Christopher Michael Ellison (born 16 December 1946 in St Pancras, London) is an English actor. He is best known for his role as DCI Frank Burnside in the popular ITV police series The Bill and short-lived spin-off series Burnside.
At school his art teacher encouraged him having seen his talent. Art remained his strong subject through school years, and it was a natural progression that Ellison then moved on to art college, firstly at Wimbledon and then Camberwell.
He worked in the merchant navy, trained as a graphic designer and worked as a minicab driver. His first drama job was assistant stage manager at the Richmond Theatre. His first acting role was in the play Woman in a Dressing Gown at said theatre. His first break was a guest appearance in The Sweeney (1975).
He appeared in many guest roles in TV shows throughout the 1970s, including episodes of The Sweeney and The Professionals, and in the films Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse (1978), Lady Oscar (1979), and Buster (1988), based on the Great Train Robbery of 1963.
In 1984, he appeared in Paul McCartney's feature film Give My Regards To Broad Street playing Rath's Minder. In 1986, he played criminal gang leader Charlie Elkin in Running Scared, based on Bernard Ashley's novel.
Having first appeared as Burnside in 1984, he became a permanent cast member of The Bill cast between 1988 and 2000.
He appeared in one episode of the sci-fi police series, Crime Traveller, in 1997.
Although best known for playing tough guys, he also played George, a transvestite, in the radio series The Change from 2001 to 2004.
In 2003, Ellison played the lead role in Fort Boyard, which aired on Challenge. In 2005, he guest starred in the Doctor Who audio adventure The Game. In 2007, Ellison played the role of Len Harker in the BBC One soap opera, EastEnders.
He has appeared in Casualty, Judge John Deed, and Minder, among other appearances on Soccer AM, and presenting roles in The World's Most Stupid Criminals and Mousetrapped.
In February 2009, Ellison won Celebrity Come Dine with Me on Channel 4. In 2009, he appeared in the film A Silent Whistle and in 2010 Bonded by Blood and Basement.
In August 2011, he appeared in a New Tricks episode titled 'Half Life' as a prisoner. On 27 August 2015, he entered the Celebrity Big Brother house. He was evicted on 8 September 2015.
In 2017 he appeared on the celebrity version of the television game show Pointless.Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse (1978)
Lady Oscar (1979)
Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)
Bonded by Blood (2010)
We Still Kill the Old Way (2014)