John Shrapnel



Place of birth:

Birmingham, West Midlands, England, UK:


Shrapnel was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, the son of Mary Lillian Myfanwy (née Edwards) and journalist/author Norman Shrapnel.[1] As a stage actor, he was a member of Laurence Olivier's Royal National Theatre company and the Royal Shakespeare Company and most recently appeared as Sir Oliver Surface in The School for Scandal (directed by Deborah Warner) at the Barbican Centre in 2011. He has also appeared extensively in film and on television in roles in Elizabeth R, Z-Cars, Edward and Mrs. Simpson, 101 Dalmatians, Space: 1999, Inspector Morse, Coogan's Run, Notting Hill and Foyle's War. He presented an episode of the 1983 BBC television travel series Great Little Railways. He gave performances in three entries in the BBC Television Shakespeare plays and as Creon in the BBC's 1984 productions of the Three Theban plays of Sophocles. In America, he has starred in supporting roles as Senator Gaius in Gladiator, Nestor in Troy and Pompey in the second episode of Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. He also played the Jail Warden in the 10th Kingdom, an epic fantasy miniseries. He has the rare achievement of appearing in two episodes of Midsomer Murders as two different characters, in Death in Chorus and Written in Blood. Shrapnel appeared in an episode of Jonathan Creek as Professor Lance Graumann in the episode The Omega Man. He appears in Chemical Wedding alongside Simon Callow, telling the tale of the resurrection of occultist Aleister Crowley. Shrapnel also has experience in the field of BBC radio drama through such characters as Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse and William Gibson's Neuromancer. He is the son-in-law of Deborah Kerr through his 1975 marriage to her younger daughter Francesca Ann Bartley. They have three sons, the actors Lex Shrapnel (b.1979), Tom Shrapnel (b.1981) and the writer Joe Shrapnel (b.1976). They live in Highbury, north London.

Film Credits

King Charles III (2017)
as Archbishop of Canterbury
Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company Live: The Winter's Tale (2015)
Hamlet (2015)
as Claudius/Ghost
National Theatre Live: Macbeth (2013)
as Duncan/Seyton
The Awakening (2011)
as Reverend Hugh Purslow
The Duchess (2008)
as General Grey
Mirrors (2008)
as Lorenzo Sapelli
Chemical Wedding (2008)
as Crowley
Hindenburg: Titanic of the Skies (2007)
as Himself (Narrator)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
as Lord Howard
Alien Autopsy (2006)
as Michael Kuhn
Wachau - Land am Strome (2005)
as Narrator (English Version)
Troy (2004)
as Nestor
Seven Wonders of Ancient Egypt (2004)
as Narrator
Schönbrunn - Quelle der Schönheit (2002)
as Narrator (English Version)
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
as Admiral Bratyeev
Claim (2002)
Whistle (2002)
as Paul
Alone (2002)
as Hannah
The Body (2001)
as Moshe Cohen
Supermassive Black Holes (2000)
as Narrator
Gladiator (2000)
as Senator Gaius
Notting Hill (1999)
as PR Chief
Hornblower: The Frogs and the Lobsters (1999)
as General Charette
St.Stephan – Der lebende Dom (1997)
as Narrator (English Version)
101 Dalmatians (1996)
as L. Skinner
Two Deaths (1995)
as Cinca
England, My England (1995)
as Samuel Pepys
Fatherland (1994)
as General Globus
Selling Hitler (1991)
as Gerd Schulte-Hillen
For the Greater Good (1991)
as Norman May-Boys, MP
How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)
as Psychiatrist
Testimony (1988)
as Andre Zhdanov
Partition (1987)
as General Flood
Personal Services (1987)
as Lionel
Theban Plays: Antigone (1986)
as Creon
Theban Plays: Oedipus at Colonus (1986)
as Creon
Theban Plays: Oedipus the King (1986)
as Creon
Poppyland (1985)
as George Sims
King Lear (1982)
as Earl of Kent
Troilus & Cressida (1981)
as Hector
Timon of Athens (1981)
as Alcibiades
Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978)
as Major Alexander Hardinge
Professional Foul (1977)
Hennessy (1975)
as Tipaldi
Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)
as Petya

TV Series Credits

Apparitions (2008)
as Cardinal Bukovak
I Am Not an Animal (2004)
as Narrator
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2002)
as Sergent Mike McCaffrey
Waking the Dead (2000)
The 10th Kingdom (2000)
as Governor of Prison
Predators Killing for a Living (1997)
Bodyguards (1996)
Kavanagh QC (1995)
Between the Lines (1992)
as Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dunning
G.B.H. (1991)
as Dr Jacobs
Centrepoint (1990)
as Claud Wareing
About Face (1989)
Natural World (1983)
as Narrator
The Woman in White (1982)
as Sir Percival Glyde
Edward and Mrs Simpson (1978)
Space: 1999 (1975)
as Capt. Jack Tanner
Elizabeth R (1971)
as Earl of Sussex