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Martin Shaw

Martin Shaw (born January 21, 1945 in Birmingham, England) is an English actor.


Shaw graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, after which he took key roles in the first revival of Look Back in Anger and in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Despite an extensive body of theatre and television work, he is best known for his role as Ray Doyle in the British television series The Professionals alongside Lewis Collins and Gordon Jackson. Despite the fame it brought him, Shaw claimed a dislike for the violent police series and his role in it.

Shaw made his 1967 TV debut as hippy student, Robert Croft, in Coronation Street.

Shaw also appeared as a Welsh medical student, Huw Evans, in the television comedy series Doctor in the House — Martin Shaw's character of Huw Evans later returned in a subsequent "Doctor" series as a very nervous expectant father for the Doctor at Large episode Mother and Father Doing Well.

His best known film role of the 1970s was as Banquo in Roman Polanski's 1971 film of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

In the 1980s, Shaw spent most of his working time in the theatre. His roles include Elvis Presley in the critically-acclaimed Are You Lonesome Tonight? written by Alan Bleasdale.

He returned to TV in the 1990s, taking leading roles in Rhodes and the police series The Chief. In 2001, he took on the title role of BBC drama Judge John Deed. He's also played the detective Adam Dalgliesh, starring in P.D. James' Death In Holy Orders in 2003 and The Murder Room in 2005. Another notable role was his portrayal of British South Pole explorer Robert Falcon Scott in The Last Place On Earth.

His first film role was as an Irish communist in Love on the Dole (1966). Operation Daybreak, Facelift, Cassidy and Ladder of Swords.

He has narrated many audiobooks including Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, Gulliver's Travels and Emily Brontė's Wuthering Heights.

Awards and nominations

In 1996, Martin Shaw won two awards, as well as receiving a nomination, for his performance as Lord Goring in An Ideal Husband on Broadway. The awards and nomiation are:

  • Winner of the Drama Desk Critic's Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.
  • Winner of the Theatre World Special Award for Ensemble Performance.
  • Nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.


  • Shaw made his first stage appearance, alongside his parents, at the age of three.
  • He's the son of an engineer and a champion ballroom-dancer. He hated school and enjoyed only English literature and drama lessons. Before acting, he worked in the sales office of a chemical company.
  • The afro hairstyle as seen in The Professionals was his idea.
  • In 1984 Shaw attempted a singing career, and released a 45.
  • He lives in a Quaker House in Norfolk, once owned by an ancestor of Abraham Lincoln. He also owns a crofter's cottage in Scotland.
  • The scar on his right cheek was the result of a vicious attack by muggers. His cheekbone had to be replaced by a plastic plate. He gave up alcohol after this attack and is also a strict vegetarian and since the late 1970s, a non-smoker.
  • Shaw has a private pilot's licence and owns a Boeing Stearman, a vintage bi-plane. He also has a motorbike licence and enjoys rock-climbing, playing football, horse-riding and yoga.

Personal details

Shaw has been married three times and divorced twice. He has three children by his first wife, actress Jill Allen whom he married in 1968, including son Joe who played a younger version of Martin's eponymous character in Rhodes. Sophie and Luke are also actors. His second wife was former nurse turned alternative therapist Maggie Mansfield. Shaw is now married to TV presenter, Vicky Kimm, who shares his love of flying.

Television appearances

  • Coronation Street (as Robert Croft)
  • The Professionals (1977-1981) (as Ray Doyle)
  • The Chief
  • Rhodes (1997) (as Cecil Rhodes)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (as Chauvelin)
  • A&E 1997-2002 (as Robert Kingsford)
  • P.D. James's Death in Holy Orders (2003) (as Adam Dalgleish)
  • Judge John Deed (as Judge John Deed)

Theatre appearances

  • Look Back in Anger
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1974) (as Stanley Kowalski)
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? (as Elvis)
  • An Ideal Husband (as Sir Robert Chiltern)
  • A Man For All Seasons (2005/6)

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