James Nesbitt filmography

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A photo of a balding man in a shirt and jacket
Nesbitt in 2008

James Nesbitt is an actor from Northern Ireland whose filmography encompasses both television and film roles over a 30-year period.[1] Nesbitt's screen career began in the early 1980s with uncredited roles in episodes of the BBC Play For Today strand, which he had while attached to the Riverside Theatre's youth group. His first credited role came in 1989, as a bit player in the John Ogdon biopic Virtuoso, which was followed by his first feature film role in 1991 in Hear My Song.[2]

As a casual actor in the early 1990s, Nesbitt mixed television and film roles; he appeared in episodes of Boon, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Covington Cross, Lovejoy, and Between the Lines.[1] He also played roles in several Michael Winterbottom films, beginning with Loves Lies Bleeding in 1993 and continuing with Go Now in 1995, Jude in 1996 and Welcome to Sarajevo in 1997.[3]

In 1997, he secured his breakout television role as Adam Williams in Cold Feet, a character he played until 2003. In that time he also appeared in the film Waking Ned Devine, two series of Playing the Field, Touching Evil, his feature film lead debut Lucky Break, and Paul Greengrass's controversial television film Bloody Sunday, as Ivan Cooper.[1] After Bloody Sunday, Nesbitt started to take on more dramatic roles, appearing in five series of Murphy's Law (2003–2007), the two-part television film Passer By (2004), Steven Moffat's Jekyll (2007), and the Iraq War drama Occupation (2009). He has also furthered his feature film career by taking roles in Woody Allen's Match Point (2005), the Troubles drama Five Minutes of Heaven (2009), the thriller Outcast (2010), Nadia Tass's Matching Jack (2010), and Emilio Estevez's The Way (2010). He starred in the ITV medical drama series Monroe (2011–2012) and has a role as the dwarf Bofur in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy (2012–2014).[1][4][5]

Nesbitt has also taken on theatrical roles throughout his career; between 1987 and 1994, he appeared in no less than five major plays, including the musical Up on the Roof, a world tour of Hamlet, and the Troubles drama Paddywack.[2][6] After a break of eleven years, Nesbitt returned to the stage to make his London West End debut in Owen McCafferty's Shoot the Crow (2005).[7][8]



Television acting roles[1]
Year(s) Title Role Description
1982 Play for Today Too Late to Talk to Billy Extra Television film[n 1][9]
1984 Play for Today: The Cry B Special Television film[n 1][10]
1985 The Ties of Blood: Out of Tune Extra Television film[n 1][11]
1989 Screen Two: Virtuoso [Bit part] Television film[n 2]
1991 Boon Martin Mulholland 1 episode of television series:
  • "Stamp Duty"
1992 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Yuri 1 episode of television series:
  • "Germany, Mid-August 1916"
1992 Covington Cross Humphrey 1 episode of television series:
  • "The Hero"
1993 Comedy Playhouse: Sailortown Skeeball Television film
1993 Screenplay: Love Lies Bleeding Niall Television film[n 3]
1993 Lovejoy Jerry Boyle 1 episode of television series:
  • "The Kakiemon Tiger"
1994 Between the Lines Sean Phellan 1 episode of television series:
  • "Unknown Soldier"
1994 The All New Alexei Sayle Show Various characters 2 episodes of television series:
  • Series 1, Episode 1
  • Series 1, Episode 3
1995 Searching Duncan 2 episodes of television series:
  • Series 1, Episode 1
  • Series 1, Episode 6
1995 Love Bites: Go Now Tony Television film with limited theatrical release
1995 Soldier Soldier Bryan Casey 1 episode of television series:
  • "Sweet Revenge"
1996–1998 Ballykissangel Leo McGarvey 5 episodes of television series:
  • "The Power and the Gory" (1996)
  • "I Know When I'm Not Wanted" (1998)
  • "Personal Call" (1998)
  • "Lost Sheep" (1998)
  • "Amongst Friends" (1998)
1997 Common as Muck Priest 1 episode of television series:
  • Series 2, Episode 2
1997 Comedy Premieres: Cold Feet Adam Williams Television pilot
1998–1999 Playing the Field John Dolan 2 series of television series
1998 Touching Evil II David Laney 2 episodes of television series:
  • "Scalping, Part 1"
  • "Scalping, Part 2"
1998–2003, 2016– Cold Feet Adam Williams 5 series of television series
2001 Murphy's Law Detective Sergeant Tommy Murphy Television pilot
2002 Bloody Sunday Ivan Cooper Television film with limited theatrical release
2003 Tractor Tom Matt (voice) 1 series of animated television series
2003–2007 Murphy's Law Detective Sergeant Tommy Murphy 5 series of television series
(also Creative Consultant, 2005–2007)
2003 The Canterbury Tales Nick Zakian 1 episode of anthology television series:
  • "The Miller's Tale"
2004 Wall of Silence Stuart Robe Television film
2004 Passer By Joe Keyes 2-part television film
2004 Quite Ugly One Morning Jack Parlabane Television film
2005 Big Dippers Ray Television film
2007 Jekyll Tom Jackman/Hyde[n 4] 6-part television serial
2008 Fairy Tales Professor Hans Michael Prince 1 episode of anthology television series:
  • "Cinderella"
2008 The Passion Pontius Pilate 4-part television serial
2008 Midnight Man Max Raban 3-part television serial
2009 Five Minutes of Heaven Joe Griffin Television film with limited theatrical release
2009 Occupation Colour Sergeant Mike Swift 3-part television serial
2010 The Deep Clem Donnelly 5-part television serial[12]
2011–2012 Monroe Gabriel Monroe 2 series of television series[13]
2013 James Nesbitt's Ireland Presenter/Himself 1 series, 8 episodes
2014 Babylon Police Commissioner Richard Miller Pilot, series to resume in 2014.
2014 The Missing Tony Hughes 1 series, 8 episode
2016–2018 Stan Lee's Lucky Man DI Harry Clayton 3 series, 28 episodes
2016 The Secret Colin Howell 1 series, 4 episodes
2018 James Nesbitt: Disasters That Changed Britain Presenter/Himself 1 series, 6 episodes
2019 British Airways 24/7: Access All Areas Narrator 1 series, 3 episodes


