Born in Brentford, he only turned professional in 1970 at the age of thirty after some years working in amateur rep. He started to build up a long CV of bit parts in film and television, becoming a familiar face due to appearances in Dad's Army, One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, The Sweeney, Are You Being Served?, A Sharp Intake of Breath, Angels, The Famous Five, Crown Court, Hazell, Shoestring, Hi-de-Hi!, The Gentle Touch, a regular role in Up the Elephant and Round the Castle, C.A.T.S. Eyes, Only Fools and Horses, 84 Charing Cross Road, Agatha Christie: Poirot, the Bill, Casualty, Drop the Dead Donkey, Minder, Lovejoy and Rumpole of the Bailey.
He enjoyed considerable success in a West End stage show where he played the part of the popular comedian Max Miller (re-creating the part for a television movie) but he gained his greatest fame when he joined the cast of EastEnders in 1996 playing the part of Jim Branning, a role which became a regular in the programme and which he was still playing when he suffered a stroke in 2007. After undergoing physiotherapy he made short-term returns until 2011 after which continued ill-health forced his retirement from the business.