The “actor Kevin Eldon”, as he is occasionally referred to in self-mocking style, has had leading and supporting roles in many successful comedies over the last three decades. He started his career as a character based stand-up comic before collaborating with many of the top names in British comedy and TV. He has appeared in almost every notable British comedy series in some form of another, including roles in Brass Eye, Smack the Pony, Spaced, Black Books, Saxondale, I’m Alan Partridge, Nighty Night, Green Wing, Nathan Barley, Harry and Paul, Damned, the seminal Big Train & Jam and the BBC revival of Hancock’s Half Hour. He has also featured in Game of Thrones and voiced the character Penfold in the BBC revival of Danger Mouse alongside Alexander Armstrong and Dave Lamb. As a film actor Kevin has had a wide range of success and he has appeared in numerous films including Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning Hugo and hit British Comedies Hot Fuzz (dir Edgar Wright) and Chris Morris’ BAFTA Award winning Four Lions along with Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Kevin is also a published Author – in August 2014, his biography of his poet character Paul Hamilton was published by Faber and Faber.
Well known for her role in Titanic as Lady Duff Gordon, Rosalind Ayres’ numerous film and television appearances include Gods and Monsters, Outnumbered, New Tricks, Holby City, Poirot and Coronation Street. As well as many West End and Broadway successes she has also directed and acted in radio dramas for LA Theatre Works in America. She is married to the actor Martin Jarvis.
In a career spanning 35 years, Charles has amassed an impressive body of work as an actor in theatre, film and television. His roles include Henry V and Coriolanus for the Royal Shakespeare Company and TV credits for The Jewel in the Crown (BAFTA nominated for best actor), Rebecca and Bleak House. Major films include White Mischief, Last Action Hero and Michael Collins and more recently he has started HBO/Sky TV’s Game of Thrones.
Joanna’s career spans film, television and theatre. Her first major television role was as Elinor Dashwood in the BBC’s 1971 dramatisation of Sense and Sensibility. She is perhaps best known as the heroine of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and has also appeared in Bleak House, Miss Marple and Inspector Morse. In 2013 Joanna filmed Holby City and also joined the cast of Downton Abbey. She has many theatre and radio credits to her name and has recorded several audiobooks.
Joanna is a trustee of The National Brain Appeal and credits The National Hospital for saving her life. Along with her husband Edward Fox and children Freddie and Emilia Fox, she is a passionate supporter of the charity.
Richard Dawkins, FRS, is an evolutionary biologist and author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The God Delusion and many other books, several of which have been recorded with his wife, Lalla Ward, for audio versions. He is a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature, and winner of prizes including the Michael Faraday Award, the Shakespeare Prize and the International Cosmos Prize. He retired from the Charles Simonyi Professorship in 2008 and remains a fellow of New College, Oxford. In 2013 Prospect magazine’s poll of 10,000 readers voted him the world’s top thinker.
Professional actor and writer Simon de Deney is as well known for his plays on the Young Vic Director’s Programme as for his political opinions. He is a regular contributor to the Liberal Democrat Voice, and a force for social change in Hackney where he has lived for over 17 years.
Edward Fox, renowned for his role as Edward VIII in Edward and Mrs Simpson, has had a distinguished career on screen and stage. He won a BAFTA for best supporting actor in The Go Between and was the “The Jackal” in Day of the Jackal. Other films include A Bridge Too Far (another BAFTA winning role), Ghandi and The Dresser. Most recently he portrayed the older Winston Churchill in the award-winning The Audience. He was awarded an OBE in 2003.
Edward is married to Joanna David and is father of Emilia and Freddie Fox. Together, they are supporting The National Brain Appeal to raise money for The National Hospital – where Joanna received life-saving treatment.
Emilia, one of Britain’s most respected acting talents and current lead in the BBC’s Silent Witness, first appeared on television alongside her mother Joanna David in Pride and Prejudice (1995), before playing Mrs de Winter in Rebecca. Other television credits include Ballet Shoes, Merlin, and The Wrong Mans.
Emilia’s role in Polanski’s award-winning The Pianist was followed by numerous others, including: The Soulkeeper and Suspension of Disbelief.
Theatre credits include Coriolanus and Richard II (Almeida), Katherine Howard (Chichester Festival), and The Cherry Orchard (RSC).
Emilia is the daughter of Joanna David and Edward Fox and sister of Freddie Fox. She has been a supporter of The National Brain Appeal since her mother received life-saving treatment at The National Hospital.
Freddie graduated from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2010 and is currently shooting Pride. Later this year he will star alongside Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy in Frankenstein. In 2013 Freddie starred opposite Rupert Everett in the acclaimed production of David Hare’s The Judas Kiss. Other theatre credits include: Hay Fever, Cause Celebre and A Flea in Her Ear. TV credits include the title role in the BBC Dickens adaptation The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Any Human Heart, Worried About The Boy, and Parade’s End.
Freddie is the son of Joanna David and Edward Fox and brother of Emilia Fox. He feels passionately about supporting the hospital that saved his mother’s life.
