Date of Birth
1 December 1986, Armagh, Northern Ireland, UK
6' (1.83 m)
Colin Morgan is a Northern Irish film, television, theater and radio actor who attended Integrated College Dungannon, winning the 'Denis Rooney Associates Cup' for best overall student in the third year, before gaining a National Diploma in Performing Arts from the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education in 2004. He went on to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, where he graduated from in 2007. In November 2010, the Belfast Metropolitan College honored Morgan with an Award of Distinction for his contribution to the Arts. Colin Morgan is best known for playing the title character in the BBC fantasy series Merlin (2008-12), the lead in BBC miniseries The Living and the Dead (2016) as the gentleman farmer Nathan Appleby, the central character of the story; Morgan has appeared in main roles in The Catherine Tate Show (2007), Doctor Who (2008), Quirke (2014), The Fall (2014-2016), and Humans (2015-2016). He is also known for his stage role as Ariel in The Tempest.
Morgan made his professional stage debut in the West End as the titular character Vernon God Little in an adaptation of the dark comedy mounted at the Young Vic in 2007. That same year, he went on to play the role of Esteban, an aspiring teenage writer, in the Old Vic stage adaptation of Pedro AlmodÃ³var's All About My Mother opposite Dame Diana Rigg, Lesley Manville, and Mark Gatiss. For both of these roles, Morgan was nominated for the 2007 London Newcomer of the Year in the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards. He went on to appear in Thomas Babe's A Prayer for My Daughter in 2008, Pedro Miguel Rozo's Our Private Life in 2011, Step in Time at The Old Vic 24 Hour Musicals Celebrity Gala in 2012. He played the fey spirit Ariel opposite Roger Allam's Prospero in the 2013 Globe Theater production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which was later broadcast to cinemas as part of Globe On Screen in May 2014, with a subsequent DVD release in July 2014. For this role, Morgan sought to imbue his portrayal of Ariel with both ethereal stillness and acrobatic precision. From 2013 to 2014, Morgan appeared as Skinny Luke in Jez Butterworth's dark comedy Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theater. The ensemble cast included Brendan Coyle, Ben Whishaw, Rupert Grint and Daniel Mays. Mojo received favorable reviews and the London production was extended for two weeks, finishing on 8 February 2014. On 19 April 2015, Morgan appeared at the Old Vic Theater alongside music and stage legends for an exclusive and highly anticipated one-night theater event called A Gala in Honor of Kevin Spacey.
In July 2008, Screen International named Morgan as a "Star of Tomorrow," alongside actors like Carey Mulligan where he was "hailed as the most exciting drama-school graduate since Ben Whishaw. For his performance in Merlin, Morgan received the 2008 Outstanding Newcomer award from Variety Club Showbiz Awards, and was nominated for Outstanding Actor (Drama) in the Monte Carlo TV Festival Awards in 2009, 2010, and 2011, the Best Actor award in Virgin Media TV Awards in 2012, and the prestigious Best Actor in Drama Performance: Male award in National Television Awards in 2013. In the same year, Morgan won Broadway World West End Awards' Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Play for his performance as Ariel in The Tempest.
Morgan's film roles include Parked (2010), Island (2011), Testament of Youth (2015), Legend (2015), The Laughing King (2016), and The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016). He also starred as the lead character Paul Ashton in Waiting for You (2016), a British coming-of-age feature set in France and England, and will play the role of Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas in the Oscar Wilde biopic The Happy Prince (2017) written and directed by Rupert Everett . Next, he will be portraying the central role of the Irish revolutionary mastermind SeÃ¡n Mac Diarmada in the Easter Rising centenary commemoration film The Rising (2017).
Graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2007.
His mother, Bernadette, is a nurse, and his father is a painter and decorator.
After studying at the Belfast Institute, he went to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.
Obtained a National Diploma in Performing Arts at Belfast Institute of Further & Higher Education in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2004.
Was still in drama school when he was cast by director Rufus Norris to make his professional debut in the title role of the stage adaptation of DBC Pierre's Booker Prize winner "Vernon God Little" at the Young Vic in 2007. Colin Morgan has credited this role as his first big break.
Favorite actor is Sean Penn.
Friends with fellow Irish actor Katie McGrath.
I'm just happy to be doing what I always wanted to do. Sometimes you have to remind yourself how privileged you are.
Because it was one of my favorites from the Arthurian legend, one of the things that I really enjoyed doing was the legend of the crystal cave. In my head, it was fun to imagine what it was going to look like because there was a lot of CGI involved, in seeing visions of the future reflected within crystals.
Merlin was five years of my life. I enjoyed every year, every day. I had a brilliant time on it. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted to do more.
When I think of Camelot, I think of the castle in France where we film, but I think it's wrong to lock it down to one place because it's all part of our imagination. They are legends for a reason. Their stories have endured for hundreds of years and, hopefully, they will for hundreds of years to come.
I think anyone who has a passion for what they love to do, and who pursue it, is inspirational for me.
I read 'The Crystal Cave' book by Mary Stewart, and I thought it was a really, really interesting part of the legend, in which Merlin could enter into the cave with these crystals and see reflections of the future in them and learn how to use that and harness those powers for himself.
If I had auditioned for 'Merlin' on magic alone, I don't think I'd have got it. Like any kid, I probably had a magic kit, but it's not something I ever pursued. I've never watched a magic show like David Copperfield or used him to base my character on, but I really like David Blaine and Darren Brown. They are doing wonders.
The fantasy genre is so in at the moment. Viewers want to escape from their lives and watch something that is so separate from their everyday existence. People have always wanted to escape their lives - that's why they go to movies and the theatre.
As an actor, you need to be versatile. You need to challenge yourself.
From what I've read, everyone has a claim on Merlin. Was he Scottish, Welsh, English or even French? All these countries have got a big claim on him and Camelot. That's why the Arthurian legends are so popular - because they are such good stories.
For me, one of my favorites, director-wise, is Tim Burton. I also really admire the work of actors like Sean Penn. He is probably my favorite actor because of his dedication and commitment to roles, and the ability to morph and change himself when he needs to. It's about dedication and commitment and a passion.
My sights have always been on acting, on the creative process, never the lifestyle. Growing up in Northern Ireland when I did, everything was against you if you wanted to do something like that. But I was determined.
It's weird to be recognised anywhere. The cost of living your dream, acting, is being recognised.
I cannot wait to come back to Glasgow. I know the place like the back of my hand. In fact, one of the jobs I had as a student was in Cineworld. And I was always at gigs in King Tut's, Nice 'n' Sleazy's and the Barras. I played Ultimate Frisbee down on Glasgow Green and pulled pints in O'Neill's on Queen Street.
There's no social media or Googling yourself. You only have to do it once to learn never to do it again.
Nowadays, kids know how a programme like Merlin is made and how it works. But the show just seems to grow in popularity the more it goes on.
For me, it's all I've wanted to do. I did local plays and productions, local theater groups and anything that involved it. And then, I went and studied it, attended drama school and got my first lucky break in the theater in London, and just went from there.
Any Arthurian enthusiast who has watched 'Merlin' has probably concluded that it's not accurate whatsoever - but, it's not meant to be. It's not meant to be a true telling. It's in a fantasy setting, it's really concentrating on the fantasy element.