliet Bravo, shown on BBC1. Morrissey shot to fame in the mid-1980s as dim biker Rocky in the ITV drama series Boon. In 1990, he played the lead role of Noddy in the British spoof horror film I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle which involved many of the actors from Boon.
His role as Tony in Men Behaving Badly was created to replace the character of Dermot after Harry Enfield's departure from the series. The series became one of the most popular UK sitcoms of the 1990s and turned Morrissey into a national star and a target for the tabloid newspapers. His ongoing romance storyline with co-star Leslie Ash led to the pair appearing in several advertisements for Homebase. In 1997, he starred in the Comedy Premiere The Chest and in 1998 two TV series: My Summer with Des and The Vanishing Man.
Circa 1999, Morrisey starred in a comedy drama called Shakespeare's Birthday, in which he played a coach driver. One of his colleagues was played by Tony Selby.
Morrissey also starred in the John Godber film about rugby league called Up n Under and voiced several characters in the children's television series Bob the Builder, including the lead character, in which role he scored a Christmas 2000 UK number 1 single with "Can We Fix It?". In 2015, he was fired from voicing the character and the role was given to Lee Ingleby. In addition, he provides the narration for Morph (in recent years) and Maisy.
His West End theatre work includes Speed, Robin Hood, The Daughter In-Law and his critically acclaimed West End performance in A Passionate Woman. In 2005 Morrissey performed in Victoria Wood's musical adaptation of Acorn Antiques The Musical alongside Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston and Josie Lawrence. Morrissey took over the role of Nathan Detroit from Nigel Lindsay in the London revival of Guys and Dolls from 6 March 2006 until June 2006.
In 2007 he appeared in British TV show Skins as the father of Cassie and made a guest appearance in Neighbours as a priest, remarrying long term characters Susan (Jackie Woodburne) and Karl (Alan Fletcher) on a boat in the River Thames. On 11 October 2007 he made his first appearance in the BBC's Waterloo Road as new deputy head teacher, Eddie Lawson. He was in this role for two series, making his final appearance in May 2009.
In August 2009 he promoted a national tour of the play Rain Man. During the 2009 Christmas season he played the role of Buttons in the Pantomime Cinderella at The Assembly Rooms in Derby. Morrisey returned due to popular demand in the pantomime Aladdin playing the character of Wishey-Washey at The Assembly Rooms in Derby.
In 2015, he played a character called Keith in the CBBC sitcom The Dumping Ground, for one episode. In December 2015, Morrissey starred in BBC Two's comedy drama A Gert Lush Christmas, playing the father of Russell Howard's character.
In 2016, he joined the cast of Grantchester for the second series. He played the role of Harding Redmond. Also in 2016, he took part in the second series of ITV's reality series Bear Grylls: Mission Survive.
On 1 April 2006, a BBC Three spoof programme titled Neil Morrissey's Secret documented sides of Morrissey's life that were previously unknown to the world at large. It alleged he has a house, wife and two children in Jordan as well as a degree in Botany for which he had studied for 20 years. These studies were integral to his motivation to find a breakthrough in anti-ageing. According to the documentary he has invented a cream called 'The Essence' which contains extracts of a plant found only in a remote Jordanian village. In the documentary the cream's acolytes include celebrities such as Jane Seymour, Gloria Hunniford and Philippa Forrester. The show followed Morrissey as he carried out his research which involved years of study and crossing continents, funded by his lucrative acting career. Ultimately Morrissey launches the cream only to have his friends concerned for his health, his laboratory broken into, and a trip to Jordan where he finds that the villagers whose trust he had gained through time spent with them, have abandoned their homes because of the fall-out of his discovery. This hoax was launched on 1 April and despite the suspicions caused by this date as April Fool's Day, it still managed to convince some people that it was true.
Morrissey's love of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas led to him and his business partners Matt Roberts and Kevin Roos buying up numerous properties in the village of Laugharne, including the Hurst Hotel, the New Three Mariners pub and Brown's Hotel in April 2004 for £670,000. In October 2006 it was announced that the business had put Brown's Hotel on the market in order to finance the redevelopment of the Hurst Hotel, and the expansion of the private members' club, Hurst House in Covent Garden, London. In July 2008, with delays encountered on the construction of Hurst House-at-the-Mill, a luxury hotel in Hertfordshire due to open in 2009, the Laugharne-based assets of the Hurst House group went into a packaged administration. The assets were subsequently bought by new investors backing Roberts, resulting in the end of Morrissey's association with Laugharne.
Morrissey part owned the lease on the Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn in Marton, North Yorkshire. From this base came the Morrissey Fox range of real ale beer, developed by Morrissey and chef Richard Fox which is still in production. In June 2009, it was reported that his Welsh pub had failed and that the company owed £250,000, and the lease to Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn was handed back to the owner after just 18 months on 22 October 2009.
Morrissey avoided bankruptcy over his failed business ventures but entered an IVA.
Morrissey married Amanda Noar in 1987 after meeting her when she guested in an episode of Boon; the couple have a son born in 1989. He also has five nieces and a nephew. The couple divorced in 1991. He then became engaged to actress Elizabeth Carling whom he had first met in 1989 when she too was working on Boon. They parted on good terms: she later guested alongside him on Men Behaving Badly. His subsequent affairs have been well documented by the British tabloids, including dating Rachel Weisz after starring together in My Summer with Des in 1998: they lived together at his flat in Crouch End.
