Born in 1953 and educated at Bedford School, Chandler's acting career began in 1976. His first film role was as Private Simmonds in Richard Attenborough's 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, and he provided the voice of Merry in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. His most prominent recent film work includes roles in Vera Drake (2004), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), The King's Speech (2010), and The Iron Lady (2011). He starred as Ade Rutter in the first series of House of Anubis, and he has taken leading roles in Judge John Deed and other television dramas, as well as prominent theatre roles.
With an acting career spanning almost forty years, his other film and television credits include roles in Angels, Another Bouquet, Coronation Street, The Duchess of Duke Street, Just William, Lillie, Jackanory Playhouse, The Taming of the Shrew, Antony & Cleopatra, Brideshead Revisited, Dead Ernest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lace, C.A.T.S. Eyes, The Singing Detective, Jonny Briggs, Boon, Bergerac, The Crown, Middlemarch, The Wimbledon Poisoner, Casualty, Silent Witness, Teachers, Heartbeat, Foyle's War, Holby City, The Bill, My Family, Midsomer Murders, Doctors, Land Girls, Silk, Vera, Mr Selfridge, and Spice World.