Richard Wilson (Scottish actor)

Not to be confused with Richard Wilson (Australian actor).
Richard Wilson

Wilson in 2007.
Born Ian Carmichael Wilson
(1936-07-09) 9 July 1936
Greenock, Renfrewshire,
Nationality Scottish
Occupation Actor, theatre director, broadcaster
Years active 1964–present
Notable work See below
Television Only When I Laugh
One Foot in the Grave
Born and Bred
Britain's Best Drives
Doctor Who

Richard Wilson OBE (born Ian Carmichael Wilson; 9 July 1936) is a Scottish actor, theatre director and broadcaster. He played Victor Meldrew in the BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave. A later role was as Gaius, the court physician of Camelot, in the BBC drama Merlin.

Life and career

Wilson was born in Greenock, Scotland. He studied science subjects at Greenock Academy,[1] then did his National Service with the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Singapore. He worked in a laboratory at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow as a research assistant,[2] before switching to acting at age 27. He trained at RADA and then appeared in repertory theatres in Edinburgh (Traverse Theatre), Glasgow and Manchester (Stables Theatre).

He initially turned down the role of Victor Meldrew and it was almost offered to Les Dawson before Wilson changed his mind.[3]

Wilson was awarded the OBE for services to drama as a director and actor in 1994. In April 1996, he was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow for a term of three years.[2]

Wilson has worked for the gay rights campaign group Stonewall[4] and the Labour Party.[5] He is one of the patrons of Scottish Youth Theatre.[6] Wilson is also a long-time supporter of the charity Sense and in 2007 hosted their annual award ceremony.[7] He is also one of the honorary patrons of the London children's charity, Scene & Heard.[8]

The narration of "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus", from Strawbs' eponymous first album, was performed by Wilson.[9]

Wilson's biography, One Foot on the Stage: The Biography of Richard Wilson (ISBN 0752811150), was written by James Roose-Evans.[10]

He is a major supporter of the Labour Party, and he recorded the party's manifesto for the 2010 General Election.[11]

In March 2011, Wilson presented an edition of the Channel 4 current affairs programme Dispatches entitled Train Journeys From Hell, with transport journalist Christian Wolmar highlighting the failings of the British rail network.[12]

Personal life

Wilson was a supporter of his local football club, Greenock Morton, but he has come to lend greater support to English club Manchester United.[13] He is a patron of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.[14] Wilson has been a campaigner for gay rights for many years, and he came out as gay in a Daily Mail interview in March 2013.[15] Wilson is good friends with his One Foot in the Grave co-star Angus Deayton, and is godfather to Deayton's son.[16]


It was reported on 12 August 2016 that Wilson had suffered a heart attack. He had been due to reprise the role of Victor Meldrew in a one-man show at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.[17]



Stage acting

Theatre direction

Wilson won the TMA Best Director Award in 2000 for Mr Kolpert.[2]

Further reading


  1. Richard Wilson's Beacon Theatre hopes dated 27 Mar 2015 in Greenock Telegraph
  2. 1 2 3 "Richard Wilson – Drama Faces". BBC. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
  3. Plunkett, Richard (26 July 2016). "I don't believe it! Victor Meldrew role almost went to Les Dawson". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  4. Ahad, Nick (3 July 2011). "The big interview: Richard Wilson". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  5. Young, Kevin (20 April 2010). "Election 2010: Political celebrities – then and now". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  6. "Scottish Youth Theatre website". 26 March 2008. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  7. "Celebrity supporters of Sense". 24 June 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  8. "Scene & Heard – Who We Are". 2010. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  9. "Strawbs website". 22 November 1968. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  10. "One Foot on the Stage on Vialibri". Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  11. "Delay in Labour braille and audio manifesto criticised". BBC News. BBC. 15 April 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  12. "Train Journeys From Hell". Dispatches. Channel 4. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  13. Dugan, Emily (21 November 2010). "Richard Wilson: Retire? He doesn't believe in it". The Independent. UK: Independent Print. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  14. "Richard Wilson". Manchester United Supporters Trust. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  15. Rebecca Hardy (2013-03-01). "Richard Wilson: 'I don't mind people saying I'm gay because I am' | Mail Online". Retrieved 2014-01-11.
  16. "Angus Deayton is back and has he got news...". Daily Express. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  17. "Victor Meldrew actor Richard Wilson suffers heart attack". BBC News. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  18. Richard Wilson archive
  19. Richard Wilson On The Road Episode 2 | presscentre
Academic offices
Preceded by
Johnny Ball
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Ross Kemp
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