The Lowdown: Things You Didn’t Know About Daniel Mays

April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Features

Thank the Lord for actors like Daniel Mays!

While some young British talent will leap at the chance to appear in any old dross that comes their way (I’m sorry Mathew Horne but did you not read Lesbian Vampire Killers before filming began?) there is another breed of young British actor that has forged a career in tough, uncompromising character driven roles that earn them critical acclaim, the respect of their peers and a sound night’s sleep.

Mays is a face that has consistently popped up in a diverse range of film, television and theatre roles over the past ten years and what’s more he’s a thorough lovely chap to boot! However, on closer inspection, the words ‘hard hitting’ seem to feature so frequently in Mays’ choice of roles that we wonder if he’s not a borderline masochist….


1. Like the recently departed and much missed Tony Hart, Mays loves to paint and has lots of oil paintings in his home. Unlike Hart, however, he doesn’t own a hilarious little plasticine man that lives in a box.

2. As a youngster he was inspired by the legend-that-is Robert De Niro, whose famous schitzo-esque ability to create characters, usually scary-mental ones, had a profound effect on the young Mays.

3. His middle name is Alan which is Gaelic for ‘handsome and cheerful.’

4. Ramin Gray’s 2006 play Motortown, which May appeared in, was so uncompromising and hard hitting that people even walked out of it on the press night.

5. Within a year of leaving drama school Mays won the attention of acclaimed British director Mike Leigh who cast him in notorious bleak-fest All or Nothing. Leigh later cast Mays in abortion drama Vera Drake which received 3 Academy Award Nominations, the Golden Lion Award for Best Film, 3 Bafta Awards and 6 British Independent Film Awards including Best British Independent Film. Not bad going.

6. He won the Best Actor prize at the Palmare Television Festival 2003 for his performance in the hard hitting improvised BBC film Rehab.

7. His next theatre outing is starring alongside Shameless’ Rebecca Ryan in Scarborough, a tale of an illicit love affair between a teacher and 15-year-old pupil. It is already being billed as ‘uncompromising’ and ‘hard hitting.’

8. He has performed five plays at the Royal Court Theatre in London including two in the theatre’s 50th Anniversary year in parts that were specifically written for him.

9. Despite working like a Japanese prisoner of war, Mays still found time somewhere along the line to create a life. He has a son called Mylo Burton-Mays.

10. Through no fault of his own, Mays career low must surely be having a role in the worse than bad Pearl Harbour which has been unanimously labelled one of the worst films to ever grace the silver screen.


Jack McKay

suzi says:

Love Daniel Mays he is one of Britains best young actors and it is good to see him finally getting the recognition he desserves.

just one compaint with the article (other than that I already knew everything in it ;) )

He starred with Rebbeca Ryan in Scarborough over a year ago, it has been and gone already.