Bill Paterson

Bill Paterson

Jun. 3rd, 1945
Born in
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
5' 7 1/2

Bill Paterson's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Law & Order: UK TV Show
Law & Order: UK
Shetland (UK) TV Show
Shetland (UK)
Little Dorrit (UK) TV Show
Little Dorrit (UK)
Criminal Justice (UK) TV Show
Criminal Justice (UK)
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (UK) TV Show
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (UK)
A History of Britain (UK) TV Show
A History of Britain (UK)
Smiley's People (UK) TV Show
Smiley's People (UK)
Sea of Souls (UK) TV Show
Sea of Souls (UK)
37 Days (UK) TV Show
37 Days (UK)
Shoebox Zoo (UK) TV Show
Shoebox Zoo (UK)
Ed Stone Is Dead (UK) TV Show
Ed Stone Is Dead (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Early years
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Paterson spent three years as a quantity surveyor's apprentice, before attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He made his professional acting debut in 1967, appearing alongside Leonard Rossiter in Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre. In 1970, Paterson joined the Citizen's Theatre for Youth. He remained there as an actor and assistant director until 1972, when he left to appear with Billy Connolly in The Great Northern Welly Boot Show at the Edinburgh Festival. Paterson would work with Connolly again, some years later, when he performed in Connolly's play An Me Wi' a Bad Leg Tae.
Paterson spent much of the 1970s in John McGrath's theatre company, 7:84 touring the United Kingdom and Europe with plays such as The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black Black Oil. He was a founding member of 7:84, and made his London debut in 1976 with the company. He appeared in the Edinburgh Festival and London with John Byrne's first play 'Writer's Cramp' and he first appeared in the West End when he took over the lead role in Who's Life is it Anyway? at the Savoy Theatre in 1979.
Paterson's career began to centre more on television than the theatre. His first appearances included the 1978 BAFTA award winning drama Licking Hitler, and playing King James in the UK television serial Will Shakespeare the same year. He played Lophakin in the BBC production of 'The Cherry Orchard' in 1981. Paterson did not, however, entirely neglect the theatre, and in 1982 he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Schweyk in another Brecht play, Schweik in the Second World War at the National Theatre. He was in the original National Theatre production of Guys and Dolls (1982), Death and the Maiden at the Royal Court and Duke of York's (1991–92) and Ivanov at the Almeida, London and Maly Theatre, Moscow (1997). His most recent theatre is "Earthquakes in London" at the National Theatre in the summer of 2010
The early 1980s also saw Paterson beginning to appear in films, including The Killing Fields, Comfort and Joy and A Private Function (all 1984). Other film credits include Dutch Girls (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1987), The Witches (1990), Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990), Chaplin (1992), Sir Ian McKellen's Richard III (1995), Bright Young Things (2003), Miss Potter (2006), How to lose friends and alienate people( 2008) and Creation (2009).
His extensive and award winning TV career includes a memorable portrayal of villain Ally Fraser in series 2 of Auf Wiedersehen Pet (1986), Smiley's People (1982), The Singing Detective (1986), Traffik (1988), The Crow Road (1996), and Doctor Zhivago (2002).
Much of his later work has been for the BBC, starring as Dr. Douglas Monaghan in three seasons of the supernatural drama series Sea of Souls. He also played the role of Dr. Gibson in the 1999 production of Wives and Daughters, and appeared in the 2008 BBC production of the Charles Dickens novel Little Dorrit as Mr Meagles, as DS Box in the first series of Criminal Justice (2008), and as Dr James Niven in Spanish Flu: The Forgotten Fallen in 2009. Since 2009 he has appeared as George Castle, the head of the CPS in Law and Order: UK.
Throughout his career he has appeared regularly in radio drama and provided the narration for a large number of documentaries. He provided the voice of the Assistant Arcturan Pilot in Episode 7 of the original BBC Radio 4 version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in 1981. In 2005, he would take a similar role as Rob McKenna, a lorry driver and unknowing Rain God, in Fits the 19th, 20th, and 22nd of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Quandary Phase.
In 2009, he narrated a BBC TV programme called 1929 - The Great Crash which recalled the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and compared it to the recent financial turmoil of 2008.
In 2003 Paterson began broadcasting his own radio stories Tales From the Back Green on BBC Scotland, which led to them being published by Hodder in 2008 and appearances at many book festivals throughout the UK
In 2010 Paterson starred in Doctor Who as Professor Edwin Bracewell, in the episode "Victory of the Daleks", with his character making a second appearance in the opening half of the season finale, "The Pandorica Opens".

Personal life
Paterson is married to stage designer, Hildegard Bechtler, with whom he has a son and daughter. They live in London.

Law & Order:UK TV Series (2009/2010) (TV)
Criminal Justice (2008) (TV)

  • Has worked on many voice-overs for documentaries such as Equinox, Horizon and Reputation. He has also worked extensively in radio, and has written and read his own stories for BBC Radio.
  • He played King James I in _"Life of Shakespeare" (1978)_ (qv) and his son, King Charles I, in _The Return of the Musketeers (1989)_ (qv).
  • Trained as a drama teacher at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
  • He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 1982, for his performance as Schwekyk in Bertolt Brecht's "Schwekyk in the Second World War" at the National Theatre.
  • His photograph appears in the background of the documentary _Lost in La Mancha (2002)_ (qv) on a pinboard: apparently he was cast in 'Terry Gilliam' (qv) 's "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" but did not film any scenes before production was called off.

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