Photograph: Jude Edginton
Photograph by Jude Edington
Last year Haydn played Margaret Thatcher opposite Helen Mirren as the Queen in the West End production of The Audience. She played Queen Elizabeth opposite Kevin Spacey as Richard III in Sam Mendes’s acclaimed Bridge Project production. For Stephen Daldry, she starred in the West End and later on Broadway in her multi-award winning role as the dance teacher in Billy Elliot The Musical. She has made numerous appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Peer Gynt, and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Haydn is best known on television for her lead roles in Peak Practice, Merseybeat, Nice Work, and Drop The Dead Donkey. Her numerous TV credits include HBO’s Rome, Sherlock, The Secret, and most recently Death in Paradise, Uncle and Silent Witness. She is currently shooting The C Word for the BBC.
Lily James graduated from drama school in 2010 and made her first appearance as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey in 2011. Other TV credits include The Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Just William. Lily has also starred in a number of theatre productions. As Desdemona in Othello she received rave reviews, and she has also appeared in Vernon God Little, Play House and The Seagull. Lily has recently completed filming Disney’s Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Brannagh, in which she stars in the title role.
Equally at home on stage, film, TV and radio, actor/director Martin Jarvis’s many credits include Doctor Who, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Endeavour, Murder She Wrote, Marple, EastEnders and Titanic He was ‘Jeeves’ on Broadway; and a long association with the BBC includes his bestselling recordings of Just William. With his wife Rosalind Ayres, Martin runs the award-winning company Jarvis & Ayres Productions.
Stage and screen actress Gemma Jones played Louisa Trotter in the BBC’s The Duchess of Duke Street and more recently was Queen Margaret in Sam Mendes’ Richard 111 at the Old Vic. She starred in Woody Allen’s film You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, played Mrs. Dashwood in Sense And Sensibility, Madam Pomfrey in three Harry Potter’ films and was Bridget’s mother in Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Glaswegian-born Scottish actress Phyllida Law’s many film credits include Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter Guest (for which she was nominated for a Chlotrudis Award). Married to actor Eric Thompson from 1957 until his death in 1982, she later wrote a book – Notes to my Mother-in-law – covering the 17 years Thompson’s mother lived with them.
Stephen Mangan is known for his role as Sean Lincoln in BBC comedy ‘Episodes’ with Matt LeBlanc and Tamsin Greig, now in its fourth series. Other TV includes title roles in Douglas Adams’ ‘Dirk Gently’, the Comic Strip film ‘The Hunt for Tony Blair’, and Guy Secretan in ‘Green Wing’. He also appeared in the feature film ‘Rush’ and played the title role in the animated movie ‘Postman Pat: You Know You’re the One’. He played Bertie Wooster in the critically acclaimed West End production of ‘Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense’ and will be appearing at The National Theatre in ‘Rules for Living’ from March 2015.
Steve is a Science Presenter and comedian with a reputation for providing expert knowledge and packaging complicated scientific ideas in an accessible and entertaining way. Currently presenting I Never Knew That About Britain on ITV, he was also the Science Presenter on BBC1’s Saturday night game show, Britain’s Brightest, hosted by Clare Balding.
Steve has a Physics MA from Oxford University and works frequently with schools, giving talks and demonstrations on Physics, Maths, Chemistry and Psychology. He is also one third of the hugely successful, geeky comedy trio, Festival of The Spoken Nerd. The group, stars of BBC Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage, have had sell-out shows across London and the UK.
Making her Royal Festival Hall concerto debut at the age of 16, Lucy Parham is today considered the leading interpreter of the works of Schumann and of his wife Clara. Parham – who has performed throughout the world – has directed two festivals devoted to Schumann, and is well known for her words-and-music concerts on Chopin, Liszt and Debussy. She is a critcally acclaimed soloist and a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine, Pianist Magazine and the Guardian.
Working in theatre, film, TV and radio Sophie made her debut at the age of 15 in the BBCs A Traveller in Time. Theatre credits include: Mrs Hardcastle in the National’s production of She Stoops to Conquer, the baker’s wife in Into the Woods at the Donmar (Olivier award) and Bev/Kathy in the Pulitzer prize winning Clybourne Park at The Royal Court and West End. (Olivier nomination). TV credits include: Eastenders (Inside Soap Best Bitch Award) and in film: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Persuasion and Dancing at Lughnasa.
Harriet has worked extensively in theatre, TV, film and radio. Last year she played Brutus in an all-female production of Julius Caesar while her roles at the RSC have included Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Lady Macbeth.
Harriet is best known on TV as Harriet Vane in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and as D.I. Natalie Chandler in Law and Order: UK. Her film credits include Young Victoria, Atonement, Sense and Sensibility and Milou et Mai. Harriet has also published three books including Facing It: reflections on images of older women.
Harriet was awarded a CBE in 2000 and a DBE in 2011.
Lalla Ward is an artist and actor. She has illustrated books by several authors including her husband, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, with whom she lives in Oxford with their dogs, Tycho and Cuba. She and Richard have recorded audio versions of many of his books, including The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker and The God Delusion, and often do readings together at literary festivals around the world. Lalla chairs the trustees of Denville Hall, the residential and nursing home for elderly members of the theatrical profession. She has had three exhibitions at the National Theatre in London.