Nathaniel Parker

About Nathaniel Parker

When Nathaniel Parker was nine saw his sister playing Lady Macbeth and realised that acting was the key to an interesting existence: "I can be a 12th-century lord, a Scottish king, a dentist or a doctor and not have to train for six years. I can be an astronaut or a pop-star or even a long distance runner."

All the world's a stage

When he turned 17, he was accepted into the National Youth Theatre, where he acted alongside Colin Firth and Sally Dexter. Though his family advised him to have a backup plan, Parker knew he didn't need one, and continued his education at LAMDA (London Acadamy of Music and Dramatic Art). He was so successful there that he had his first paying role sorted before graduation, and has never been out of work since.

One man plays many parts

He is known the world over as Inspector Thomas Lynley, eighth Earl of Asherton, but Nathaniel Parker could fill a weighty tome with the list of roles he's played during his 42 years. When he was 24, he was welcomed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and played seven roles over two years for them. "The RSC really do work you hard and it is an amazingly good experience for an actor," he says. He put the experience to good use when he left Shakespeare behind to pursue a career in TV and movies. He appeared in a series of diverse films: from Hamlet and Hardy to The Bodyguard and Beverly Hills Ninja. He popped back into the theatre from time to time before landing the role that has made him a household name - Inspector Lynley.

What a piece of work

The Inspector Lynley novels, written by American author Elizabeth George, already had a huge fanbase when the BBC decided to film the first series. When she met Parker on the set of the first Lynley film, A Great Deliverance, George was surprised by the actor who would embody her creation. For a start, her mother had always insisted that Anthony Andrews was the only actor who could ever play Lynley. And, Parker looks nothing like the Lynley described in George's books. Impressing the author was always going to be a tough one. But Parker's ability quickly won her over, and she now says "Nathaniel Parker strikes all the right notes as Lynley."

Such stuff as dreams are made on

Despite being kept enormously busy working, Parker has managed to develop a full life off-screen as well. He is married and has two daughters, with whom he is obsessed. When he takes time off from work, it is to have more time with his girls. He is also fascinated by horses, and horse racing in particular. He is part-owner of the racehorse General Wolfe and used to compete as a show jumper. Parker's one unfulfilled ambition is to don silks and ride a race. Perhaps he can find a role that calls for a 42-year-old, 5ft 11in tall jockey?