Film acting roles[1]
Year Title Role Description
1986 The End of the World Man Policeman Released as "The Bulldozer Brigade" in the US
1991 Hear My Song Fintan O'Donnell Based on the life of Josef Locke
1996 Jude Uncle Joe Based on "Jude the Obscure" by Thomas Hardy
1997 Welcome to Sarajevo Gregg Based on "Natasha's Story" by Michael Nicholson
1997 The James Gang Graham Armstrong
1997 Resurrection Man Ryan
1997 This Is the Sea Constable Hubert Porter Named after "This Is the Sea" a song by "The Waterboys" from their 1985 album "This Is the Sea"
1997 Jumpers Gerald Clarke
1998 Waking Ned "Pig" Finn Released as "Waking Ned Devine" in the US
1999 Women Talking Dirty Stanley
2000 The Most Fertile Man in Ireland "Mad Dog" Billy Wilson
2000 Wild About Harry Walter Adair
2000 Furry Story Dad
2001 Lucky Break Jimmy Hands
2004 Millions Ronnie Cunningham
2005 Match Point Detective Banner
2006 0.0270270 (The Story of a Gambler) Distraught Man
2008 Blessed Peter
2010 Cherrybomb Dave
2010 Outcast Cathal
2010 Matching Jack Connor
2010 The Way Jack
2011 Coriolanus Sicinius
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Bofur Based on "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again" by J.R.R Tolkien
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Bofur Based on "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again" by J.R.R Tolkien
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Bofur Based on "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again" by J.R.R Tolkien
2014 Gold Frank McGunn Feature film


Theatre acting roles[7]
Year Title Role Director Performance history
1981 Pinocchio Jiminy Cricket [n 5] Riverside Theatre, Coleraine.[2]
1983 The Rocky Horror Show Brad Majors Paddy Scully Arts Theatre, Belfast.[11]
1983 Godspell Jesus [n 5] Grand Opera House, Belfast.[11]
1984 Philadelphia Here I Come! Cast member[n 5] [n 5] Arts Theatre, Belfast.[11]
1984 Can't Pay, Won't Pay Luigi[14] Michael Poynor[14] Arts Theatre, Belfast.[11]
1986 West Side Story Cast member[n 5] Michael Poynor 3-month NI tour: Enniskillen, Belfast, Coleraine.
1987 Up on the Roof Keith Jane Prowse
1989 Up on the Roof Keith Jane Prowse Regional tour. January–March 1989.[15]
1989 As You Like It Duke Frederick
Duke Senior
Paul Jepson Rose Theatre Club, Kensington. June 1989.[16]
1989–1990 Hamlet Guildenstern
Second Gravedigger
Yuri Lyubimov Haymarket Theatre, Leicester. 19 September–7 October 1989.[17]
Old Vic, London, 21 November–3 December 1989.[18]
World tour, 1990:
  His Majesty's Theatre, Perth. 2–3, 5–10 March 1990[19]
  Adelaide. March 1990.[20]
  Tokyo. April 1990.[20]
1991 Translations Doalty Gwenda Hughes Birmingham Repertory Theatre. May–June 1991.[21]
1992 Una Pooka Aidan Mark Lambert and Nicholas Kent Tricycle Theatre. July 1992.[22]
1994 Paddywack Damien Michael Latimer Cockpit Theatre. March 1994.[23]
Long Wharf Theatre. October 1994.[6]
1994 Darwin's Flood Jesus Simon Stokes Bush Theatre. May 1994.[24]
2005 After Sun Jimmy Josie Rourke Old Vic, London. 19 June 2005.[n 6][25]
2005 Shoot the Crow Socrates Robert Delamere Trafalgar Studios (Studio 1). 11 October–10 December 2005.[8]
2010 The Laws of War Cast member[n 5] Jeremy Herrin Royal Court Theatre (Downstairs). 16 May 2010.[n 7][26]


