John Shrapnel

John Shrapnel Born: 1942-04-27 Died: 2020-02-14

Shrapnel was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, the son of Mary Lillian Myfanwy (née Edwards) and journalist/author Norman Shrapnel.[1] As a stage actor, he was a member of Laurence Olivier's Royal National Theatre company and the Royal Shakespeare Company and most recently appeared as Sir Oliver Surface in The School for Scandal (directed by Deborah Warner) at the Barbican Centre in 2011. He has also appeared extensively in film and on television in roles in Elizabeth R, Z-Cars, Edward and Mrs. Simpson, 101 Dalmatians, Space: 1999, Inspector Morse, Coogan's Run, Notting Hill and Foyle's War. He presented an episode of the 1983 BBC television travel series Great Little Railways. He gave performances in three entries in the BBC Television Shakespeare plays and as Creon in the BBC's 1984 productions of the Three Theban plays of Sophocles. In America, he has starred in supporting roles as Senator Gaius in Gladiator, Nestor in Troy and Pompey in the second episode of Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. He also played the Jail Warden in the 10th Kingdom, an epic fantasy miniseries. He has the rare achievement of appearing in two episodes of Midsomer Murders as two different characters, in Death in Chorus and Written in Blood. Shrapnel appeared in an episode of Jonathan Creek as Professor Lance Graumann in the episode The Omega Man. He appears in Chemical Wedding alongside Simon Callow, telling the tale of the resurrection of occultist Aleister Crowley. Shrapnel also has experience in the field of BBC radio drama through such characters as Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse and William Gibson's Neuromancer. He is the son-in-law of Deborah Kerr through his 1975 marriage to her younger daughter Francesca Ann Bartley. They have three sons, the actors Lex Shrapnel (b.1979), Tom Shrapnel (b.1981) and the writer Joe Shrapnel (b.1976). They live in Highbury, north London.

Appeared In


Year Title Role
2007 Hindenburg: Titanic of the Skies Himself (Narrator)
2002 Alone Hannah
2008 Chemical Wedding Crowley
2002 Claim
2005 Wachau - Valley of Golden Magic Narrator (English Version)
1997 St. Stephen's: The Living Cathedral Narrator (English Version)
1977 Professional Foul McKendrick
2000 Supermassive Black Holes Narrator
2015 Hamlet Claudius/Ghost
2004 Seven Wonders of Ancient Egypt Narrator
2004 Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece Narrator
2004 Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome Narrator
2001 Mountain Men: The Ghosts of K2 Narrator
2014 Moving Half the Mountain: Building the Death Railway Narrator
1992 SS-3: The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich Narrator
2002 Schönbrunn - Well of Beauty Narrator (English Version)
1981 Timon of Athens Alcibiades
2003 The Race for Everest Narrator
2001 The Body Moshe Cohen
1999 Hornblower: The Frogs and the Lobsters General Charette
1982 King Lear Earl of Kent
2002 Whistle Paul
1995 King Arthur: His Life and Legends
1992 Hamlet Claudius / The Ghost (voice)
1985 The Burston Rebellion Rev. Charles Tucker Eland
1999 The Strange Case of Delphina Potocka Iwaszkiewicz
2002 K-19: The Widowmaker Admiral Bratyeev
1989 How to Get Ahead in Advertising Psychiatrist
2013 National Theatre Live: Macbeth Duncan, King of Scotland/Seyton, attendant to Macbeth/Old Man
1987 Partition General Flood
1981 Troilus & Cressida Hector
1986 Theban Plays: Oedipus the King Creon
1994 Fatherland General Globus
1985 Poppyland George Sims
2011 The Awakening Reverend Hugh Purslow
1988 Testimony Andre Zhdanov
1996 101 Dalmatians L. Skinner
1978 Edward & Mrs. Simpson Major Alexander Hardinge
2009 National Theatre Live: Phèdre Théramène
1999 Mary, Mother of Jesus Simon
1995 England, My England Samuel Pepys
2008 The Duchess General Grey
2000 Gladiator Senator Gaius
1995 Two Deaths Cinca
2008 Mirrors Lorenzo Sapelli
2006 Alien Autopsy Michael Kuhn
1991 Selling Hitler Gerd Schulte-Hillen
1975 Hennessy Tipaldi
2017 King Charles III Archbishop of Canterbury
1999 Notting Hill PR Chief
2004 Troy Nestor
1987 Personal Services Lionel
1986 Theban Plays: Oedipus at Colonus Creon
1986 Theban Plays: Antigone Creon
2015 Branagh Theatre Live: The Winter's Tale
2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age Lord Howard
1972 Pope Joan Father James
1971 Nicholas and Alexandra Petya