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Matthew Macfadyen has become best known to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for his compelling portrayal of government agent Tom Quinn in the hit series MI-5 (originally titled Spooks in the U.K.).
The series (costarring Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo, and Peter Firth) has enjoyed three successful seasons on the BBC and, subsequently (in the U.S.), on the A&E Network. The program takes an authentic and dramatic look inside the operations of Britain's national security service and at the high personal and professional stakes for its agents.
Mr. Macfadyen is now also making a name for himself in films. After small but pivotal roles in Ben Elton's Maybe Baby (with Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson), Michael Apted's Enigma (with Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet), and Paul McGuigan's The Reckoning (with Paul Bettany and Willem Dafoe), he played his first lead film role (opposite Miranda Otto) in Brad McGann's In My Father's Den. The dramatic thriller attracted attention from the worldwide film industry.
Mr. Macfadyen's acting career began with extensive schooling. He attended Oakham School in Rutland, Leicestershire, where he was a drama scholar from 1990 to 1992. On leaving Oakham, he was accepted at the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
He graduated from RADA to join the innovative Cheek by Jowl theatre company, and made his professional stage debut in the troupe's production of The Duchess of Malfi. He also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and School for Scandal, and on international tours.
In 1998, Mr. Macfadyen starred again with Cheek by Jowl, as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, opposite Saskia Reeves as Beatrice. The production "crossed the pond" to the U.S., playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
In 1999, he was nominated for the prestigious RSC Ian Charleson Award for Best Classical Actor under 30.
At that time, Mr. Macfadyen began working in U.K. television, taking a role in David Skynner's telefilm remake of Wuthering Heights. He was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award for his first television starring role, in Peter Kosminsky's BAFTA Award-winning BBC drama Warriors. He subsequently starred opposite Sir Michael Gambon in Stephen Poliakoff's miniseries Perfect Strangers, again winning acclaim.
His subsequent U.K. television miniseries appearances include David Yates' BAFTA Award-winning The Way We Live Now and Peter Kosminsky's The Project.
Mr. Macfadyen's most recent stage appearance is in Nicholas Hytner's National Theater production of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, starring as Prince Hal opposite Sir Michael Gambon's Falstaff, through August 2005.