The tabloid interest peaked with Morrissey's affair with actress Amanda Holden at the height of his fame in 2000 and when her husband, comedian Les Dennis was taking part in Celebrity Big Brother. The affair was the primary reason for Holden's and Dennis's separation and subsequent divorce. At the story's height, there were 35 photographers outside his apartment block, and he had to ask a neighbour to buy him milk and other essentials – he later asked the police to help him get to his car.
Morrissey has numerous tattoos. According to one version of their origin, Morrissey applied them himself with needles and Indian ink. On his left arm is his first name and a blob which was going to be his initials before it became infected causing him to require an anti-tetanus injection. On his right is a squiggle which is a reversed version of The Saint logo. Morrissey himself says the tattoos were done by other boys at the children's home. The boys there apparently saw that he did not have a tattoo and so gave him the option of a tattoo or a beating. He decided on the tattoo and now regrets not taking the other option.
In 2006 Morrissey was awarded an honorary degree from Staffordshire University.
|1984||The Bounty||Seaman Matthew Quintal||Film debut|
|1990||I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle||Noddy, aka Nick Oddie|
|1992||The Ballad of Kid Divine: The Cockney Cowboy||Cass Malone|
|1993||Liberation: Captive 2||Video game (voice only)|
|1995||Trafford Tanzi||Dean Rebel||TV movie|
|1996||The Vanishing Man||Nick Cameron||TV movie|
|Roger Roger||Phil||TV movie|
|1997||The Chest||John Croft||TV movie|
|1998||Jack and the Beanstalk||Jack||TV movie|
|Up 'n' Under||Steve|
|My Summer with Des||Martin||TV movie|
|1999||Hunting Venus||Charlotte||TV movie|
|The Flint Street Nativity||Adrian Atherton/Wise Man||TV movie|
|The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything||Director||TV movie|
|2000||Happy Birthday Shakespeare||Will Green||TV movie|
|2001||Bob the Builder: A Christmas to Remember||Bob/Lofty/Farmer Pickles||Direct-to-video animated film (voice only)|
|Another World||Captain Ronald Brimstone||Animated film (voice only)|
|2003||Bob the Builder: The Knights of Can-A-Lot||Bob/Lofty/Farmer Pickles||Animated TV movie (voice only)|
|2004||Monkey Trousers||Various roles|
|Bob the Builder: The Big Dino Dig||Bob/Lofty/Farmer Pickles||Direct-to-video animated film (voice only)|
|2005||The Adventures of William Shakespeare||Richard III|
|2006||Acorn Antiques: The Musical||John/Tony||Direct-to-video film|
|Curious George||Police Officer|
|2007||Ratatouille||Gusteau's Restaurant #1|
|2010||Inn Mates||Brian||TV movie|
|2011||The Adventures of William Shakespeare Vol. 2||Richard III|
|Care for Kids||Himself|
|2012||Run for Your Wife||Gary|
|1984||Juliet Bravo||Oliver||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1985||Roll Over Beethoven||Youth||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1985||Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense||Policeman||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1985||Travellers by Night||Flick||Miniseries – Recurring Role|
|1986||C.A.T.S. Eyes||Trevor||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1987||Pulaski||Tarquin Taylor||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1987–95||Boon||Rocky Cassidy||Recurring Role|
|1992–99||Men Behaving Badly||Tony Smart||Leading Role|
|1992||Cluedo||Gordan Ferrar||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1993||Comedy Playhouse||Danny||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1993||The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer||Himself||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1995||The Morph Files||Narrator||Recurring Role (Voice Only)|
|1995||Noel's House Party||Sammy Shammy||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|1997||Brambly Hedge||Wilfred Toadflax||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode (Voice Only)|
|1997||Rugrats||Wheezy Davis||"Send in the Clouds"|
|1997||Soul Music||Mort||Recurring Role (Voice Only)|
|1998||The Vanishing Man||Nick Cameron||Recurring Role|
|1998–2012||Bob the Builder||Bob/Lofty/Scruffty/Farmer Pickles||Leading Role (Voice Only)|
|1999||Maisy Mouse||Narrator (British Version)||(Voice Only)|
|2001||Look and Read||Zzaap||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode (Voice Only)|
|2002||Paradise Heights||Charlie Eustace||Recurring Role|
|2003||Murder in Mind||Stephen Kite||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|2003||The Eustace Bros.||Charlie Eustace||Recurring Role|
|2004||Unsolved History||Narrator||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|2004||Carrie & Barry||Barry||Miniseries – Recurring Role|
|2005||Bob the Builder: Project Build It||Bob/Lofty/Farmer Pickles||Recurring Role (Voice Only)|
|2007||Skins||Marcus Ainsworth||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|2007||Neighbours||Vicar||Guest Appearance – 1 Episode|
|2007–09||Waterloo Road||Eddie Lawson||Series regular|
|2011||Supersize Grime||Narrator||Recurring Role|
|2011||Inspector George Gently||Tony Hexton||Guest Appearance|
|2012-16||Line of Duty||DC Nigel Morton||7 Episodes|
|2012||Me and Mrs Jones||Jason||6 Episodes|
|2013||Skins: Pure||Marcus Ainsworth||2 Episodes|
|2014||Over to Bill||Jez|
|2015||The Dumping Ground||Keith||1 episode; series 3|
|2015||Death in Paradise||Disco Biscuit||Episode 4.5|
|2015||A Gert Lush Christmas||Dave Colman|
|2016||Grantchester||Harding Redmond||Second series|
|2016||Bear Grylls: Mission Survive||Himself, participant||Second series|
|2016||The Night Manager||Harry Palfrey|