- Was born and raised in Scotland, but lost his accent to avoid being typecast.
- Was put off acting by his secondary school drama teacher, who said he could not speak properly; became a laboratory technician instead, but decided to attend drama school at 27.
- Was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1994 for his services to drama.
- Won the TMA Best Director Award for Mr Kolpert at the Royal Court Theatre in 2000.
- In 2010, appeared as Malvolio in Gregory Doran's adaptation of Twelfth Night at the Duke of York's Theatre.
- In 2016, was due to reprise his most well-known role of Victor Meldrew at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but the show was cancelled when he suffered a heart attack.
- Is a supporter of multiple charities, including the LGBT rights charity Stonewall, the AIDS charity Terrence Higgins Trust, and Graeae, an accessible theatre company.