Daniel “Danny” Mays is a TV, film, and theatre actor from Essex. Mays has stolen the spotlight from so many stars with his drama (and occasional comedic) acting that he has found himself an irrevocable spot on Anglonerd magazine’s shelf of People You Should Know. Here, we identify eight Daniel Mays role every nerd need know.
Danny Waldron – Line of Duty (2016)
Entering an already successful cop drama at season three as the new season’s prime suspect, Daniel Mays steps into the complex skin of the Armed Response Unit’s Sergeant Danny Waldron, a fearless leader on the outside, but damaged and vulnerable inside. To Anglonerd magazine, Mays reflects, “We had two days of weapons training on a shooting range just before we started filming. It was actually really exhilarating and hugely beneficial for both playing the character and bonding with the new group of actors.”
Cass Cromwell – Outcasts (2011)
We first meet Cass Cromwell in episode of the doomed-to-be-cancelled sci-fi drama Outcasts when he walks in the door with a pig on a leash, having rescued its bacon-y fate. Cass is the guy you’re supposed to love, and honestly, it’s only he and his mutual yet unspoken love for his space-police partner Fleur that keeps the show afloat for what little time it managed to stay on the air. That and Cass’s dark secret that leads him to change his identity and seek redemption far, far from Earth.
Jim Keats – Ashes to Ashes (2010)
In Anglonerd magazine’s favorite role, Daniel Mays takes on an unearthly persona disguised as a Detective Chief Inspector from the Discipline and Complaints Dept. of Scotland Yard. Yes, you’re seeing a pattern: the third role as a police officer! Except this time, the character, Jim Keats, isn’t looking for arrests, at least not in the traditional sense. He’s looking to take DCI Gene Hunt and his entire police team down. Way, way, way down.
Best Guest Spot
Alex – Doctor Who (2011)
You know they say there’s only ten actors in England, and they’ve all been in Doctor Who. In the supremely creepy Mark Gatiss-penned episode “Night Terrors,” Daniel Mays plays Alex, the adopted father of a little boy named George whose secret extra-terrestrial origin gives him nightmares of the most supernatural kind. As it goes on, the episode becomes less about haunted person-sized dolls and more about the nature of parental love and how it transcends DNA.
Dr. Livesly – Treasure Island (2012)
Daniel Mays and Philip Glenister together again, except instead of Jim Keats and Gene Hunt, they play two classic characters from the high seas epic Treasure Island, a two-part TV movie. Mays plays Dr. Livesly, young Jim’s faithful though weak companion, and Glenister plays the captain. Livesly is put in charge of keeping Jim safe. Despite his respected role and honor, he’s not a fighter, so Jim doesn’t feel safe in his care when it’s pirates they’re up against–in particular comedian Eddie Izzard as the terrifying Long John Silver.
Spit Take Role
Rob Black – Plus One (2009)
This is the only role making this list that is a comedy, not because it’s the only comedy Mays is any good in but because he’s done so few. Unexpectedly, this dramatic actor excels in multiple disciplines. He’s excellent at drama, comedy, and…break dancing. Plus One looks like something MTV would make, given that one of the characters is Duncan from the boy band Blue; except that it stars the exceptional Danny Mays as Rob Black, the guy whose girlfriend has dumped him for Duncan-from-Blue. Despite the ridiculous plot, this one-off TV series has some real killer moments, like Mays getting dressed as a panda with the colors the wrong way around.
Dave Shilling – The Bank Job (2008)
Daniel Mays has done other films, like the Dad’s Army movie, Victor Frankenstein, and even a pirate voice in The Adventures of Tintin. But it’s hard to beat an Italian Job knock-off starring Jason Statham based on the real-life 1971 Baker Street Robbery. Mays plays one of the robber team members, a not terribly likable jokey pornographer, but we’re still gutted when he becomes the first sacrifice of their cause.
Before They Were Famous
Patrick Nuffy – Fist of Fun (1996)
In the commentary track to the 90s comedy sketch show Fist of Fun, stars Stewart Lee and Richard Herring recognize that the boy playing Nuffy in the classroom scenes of episodes 2 and 4 (season 2) is famous now, though they can’t immediately recall his name. There are a variety of now-famous people in Fist of Fun, such as Borat‘s Peter Baynham or comedy actress Sally Phillips, but the appearance of Daniel Mays in such circles is by far the most surprising.
Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd.com. She lives and works in NYC. Follow her on Twitter.