Anthony Stewart Head (born 20 February 1954) is an English actor and musician. He rose to fame in the UK following his role in the Gold Blend couple television advertisements for Nescafé Gold Blend, and is known for his roles as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as Uther Pendragon in Merlin.
Head was born in Camden Town, London. His father was Seafield Laurence Stewart Murray Head (1919–2009), a documentary filmmaker and a founder of Verity Films, and his mother is actress Helen Shingler. They had married in 1944 in Watford. His older brother is actor and singer Murray Head. Both brothers have played the part of Freddie Trumper in the musical Chess at the Prince Edward Theatre, London, with Murray a part of the original cast in 1986, whilst Anthony was in the final cast in 1989.
Head was educated at Sunbury Grammar School and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
In discussing why he chose acting as a career, in an interview in 2013 he said that 'When it's in your family, it's a choice, it's there. It's not a jump to say: ‘I want to act.’ When I was six I was in a little show my mother’s friends organised, playing the Emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes. I remember thinking: ‘This is the business, this is what I want to do.’
His first role was in the musical Godspell; this led to roles in television on both BBC and ITV, one of his earliest being an appearance in the series Enemy at the Door (ITV, 1978–1980). In the early 1980s he sang with the band Red Box. In the late 1980s, he appeared in a storyline series of twelve coffee commercials with Sharon Maughan for Nescafé Gold Blend. (A version made for North America featured the American brand name Taster's Choice.) The soap opera nature of the commercials brought him wider recognition, along with a part in the Children's ITV comedy drama Woof!
Head played Frank N. Furter in the 1990–91 West End revival of The Rocky Horror Show at London's Piccadilly Theatre, with Craig Ferguson as Brad Majors. In 1991 Head's rendition of "Sweet Transvestite" was released as a single by Chrysalis Records. Head played the role again in the summer of 1995 at London's Duke of York's Theatre, a 3 May 2006 tribute show at London's Royal Court Theatre, and a 14 October 2000 production at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Success on the stage and a number of brief appearances on American television, such as in the short-lived VR.5, led to accepting the role of Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997. For this role he lived full-time in the United States during the late 1990s and early 2000s, although his family continued to live in the UK. Head left the regular cast of Buffy during the show's sixth season and subsequently appeared several times as a guest star through the conclusion of the series. In many interviews at the time, Head said he left the show to spend more time with his family, having realised that he had spent most of the year outside Britain, which added up to more than half his youngest daughter's life.
Early to mid-2000s
In 2002, he co-starred in the BBC Two television series Manchild, a show centred around four friends approaching their fifties who try to recapture their fading youth and vitality while dealing with life as 'mature' men. He also appeared in guest roles in various other dramas, such as Silent Witness, Murder Investigation Team, and Spooks. He appeared in the 4th series of the British hit sitcom My Family in 2003 playing one of the main character's (Abi's) father in the episode "May the Best Man Win". He was featured as the Prime Minister in the popular BBC comedy sketch show Little Britain from 2003 to 2005, and guest starred in several episodes of the 2004 series of popular drama Monarch of the Glen.
Outside of television work, he has released an album of songs with musician George Sarah entitled Music for Elevators. Early in his career he provided vocals for some of the tracks on the Chris de Burgh album The Getaway and the reading from The Tempest on Don't Pay the Ferryman.
In 2001, he appeared in a special webcast version of the popular British science fiction series Doctor Who, a story called Death Comes to Time, in which he played the Time Lord Valentine. He also guest starred in the Excelis Trilogy, a series of Doctor Who audio adventures produced by Big Finish Productions, and in 2005 narrated the two-part documentary Project: WHO?, detailing the television revival of the series, for BBC Radio 2 (and released to CD in 2006 by BBC Audio). In April 2006 he appeared as a school's alien headmaster, Mr. Finch, in an episode of the second series entitled "School Reunion". Soon after, he recorded an abridged audio book of the Doctor Who novel The Nightmare of Black Island by Mike Tucker. He narrated the third and fourth series of Doctor Who Confidential. He also voiced the character Baltazar, Scourge of the Universe (an evil space pirate searching for the Infinite), in the first ever animated Doctor Who special, "The Infinite Quest". Head had previously auditioned for the role of the Eighth Doctor for the 1996 television film, but lost out to Paul McGann.
