Philip Franks (born 2 February 1956) is an English actor and theatre director, known to the public chiefly for his roles in British television series.
Philip was born in London and says that he first fell in love with theatre at age six, when his parents took him along to see a production of 'The Tempest'. The following year, when he learned that his parents were going to a production of 'Hamlet', he insisted on going with them again, and says that at age seven, he was hooked for life.
Philip is perhaps best known for his roles as tax inspector Cedric "Charley" Charlton in the British sitcom 'The Darling Buds of May', and Sgt. Raymond Craddock on 'Heartbeat'. He has also made guest appearances in 'Absolutely Fabulous', 'Pie in the Sky', 'Midsomer Murders' and 'Foyle's War'. Other appearances include the TV miniseries 'Bleak House' (as Richard), 'Martin Chuzzlewit' (as Tom Pinch), 'The Green Man' and 'To Serve Them All My Days'.
He has also made over 250 appearances alongside Susie Dent in the 'Dictionary Corner' on the British quiz show 'Countdown', as well as various panel games and quiz shows for the BBC.
On stage, Philip has played many leading roles with the National Theatre and the RSC, including the title role in 'Hamlet', directed by Roger Michell, and Bertram in 'Alls Well That Ends Well' directed by Trevor Nunn. He has appeared many times in the West End, including leading roles in 'Art', 'Noises Off' and 'Journey's End'. More recently, he has toured as Hector in 'The History Boys' and as the Narrator in the 40th anniversary production of 'The Rocky Horror Show'.
Philip is also a director. Since 1990, he has directed many plays including 'Kafka's Dick' and 'The Kiss of the Spiderwoman' (Nottingham Playhouse); 'The Cocktail Party' (Edinburgh Festival); 'Rebecca' (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh); 'Hamlet' (Greenwich and tour); 'Macbeth' (Sheffield Crucible) and 'The Duchess of Malfi' (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Greenwich and West End); 'Private Lives' and 'The Heiress' (Royal National Theatre); 'The White Devil' (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith); and 'The Tempest' (Liverpool Playhouse).
For the Chichester Festival Theatre, where he as also Associate Director, he has directed 'The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby', which subsequently toured the UK, played in the West End and toured to Toronto, 'Twelfth Night' with Patrick Stewart as Malvolio, 'The Cherry Orchard', 'Taking Sides' and Collaboration' (which both transferred to the West End), 'Separate Tables', 'The Master Builder', 'The Deep Blue Sea', 'Rattigan's Nijinsky' and 'A Marvellous Year for Plums'.
He has also directed extensively for BBC Radio.