John Simm Society

About John
 John Simm as The Master in Doctor Who - The Sound of Drums 
As 'The Master'  in
Doctor Who - The Sound of Drums


Doctor Who - The End of Time 
John Simm as The Master in Doctor Who - The End of Time

John Simm as Sam Tyler in Life On Mars
As 'Sam Tyler' in Life On Mars

Magic Alex - Dated & Sexist Album Cover
Magic Alex - Dated & Sexist (2007)

Listen to Chica Chica by Magic Alex

John Ronald Simm

Best known for his roles as The Master in Doctor Who and as Sam Tyler in Life on Mars, he has also starred in many highly-acclaimed television dramas such as Cracker, The Lakes, Sex Traffic, State of Play, Crime and Punishment and Exile. He has been nominated twice for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor and is a Laurence Olivier Award nominee. His films include Wonderland, Human Traffic, 24 Hour Party People and Everyday. In 2010, he played Hamlet at the Crucible Theatre.

Early Years

The eldest of three, John was born in Leeds and grew up in Nelson, Lancashire and around the North West, including Manchester, Colne, Burnley and Blackpool. His father, a musician, taught him to play guitar and from age 12 John joined his father on stage in the working men’s clubs. They became a semi-professional double act, calling themselvesUs2.

When he was 16, John went to Blackpool and The Fylde College in St Annes for three years, starring in Guys and Dolls and West Side Story. Soon after, he joined an amateur dramatic group, playing the title roles inBilly Liar and Amadeus. He then moved to London to train at the Drama Centre London, where he studied the Stanislavski School of Method acting.


Independently of his acting career in the 1990s, John was a founding member, songwriter and guitarist with the rock band Magic Alex (named after The Beatles' self-styled electronics wizard). The group played support on two tours with Echo and the Bunnymen. Plus, John plays guitar on the track Sliding, from the album Slideling, by his friend Echo and the Bunnymen singer, Ian McCulloch. John also played lead guitar on a few of McCulloch's solo live shows, including one at Wembley arena as main support to Coldplay.

After splitting up in 2003, Magic Alex released a musical compendium of their finest moments in 2007. Their album "Dated & Sexist" was remastered and re-released in 2014 and is now available on Spotify and iTunes. Visit Magic Alex's Facebook Page for their latest news and updates.


John made his professional acting debut in 1992 with his role as Joby Johnson in an episode of Rumpole of the Bailey.

His breakthrough role came in 1995 as a psychotic teenager in Cracker. He then received a Best Actor Award at the Valencia Film Festival for his feature film debut role in the coming-of-age drama, Boston Kickout.

Also in 1995, John appeared on stage in the Nick Ward play as Danny Rule at the Royal Court Theatre. He then played Colin in Simon Bent'sGoldhawk Road, at the Bush Theatre in 1996.

John first found fame in 1997 in the critically acclaimed drama, The Lakes.

He then appeared in 1999 as Jip in the award-winning, cult clubbing film,Human Traffic and Michael Winterbottom's acclaimed Wonderland.

In 2002, John featured in another Michael Winterbottom film and sang the acoustic version of Blue Monday as enigmatic New Order front man Bernard Sumner, in 24 Hour Party People. He also appeared as Raskolnikov in BBC's Crime and Punishment adapted by Tony Marchant.

In 2004, John starred in the BAFTA award-winning drama, Sex Trafficand reunited with Shaun Parkes (from Human Traffic) in Blue/Orange.

John was nominated for a 2006 BAFTA® TV Award for Best Actor for his role as Sam Tyler in the BAFTA® Pioneer Audience award winning, cult time-warp/70's style series, Life On Mars

In 2007, John played Vincent van Gogh in the biographical drama, The Yellow House and then also returned to the Bush Theatre, as the title character in the comedy Elling, which later transferred to the Trafalgar Studios for his West End debut and for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Olivier Award.

Also in 2007, John played The Master in the long-running BBC series,Doctor Who and would later reprise his role in 2009.

In 2008, John played Edward Sexby in The Devil's Whore, written by Peter Flannery. Later that year he performed at The Royal Variety Performance with Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller and in 2009 starred in the film, Skellig with Tim Roth and Kelly Macdonald.

John again returned to the west end stage in 2009, starring opposite Ian Hart, Lucy Cohu and Kerry Fox in the Andrew Bovell play, Speaking in Tongues, at the Duke of York's theatre.

In September 2010 John played Hamlet at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre.

In 2011 John co-starred in Mad Dogs that reunited him with Philip Glenister and Marc Warren along with Max Beesley and Ben Chaplin. Mad Dogs received a BAFTA nomination for best drama serial and was recommissioned for a second and third series.

Also in 2011, John starred In Exile with Jim Broadbent. His performance earned him his second BAFTA nomination for Best Actor.

In 2012, John starred as Jerry in a revival of Harold Pinter'sBetrayal at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.

In early 2013 John completed filming the fourth and final 2-part series of Mad Dogs Series 4 with Philip Glenister, Marc Warren and Max Beesley (the finale later aired 28 & 29 Dec 2013).

In spring 2013, series one of The Village, a 6 part drama by Peter Moffat which begins in 1912 and spans a hundred years, aired on BBC One. 

In summer 2013, John joined Simon Russell Beale to star in Harold Pinter's macabre tragicomedy, The Hothouse, which returned to London's West End in a new production directed by Jamie Lloyd.

Personal Life

John is married to actress Kate Magowan, who also appears with him in24 Hour Party People, Devilwood, Tu£sday and Exile. They have two children; Ryan and Molly. John is well known as an avid Manchester United supporter and music-lover of The Beatles.

How would John most like to be remembered

"As a great father and husband and son and friend and as an exceptional actor. That’d be nice."