After leaving drama school in Birmingham in 1970, John worked for 10 years or so in repertory theatres all round England, playing dozens of roles. Companies played included two seasons at the old Derby Playhouse, two seasons at the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe, The Swan Theatre, Worcester and notably three years with the EMMA Theatre Company based in Loughborough. Whilst with EMMA, John played throughout the East Midlands in village halls, pubs, schools, prisons. During the Summer of 1973 he worked in weekly rep., playing murderers in an endless stream of thrillers. In 1977 John joined Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough where he stayed for three years, followed by return visits in 1981 and 1982. During this time he played central roles in 9 new Ayckbourn plays, as well as major roles in other plays, such as John Procter in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Ayckbourn roles included Roland Crabbe in Taking Steps, Len Coker in Sisterly Feelings and Richard in Joking Apart. Subsequently he went on to play in Ayckbourn in other theatres such as The Palace, Watford, Greenwich Theatre and The Theatre Royal, Windsor. In the West End, John appeared in Michael Frayne’s Look Look, Sir Peter Hall’s revival of Piaf and Alan Ayckbourn’s Communicating Doors. He has been in two Seasons at The Royal National Theatre, appearing as ‘Enery in Tons of Money and Desmond in A Small Family Business among others. John has worked for Jude Kelly at Leeds and the West Yorkshire Playhouses, where he played Simon Eyre in The Shoemaker’s Holiday.
On television he has made numerous appearances over the last 30 plus years, and is perhaps best known for situation comedy, which has included John in Fresh Fields, Constable Dunstable in Pilgrims Rest (1997) and Phil in Carlton TV’s Barbara (1995). Among films are and Thunderpants (2002) and The Abduction Club (2002). John has worked several times with Mark Gatiss, most notably as Bill Wilson in the BBC 4 film of The Worst Journey in the World and as Coil in The Crooked House, also for BBC 4. From 2017 on-going he is Bishop Barry in Emmerdale.
John continues to wok in the theatre, most recently, 2016 -2017, for the Royal Shakespeare Company playing Sir Nathaniel and Antonio in Christopher Luscombe’s productions of Love’s Labours Lost and Much Ado about Nothing at The Royal Haymarket Theatre in the West End.
He lives with his partner Penelope Gee of the “Astor String Quartet”.