- Was head boy of his high school in his final year.
- Left the University of Sussex after two years to join a fringe theater group called the Brighton Combination.
- Performed with the Madhouse Company of London, a comedy troupe, during the 1970s.
- Attended a circus school in New York during the 1970s, where he learned to walk the tightrope, ride a unicycle, juggle and perform magic.
- Met wife Imelda Staunton when they were both cast in a 1982 production of Guys and Dolls at the Royal National Theatre in London. They later worked together in a production of The Wizard of Oz; he was the Cowardly Lion to her Dorothy.
- Serves as chairman of the Hampstead Cricket Club.