Born as Crispin Daniel Peat on 23rd September 1969 in Colchester, Essex, he began acting in amateur dramatics while at university and with the encouragement of his mother who shared the same interest. Gaining a degree in classics, he decided upon acting as a vocation and quickly gained his first role in the film Howard's End starring his third cousin Helena Bonham-Carter. He first came to mass attention when he starred as Mr Bingley in the hugely successful 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice which he then followed up with an eclectic roster of credits including Ghostboat, Scarlet & Black, Wuthering Heights, Cadfael, Game On, Bridget Jones's Diary, E.R. and Casino Royale. In addition to acting he is also a theatre director, winning the Jerwood Young Directors Award in 2001.