In early 2006, he appeared in an episode of Hotel Babylon, a BBC One drama set in a hotel, in which he played a suicidal man who recovers and lands a music deal. The same year he filmed a pilot for a new show entitled Him and Us, loosely based on the life of openly gay rock star Elton John, for American TV channel ABC, co-starring Kim Cattrall. In July he appeared as Captain Hook at the Children's Party at the Palace, a live pantomime staged in the grounds of Buckingham Palace as part of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday celebrations. In October 2006, he voiced Ponsonby, leader of MI6, in Destroy All Humans! 2.
At Comic-Con International in 2007, Joss Whedon said talks were almost completed for a 90-minute Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Ripper, as a BBC special, with both Head and the BBC on board.
In 2007, he portrayed Stockard Channing's gay brother in the English film Sparkle and appeared as Mr Colubrine in the ITV1 comedy drama Sold. Head also appeared as Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion. Head also narrated a BBC behind-the-scenes programme for the American television series Heroes, Heroes Unmasked. He has also been seen as Maurice Riley in the BBC Drama The Invisibles alongside Warren Clarke.
After seeing Anthony Head in the Buffy musical episode, "Once More With Feeling", Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman cast him in his 21st century rock opera, Repo! The Genetic Opera. Head plays the film's grim reaper, an organ repossession man doing the bidding of an out of control biotech company called GeneCo. "Anthony Head was my number one choice for Repo Man from the very beginning", said Bousman in an interview shortly before the film's release on 7 November 2008. The film also stars musical legend Sarah Brightman and paparazzi favourite Paris Hilton.
Head has also performed for radio, taking two of the lead roles—arch-villain Mr Gently Benevolent, and his descendant, journalist Jeremy Sourquill—in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series, Bleak Expectations (five series, 2007–12).
Head was part of the regular cast of the BBC drama series Merlin, which derives its title from the mythical wizard of the same name. Head played King Uther Pendragon, the father of Prince Arthur.
Head also provides voice-over work in the Nintendo Wii video game, Flip's Twisted World, developed by Frozen North Productions.
Head lives near Bath, Somerset, with his partner Sarah Fisher and has two daughters, Emily, born in December 1988, and Daisy, born in 1991, who are both actresses. On Saturday Kitchen, in September 2010, Head declared he is a pescetarian, he later clarified that statement in a tweet on 23 October 2012; in reply to the question "I read on Wikipedia that you're a pescetarian. Is that true?" he replied, "Ovopescolactarian xxx"
|1981||Lady Chatterley's Lover||Anton|
|1987||Prayer for the Dying, AA Prayer for the Dying||Rupert|
|1988||Collina del diavolo, LaLa Collina del diavolo||Michael Toyle|
|1992||Woof Again! Why Me?||Direct-to-video release|
|2003||I'll Be There||Sam Gervasi|
|2005||Framing Frankie||Dennis Folley|
|2005||Imagine Me & You||Ned|
|2006||Little Britain Live||Prime Minister||Direct-to-video release|
|2007||Magic Door, TheThe Magic Door||George||Direct-to-video release|
|2007||Amelia and Michael||Michael|
|2007||Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street||Ballad Ghost||Uncredited role
|2008||Repo! The Genetic Opera||Nathan Wallace/Repo Man|
|2011||Inbetweeners Movie, TheThe Inbetweeners Movie||Will's Father|
|2011||Iron Lady, TheThe Iron Lady||Geoffrey Howe|
|2012||Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance||Benedict|
|2013||Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters|
|1978||Enemy at the Door||Clive Martel||Episode: "Steel Hand from the Sea"|
|1978||Lillie||William Le Breton||ITV|
|1978||Accident||Simon Lovell||Episode: "The Figures Man"|
|1979||Mallens, TheThe Mallens||Weir||Episode: 1.1
|1979||Secret Army||Hanslick||Episode: "A Safe Place"|
|1980||Love in a Cold Climate||Tony Kroesig||Thames Television|
