Perhaps most well known for his British Independent Film Award-winning and BAFTA-nominated portrayal of Stan in the 2004 feature film Vera Drake, he is also well known for his roles on the television shows Rose and Maloney (as Maloney); North Square (as Peter McLeish); Poldark (as Jud Paynter); Silk (as Micky Joy); and Whitechapel (as Ray Miles).
During his early years, he trained at the Joan Littlewood-established Theatre Workshop and at England's National Youth Theatre. Early in his screen acting career, he appeared in episodes of Great Mysteries and Centre Play.
He appeared alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1984 historical movie The Bounty.
In 2002, he and his wife, actress Eve Matheson, welcomed a daughter named Amy Elisabeth. He also has a son, Hugo, from an earlier relationship.
He and Anna Maxwell Martin were both in the cast of the 2005 television miniseries version of Bleak House.