- Father is a vicar in the Church of England and mother is a professional musician and music teacher.
- At university, was once kicked out of a cathedral for rehearsing pagan rituals for a production of The Wicker Man.
- Cofounder of Dog Ate Cake, a theater company dedicated to farce and previously undiscovered Victorian comedy.
- Starred in The Pillars of the Earth, based on the Ken Follett best seller; the author admits that the fictional Kingsbridge Cathedral was inspired by England's Salisbury Cathedral, where Oakes' father is canon.
- Did not use a stunt man for his thrown-off-a-bridge death scene in The Borgias.