Jul. 9th, 1936
Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Ian Colquhoun Wilson OBE (born July 9, 1936), better known as Richard Wilson, is a Scottish actor, theatre director and broadcaster, best known for playing Victor Meldrew in the popular BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave. He currently appears in the BBC drama Merlin.
Wilson was born in Greenock, Renfrewshire. He was educated in Greenock, studied science, and did National Service with the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Singapore. He worked in a laboratory at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow as a research scientist before switching to acting at age 27. He trained at RADA and then appeared in repertory theatres in Edinburgh (Traverse Theatre), Glasgow and Manchester (Stables Theatre).
Wilson was awarded the OBE for services to drama as a director and actor in 1994. In April 1996, he was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow for a period of three years.
Wilson has worked for the campaign group Stonewall,and the Labour Party. He is one of the Patrons for Scottish Youth Theatre, Scotland's National Theatre 'for and by' young people.The actor is also a long-time supporter of deafblind charity Sense and in 2007 hosted the Annual Sense Awards, honouring excellence in both deafblind people and those who work with them. He is also one of the Honorary Patrons of the London children's charity Scene & Heard.
The opening voice on Strawbs's eponymous first album providing narration on the track "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus" was spoken by Wilson. Owing to the popularity of One Foot In The Grave, Wilson is still hounded by members of the public to say the classic 'I don't believe it' catchphrase of his alter-ego Victor Meldrew.
At the height of his One Foot ... fame, he appeared in an advertisement for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! in character, as Victor Meldrew. The advert saw Meldrew, confronted by a supermarket taste-test. In a break from tradition, the veteran disbelief enthusiast simply chose to believe that the spread on offer was indeed butter. His famous catchphrase roar of "I don't believe it!" only reared its head after one of the staff conducting the test (played by a fresh-faced James Corden) ate all the crumpets on offer.
Wilson's biography, One Foot on the Stage: The Biography of Richard Wilson , was written by James Roose-Evans.
In 2010 Wilson recorded the audio version of the Labour Party's manifesto for the 2010 General Election.
The Sweeney (1978) episode "The Bigger They Are" as DCI Anderson
The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends as the voice of Mr McGregor (1992)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1985) episode The Red Headed League as Duncan Ross
Andy Robson (1982–83)
Born and Bred
Doctor Who — episodes "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" (2005) - Doctor Constantine
Hot Metal (1988)
Selling Hitler (1991)
King of Fridges (2004) (as Frank)
Father Ted — episode "The Mainland"
Inspector Morse - episode "Absolute Conviction"
Mr Bean — episode "The Trouble With Mr Bean" as The Dentist
My Good Woman
Life As We Know It
One Foot in the Grave (as Victor Meldrew)
Only When I Laugh
A Sharp Intake Of Breath
Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em -episode "Wendy House"- As an Insurance claims adjuster
Star Portraits with Rolf Harris - celebrity "sitter" in one episode of the portraiture contest.
Jeffrey Archer: The Truth as Duke of Edinburgh
Crown Court (1970s) - as a barrister.
Thank God You're Here
Merlin - as Gaius
Demons - as Father Simeon
Britain's Best Drives
The F Word - Appeared as himself in the middle of the first season.
Would I Lie To You?
New Tricks (2009) - as Father Bernárd in episode "The War Against Drugs"
A Harlot's Progress (2006)
A Dry White Season
A Passage to India
Carry On Columbus
How to Get Ahead in Advertising
Prick Up Your Ears
Soft Top, Hard Shoulder
The Man Who Knew Too Little
Women Talking Dirty
Twelfth Night, as Malvolio - Royal Shakespeare Company
Whipping it Up by Steve Thompson - Bush Theatre, Ambassadors Theatre
What the Butler Saw, as Dr Rance - Royal National Theatre
Peter Pan, as Mr Darling/Captain Hook - Royal Festival Hall
Waiting for Godot, as Vladimir - Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Uncle Vanya, as Vanya - Traverse Theatre
Wilson won the TMA Best Director Award in 2000 for Mr Kolpert.
The Woman Before by Roland Schimmelpfennig - Royal Court, May 2005
East Coast Chicken Supper by Martin J Taylor - The Traverse, 2005
Rainbow Kiss by Simon Farquhar - Royal Court, April 2006
A Wholly Healthy Glasgow by Ian Heggie - The Royal Exchange Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival, The Royal Court, 1988/89
- He initially turned down his most famous role as Victor Meldrew, since he was only 53 and the character was supposed to be over 60.
- He appeared with actors 'James Fox (I)' (qv) and 'Edward Fox (I)' (qv) in both _A Passage to India (1984)_ (qv) and _Gulliver's Travels (1996) (TV)_ (qv): the only productions the two brothers appeared in together.
- He graduated from RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England) in 1965, having made his professional debut in the previous year.
- He was a supporter of the Labour Party and an opponent of the Iraq war.
- Strong supporter of the gay rights group Stonewall, and served as best man at 'Antony Sher' (qv) civil partnership ceremony in December 2005.
- He was the Rector of the University of Glasgow from 1996 to 1999.
- He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1994 for his services to drama.
- He is Patron of Shareholders United, a not-for-profit, democratic and non-party political organization whose members are Manchester United supporters holding shares in Manchester United football team as part of their emotional stake in the club.