Alun Armstrong (born Alan J. Armstrong on 17 July 1946) is an English actor and singer, perhaps best known for his role as Brian Lane, in New Tricks.
Armstrong was born in Annfield Plain
, County Durham
on the 17 July 1946
. Born to English
parents, his father was from Cumberland
and his mother from County Durham
. He attended the local grammar school (Consett Grammar School). He is the father of actor Joe Armstrong
, who found fame in the current BBC version of Robin Hood
Armstrong made his debut in the 1971 film Get Carter
, and has since worked regularly in British stage
and television productions, such as Granada Television
's The Stars Look Down
(1975), often playing leading characters. Armstrong has also appeared in several films, although in this medium he has usually played supporting or minor roles. Recently, he has appeared in the films Sleepy Hollow
, The Mummy Returns
and Van Helsing
. On television, Armstrong has played the character of Brian Lane in the highly popular BBC
drama New Tricks
where he was reunited with James Bolam with whom he appeared in an episode of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads called "Conduct Unbecoming" and the feature film The Likely Lads where he played Terry's milkman. He also played Austin Donohue in the 1996 BBC
drama series Our Friends in the North
, a character based on the politician T. Dan Smith
, Inspector Bucket in the 2005 BBC
adaptation of Bleak House
and Mr Evans in Carrie's War
. This winter, he will be appearing as Jeremiah Flintwinch in the BBC
's adaptation of Little Dorrit
Armstrong spent nine years with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford upon Avon and London, including the roles of Mr Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby, Petruchio in The Taming of The Shrew, Barabas in The Jew of Malta and Monsieur Thénardier in the original cast of Les Misérables. In 2006, he returned to the London stage to star in Trevor Nunn's new production of The Royal Hunt of the Sun at the National Theatre. Later in 2006 he starred as Uncle Garrow in the film Eragon. He has been nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award six times and won in 1994, for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance of Sweeney Todd in the musical of the same name.
Armstrong is well known for his ingenious performance as Thénardier in the original London production of Les Misérables in October 1985 with Sue Jane Tanner alongside him as Mme. Thénardier, for which he was also nominated for a Laurence Oliver Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He reprised this role in Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert, at the Royal Albert Hall in October 1995. There was evidence from the video that he was admired by most of his fellow co-stars, such as Anthony Crivello, Lea Salonga, Michael Ball and Philip Quast.
In 2003, Armstrong starred alongside his son, Joe Armstrong, in the ITV1 drama Between the Sheets.