Ben Miles is an English stage and screen actor who has played several supporting and lead roles, most notably ‘Patrick Maitland’ in the comedy series ‘Coupling,’ ‘Montague Dartie’ in the widely acclaimed period drama ‘The Forsyte Saga,’ ‘Browning’ in ‘Dracula,’ and ‘Peter Townsend’ in the Netflix original ‘The Crown.’ Miles has also featured in several Hollywood films, such as ‘Ninja Assassin’ and ‘Speed Racer’; he shared screen space with Natalie Portman in the cult movie ‘V For Vendetta.’ He co-starred as ‘Tom Pickering’ in ‘Black Mirror’ in its 2016 episode ‘Hated in the Nation.’ His theatre repertoire includes several prominent plays over 3 decades.
Childhood & Early Years
Ben was born Benjamin Charles Miles on September 29, 1966, in Wimbledon, London, UK, and grew up in Ashover, Derbyshire. His father’s name is Peter Miles.
As a youngster he went to the ‘Tupton Hall School’ in Chesterfield, and acted in several productions - initially as a rue to avoid classroom studies. Later, he attended the ‘Guildhall School of Music and Drama’ in London, whose alumni list includes the likes of Daniel Craig, Orlando Bloom, and Joseph Fiennes.
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Ben began his acting career in 1989, playing Barnardo in a ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’ production of ‘Hamlet’ at the ‘Royal Shakespeare Theatre’ in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
In 1993, he appeared in another ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’ production of Shakespeare's ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’ at the ‘Barbican Theatre’ in London. Later that year, he played both Donalbain and a young Seward in Shakespeare's ‘Macbeth’ at the ‘Laurence Olivier Theatre,’ London, with the ‘Royal National Theatre.’ He also acted in Arthur Wing Pinero's ‘Trelawny of the Wells’ at the same venue.
He acted in Ranjit Bolt's version of Molière's ‘The Miser’ at the ‘Chichester Festival Theatre’ in Chichester, West Sussex, in 1995, and three years later in 1998, appeared in Edward Ravencroft's ‘The London Cuckolds’ at the ‘Lyttelton Theatre,’ London.
Miles has appeared in several ‘Royal National Theatre’ repertoire seasons at the Laurence Olivier, Cottesloe, and Lyttelton theatres in London, between January 1992 and January 2002. He appeared in Kenneth Grahame's ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ Tennessee Williams' ‘The Night of the Iguana,’ George Bernard Shaw's ‘Pygmalion,’ Moliere's ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,’ Leo Tolstoy's ‘War and Peace,’ Arvind Sharma's ‘The Little Clay Cart,’ Anton Chekhov's ‘Uncle Vanya,’ and ‘The Cherry Orchard’; Bertolt Brecht's ‘The Good Woman of Setzuan,’ and ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’; Shakespeare plays like ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Richard II,’ ‘Othello,’ and ‘A Midsummer's Night Dream’; R.K. Narayan's adaptation of the Hindu epic ‘The Ramayana,’ and classic musicals like ‘Carousel,’ ‘Sweeney Todd,’ and ‘My Fair Lady.’
In September 2005, he reprised the role of Henry Bolingbroke (Duke of Herford) in a production of ‘Richard II’ at the ‘Old Vic Theatre,’ London, alongside Hollywood veteran Kevin Spacey, and Gary Raymond, his father-in-law.
In 2009, he was part of the ‘Tony Award’-winning cast of ‘The Norman Conquests.’ A couple of years later in the summer of 2011, he starred in Ian Rickson’s acclaimed revival of Harold Pinter's ‘Betrayal,’ at the ‘Comedy Theatre’ in London's ‘West End.’
Next he appeared in Hilary Mantel's ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ in Stratford and at the ‘Aldwych Theatre,’ London, in 2014.
In 2018, he portrayed one of the Lehman brothers in the ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ at the National Theatre, London. The production was later projected on screen under the title ‘National Theatre Live: The Lehman Trilogy’.
Film & Television Career
Miles began his screen career in ‘Getting It Right’ (1989). This was followed by almost a decade of small, episodic guest-roles on television, until he landed short-lived recurring roles on shows like ‘Wonderful You’ and ‘Peak Practice,’ both in 1999.
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His next film appearances came in 1997 in ‘A Merry War,’ an adaptation of George Orwell’s novel; and the multiple-Oscar nominated ‘The Wings of the Dove,’ both starring Helena Bonham Carter again.
In 2000, he landed his breakout role in hit comedy ‘Coupling,’ following which he appeared in series, ‘The Forsyte Saga’ and ‘Prime Suspect,’ in 2002. He also appeared in a bit part in the Oscar-nominated period piece ‘The Affair of the Necklace’ (2001), starring Hilary Swank.
In the mid and late 2000s, he worked with renowned filmmaker James McTeigue in films such as ‘V for Vendetta’ (2005), ‘Speed Racer’ (2008), and Ninja Assassin (2009). Later, he appeared as ‘Sir Timothy’ in ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ in 2008. In 2010, he appeared in the lead role of ‘Pulse’ opposite Claire Foy, who was also his co-star in ‘The Promise’ (2011).
Miles rose to prominence in 2016, when he played ‘Peter Townsend’ in Netflix’s ‘The Crown,’ where he reunited with Foy again. Later that year, he landed the guest role of ‘Chancellor Tom Pickering’ in an episode of the dystopian sci-fi ‘Black Mirror.’ The hit anthology series was originally premiered for two seasons on Britain’s Channel 4, but was bought by Netflix about a year after its late 2014 addition to their online catalogue.
The actor has appeared as ‘Major Harry Markham’ and ‘DSU Jack Haley’ in mini-series, ‘The Last Post’ (2017) and ‘Collateral’ (2018), respectively. Her has also appeared in films like Judi Dench starrer ‘Red Joan’ and Paul Rudd starrer ‘The Catcher Was a Spy’, both in 2018. Another mini-series, ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler,’ is in post-production.
Family & Personal Life
Miles is married to actress Emily Raymond, and together they have three children. The couple had previously appeared alongside each other in an episode of ‘Peak Practice,’ back in 1999.
He is an expert player of the bass, drums, as well as the guitar, and has appeared in two music videos - ‘Fingers & Thumbs’ (Cold Summer's Day) by ‘Erasure,’ and ‘All About You’ by English pop rock band ‘McFly.’
He is known for his mastery over various British accents - Cockney, Geordie, and Scouse.
After his role in ‘Black Mirror,’ the actor was quoted saying - “I’ve become more aware of CCTV cameras, and there are a lot. I think the UK is one of the most densely watched populations on the planet.”