Russell Tovey Career Retrospective
To celebrate the release of LOOKING: SEASON ONE, coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 12th January 2015 courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment, and Season 2 due on Sky Atlantic soon, we take a look at the career of Russell Tovey, the lone Brit in season one who has excelled in theatre, film and TV roles over the years.
This pitch-perfect HBO series about three friends in San Francisco stars Russell Tovey as Kevin Matheson alongside Jonathan Groff (Patrick), Frankie J Alvarez (Agustín) and Murray Bartlett (Dom) as the central characters attempting to navigate the various pitfalls of dating, careers and everything in-between. Tovey plays Patrick’s boss and the pair develop an inappropriate, flirtatious relationship that leads to a mix of gratification and regret. Tovey has been promoted to series regular for the second season, due to air in 2015.
The History Boys (2004-2006)
In 2004, Tovey scored the role of Rudge in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys at the Royal National Theatre after a number of promising theatre appearances straight out of high school. Tovey also went to Broadway with The History Boys and although he originally auditioned for the role of Crowther, he agreed to act the part of Rudge after Bennett promised to beef up the role. Rudge, the dopey and intellectually challenged member of the highly intelligent history boys, attains his place at an Oxbridge university on the basis of his prowess on the sports field.
My Family and Other Animals (2005)
In 2005, Tovey played Leslie Durrell in My Family and Other Animals, an autobiographical film by naturalist Gerald Durrell which tells the tale of his childhood on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939. The autobiography is a comic exaggeration of the foibles and anecdotes of the Durrell family in the four years before WWII. Also starring Eugene Simon, Imelda Staunton and Chris Langham, Tovey shines as Leslie, who develops a distinct passion for sailing and ballistics.
Gavin & Stacey (2007-2009)
James Corden and Ruth Jones’ award winning romantic sitcom Gavin & Stacey came to television screens in 2007 to widespread acclaim. The show captured the attention of the British public, who immediately fell for Jones’ macho catch-line machine Nessa and Corden’s hilarious, energetic and emotionally childish character Smithy, whilst also enchanted by the long-distance relationship between Gavin (Matthew Horne) and Stacey (Joanne Page). In the series Tovey plays the loveable nit-wit Budgie; one of Gavin and Smithy’s Billericay friends who develops an unlikely friendship with Brynn, played by Rob Brydon.
Tovey returned to television screens in January 2012 in ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’; the most iconic episode of Sherlock Holmes which also stars Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. He plays Henry Knight who, aged seven, saw his father torn to pieces by a monstrous creature at Dewer’s Hollow near their Dartmoor home. Twenty years later Henry happens upon the footprints of a huge beast and suspects that the nearby Baskerville government research station is breeding mutant animals.
When an island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by bloodsucking and sea-dwelling aliens, the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive. Tovey stars in this ridiculous yet entertainingly inebriated film as marine ecologist Dr Adam Smith. In Grabbers, Dr Adam Smith taints his blood with booze so that he is poisonous for the aliens to eat, alongside a hoard of fellow inebriated Irish villagers.
Being Human (2008-2012)
Being Human first aired in 2008 as a unique British supernatural drama television series in which a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost attempt as best as they can to live a “normal” life together and blend in with the ordinary humans around them. The show’s five series star Lenora Crichlow as Annie Sawyer (a ghost), Aidan Turner as John Mitchell (a vampire) and Tovey as George Sands (a werewolf). The show blends elements of horror drama and flatshare comedy as the three attempt to live together harmoniously whilst avoiding detection by the humans around them.
Effie Gray (2014)
Effie Gray is the biographical drama that takes a look at the mysterious relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride Effie Gray, played by Dakota Fanning. The screenplay, written by Emma Thompson, was cleared of two copyright lawsuits that had claimed the script had been plagiarised from earlier dramatisations. The lawsuits led to repeated delays of the completed film before it was finally released in October 2014. In the film, Tovey plays Ruskin’s butler George alongside an impressive supporting cast including Thompson, Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters.
LOOKING: SEASON ONE, is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 12th January 2015, courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment. The complete season is also available to own and watch instantly on Amazon Instant Video, Blinkbox, Google Play and iTunes.