|1981||Crown Court||Timothy Preston-Berry||Episode: "Hen Party"|
|1981||Bergerac||Bill||Episode: "See You in Moscow"|
|1984–88||Comic Strip Presents..., TheThe Comic Strip Presents...||Ricki
Recording Studio Engineer
|Episodes: "Slags", "More Bad News"|
|1985||C.A.T.S. Eyes||James Sinden||Episode: "Goodbye, Jenny Wren"|
|1985||Howards' Way||Phil Norton||5 episodes|
|1987||Boon||Richard Rathbone||Episode: "Day of the Yoke"|
|1988||Pulaski||Dudley Fielding||Episode: "The Price of Fame"|
|1988||Rockliffe's Babies||Chris Patterson||Episode: "A Trip to the Zoo"|
|1993||Detectives, TheThe Detectives||Simon||Episode: "Acting Constables"|
|1993||Highlander: The Series||Allan Rothwood||Episode: "Nowhere to Run"|
|1994||Royce||Pitlock||Showtime television film|
|1995||VR.5||Oliver Sampson||Episodes: 5–13|
|1995||Ghostbusters of East Finchley||Terry||Episode: 1.5|
|1995||NYPD Blue||Nigel Gibson||Episode: "Cold Heaters"|
|1996||Roger Roger||Jimmy Price|
|1997||Jonathan Creek||Adam Klaus||Episode: "The Wrestler's Tomb"|
|1997–2003||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Rupert Giles||121 episodes; (main 1997–2001, Special Guest 2002–03)
Nominated-Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
|1999||Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place||Dr. Staretski||Episode: "Two Guys, a Girl and a Mother's Day"|
|2000||Best Actress||Colin Truemans||E! television film|
|2001||Silent Witness||Henry Hutton||Episode: "Two Below Zero"|
|2002||Spooks||Peter Salter||Episode: "Traitor's Gate"|
|2002||Fillmore!||Professor Third||Episode: "Red Robins Don't Fly", "A Cold Day at X"|
|2003||My Family||Richard Harper||Episode: "May the Best Man Win"|
|2003||And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself||William Benton||HBO television film|
|2003||Reversals||Mr. Andrew Barton||ITV television film|
|2003–06||Little Britain||Michael Stevens|
|2004||True Horror with Anthony Head||Presenter||Episodes: 1–5|
|2004||New Tricks||Sir Tim||Episode: 1.2|
|2004||Monarch of the Glen||Chester Grant||Episodes: 6.7–6.10|
|2005||Murder Investigation Team||Stewart Masters||Episode: 2.2|
|2005||Rose and Maloney||Dr. David Terry||Episode: 2.2|
|2006||Hotel Babylon||Mr. Machin||Episode: 1.2|
|2006||Doctor Who||Mr. Finch||Episode: "School Reunion"|
|2006||Children's Party at the Palace||Captain Hook||BBC television special|
|2006||Him and Us||Max Flash||Unsold television pilot|
|2007||Comic Relief 2007: The Big One||Various|
|2007||Persuasion||Sir Walter Elliot||ITV television film|
|2007||Totally Doctor Who||Baltazar||Voice role in The Infinite Quest|
|2007||Sensitive Skin||Tom Paine||Episodes: "The Signals", "Here I Am"|
|2007||Sold||Mr. Colubrine||6 episodes|
|2007–08||Heroes Unmasked||Narrator||Series 1 & 2|
|2007–09||Doctor Who Confidential||Narrator||30 episodes|
|2007–09||Little Britain||Prime Minister||23 episodes|
|2008–12||Merlin||Uther Pendragon||43 episodes|
|2008||Invisibles, TheThe Invisibles||Maurice Riley||BBC One series|
|2009||Free Agents||Stephen||Channel 4 TV series|
|2011||Free Agents||Stephen||NBC TV series (US Remake of the Channel 4 series of the same name)|
|2013||Dancing on the Edge||Donaldson||BBC Two series|
|2013||Warehouse 13||Paracelsus||3 episodes|
|2013||You, Me & Them||Ed Walker||UK TV Gold series|
|2014||Dominion||David Weel||Main cast|
|2007||Bleak Expectations||Gently Benevolent & Jeremy Sourquill|
|2011||Cabin Pressure||Herc Shipwright||Episodes: "Newcastle", "Ottery St Mary" "Rotterdam" "Vaduz" "Yverdon-Les-Bains"|
- Face in the window - EP (1983 album) with his band Two way
- "Sweet Transvestite" (1991 single) Chrysalis Records, 7″ single, 12″ single, CD single, and shaped picture CD
- Music for Elevators (2002 album) in collaboration with George Sarah
- Cry (2012 single) written by Marina Florance for the Oldie Composers Competition
- , Anthony Head at the British Film Institute
- at the Internet Movie Database
Articles and interviews
- , BBC Where I Live: Somerset (December 2006)
- , Helen Otter, BBC Where I Live: Somerset (April 2006)
- , TheTorchOnline.com (June 2009)
- at "Buffyguide"