Radio acting and presentation roles
Year Title Role Description
2006 James Nesbitt's World Cup Anthems Presenter Radio special[27]
2008 Desert Island Discs Guest 1 episode:
2010 Staring into the Fridge Fridge Afternoon Play[29]


  1. ^ a b c Uncredited extra.
  2. ^ Credited television debut.
  3. ^ First appearance in a Michael Winterbottom production.
  4. ^ Also plays the uncredited roles of Henry Jekyll in Episode 5, and several zombies in Episode 6.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Some information relating to Nesbitt's theatrical career is not held in nationally published works, though may exist in individual theatre company archives or smaller, local publications.
  6. ^ 10-minute play.
  7. ^ Gala performance presented by Human Rights Watch.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Nesbitt, James Archived 24 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine". British Film Institute. URL retrieved on 25 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Swann, Yvonne (2 September 2004). "James Nesbitt: My cold feet about teaching". Daily Mirror (MGN): p. 57. URL retrieved on 25 March 2010.
  3. ^ Steiner, Susie (27 October 2001). "The Irish question". The Guardian (Guardian News & Media): p. 68 (Weekend supplement). URL retrieved on 15 April 2011.
  4. ^ ITV Press Centre (22 February 2011). "Monroe Press Pack Archived 18 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine " (.doc format). Press release: p. 11. URL retrieved 30 August 2011.
  5. ^ Bulbeck, Pip (20 March 2011). "'Hobbit' Filming Finally Under Way in New Zealand". The Hollywood Reporter (Prometheus Global Media). URL retrieved on 21 March 2011.
  6. ^ a b Canby, Vincent (23 October 1994). "A Good, Sharp 'Paddywhack'". The New York Times (The New York Times Company): p. A5.
  7. ^ a b "The Stage Archive". The Stage Newspaper Ltd. URL retrieved on 13 March 2011.
  8. ^ a b Austin, Jeremy (12 October 2005). "Review: Shoot the Crow". The Stage Online. URL retrieved on 25 March 2010.
  9. ^ Nesbitt, James (2009). "Made in Northern Ireland: An Actor's View" (.pdf). BBC. URL retrieved on 21 March 2010.
  10. ^ Lord, Derek (10 October 2008). "Lights, camera, action as the B Specials are put in spotlight". Press and Journal (Aberdeen Journals). URL retrieved on 10 October 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e Page N Archived 28 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine . URL retrieved on 25 March 2010
  12. ^ McLean, Craig (31 July 2010). "Thrown in at the deep end". The Times (Times Newspapers): p. 24 (Play supplement).
  13. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (14 November 2012). "James Nesbitt's 'Monroe' axed by ITV1". Digital Spy. URL retrieved on 15 November 2012 (archived by WebCite on 15 November 2012).
  14. ^ a b Muir, Johnny (director) (28 February 2013). The Arts Show: In Conversation with James Nesbitt. [Television broadcast]. BBC Two Northern Ireland.
  15. ^ a b "Plymouth: Up on the Roof". The Stage and Television Today: p. 14. 2 February 1989
  16. ^ "Rose: As You Like It". The Stage and Television Today: p. 15. 15 June 1989.
  17. ^ "Theatre Week". The Stage and Television Today: p. 9. 14 September 1989.
  18. ^ Billington, Michael (2 November 1989). "At the Theatre with Michael Billington". Country Life: p. 175.
  19. ^ "Festival of Perth Programmes" (.pdf). State Library of Western Australia. 22 October 2009. URL retrieved on 25 March 2010.
  20. ^ a b Compass News Features (12 December 1989). "All-new Hamlet to go on world tour". New Straits Times: p. 9 (archived at Google News Archive).
  21. ^ "Birmingham: Translations". The Stage and Television Today: p. 15. 20 May 1991.
  22. ^ "Theatre Week". The Stage and Television Today: p. 9. 2 July 1992.
  23. ^ "The Cockpit: Paddywack". The Stage and Television Today: p. 22. 31 March 1994.
  24. ^ "Bush Theatre: Darwin's Flood". The Stage and Television Today: p. 15. 2 June 1994
  25. ^ Jebb, Louis (20 June 2005). "No time for writers' block in dramatic race against clock". The Independent (Independent News & Media): p. 11.
  26. ^ Bosanquet, Theo (11 May 2010). "Galas: Court Laws, Cardboard Seats & Grateful Archived 15 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine ". (Bandwidth Communications). URL retrieved on 11 May 2010.
  27. ^ Johns, Ian (10 June 2006). "Radio choice". The Times (Times Newspapers): p. 47. URL retrieved 15 April 2011.
  28. ^ "Desert Island Discs: James Nesbitt". BBC Online. URL retrieved on 15 April 2011.
  29. ^ "Staring into the Fridge". BBC Online. URL retrieved on 15 April 2011.

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