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David Oakes

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Film actor

David Oakes


Years active

David Oakes David Oakes

Full Name
Rowan David Oakes

14 October 1983 (age 40) (

Movies and TV shows
The Borgias, The Pillars of the Earth, Love By Design, Trinity, Sins of a Father

Similar People
Giulia Nahmany, Michael Damian, Neil Jordan, Sean Harris, Andrew Piddington


The borgias season 1 blood feud david oakes

Rowan David Oakes (born 14 October 1983) is an English film, television and theatre actor known for his roles in The Pillars of the Earth, The Borgias, and The White Queen.


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David oakes onstage interview

Early life and education

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He was born in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, England, the son of a Church of England canon and a professional musician.

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Oakes was head boy at Bishop Wordsworth's School, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, where he was also heavily involved with the Salisbury Playhouse and their youth theatre, Stage 65. He graduated with a first in English Literature from the University of Manchester.

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He attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School from 2005 to 2007.


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He played the villainous William Hamleigh in the television miniseries The Pillars of the Earth (2010), produced by Ridley Scott's production company. David was present to accept the Jury Prize at the 2011 Romy Awards in Vienna alongside Donald Sutherland and Natalia Wörner.

The following year, Oakes was cast in the television miniseries The Borgias (2011), airing on Showtime. He played Juan Borgia opposite Jeremy Irons. Whilst shooting the second season, David performed a cameo in the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End (2012).

Continuing a career on television playing morally dubious characters, Oakes had a role in The White Queen for BBC One and Starz playing George, Duke of Clarence. It was broadcast in mid-2013.

In attempt to get away from the TV Period Bad Boy, in 2013 David played Mr Darcy in an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. He said: "I've been playing bad guys back to back, so Darcy's a bit of an antidote!" He followed this by more Stage work, appearing in the World Premiere of Shakespeare in Love at the Noël Coward Theatre as Christopher Marlowe.

In a return to TV period dramas in 2015, Oakes guest-starred in both the third season of Endeavor with Shaun Evans and in BBC's limited series' The Living and the Dead with Colin Morgan.

The role of Prince Ernest, brother of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, went to Oakes in 2016 in the ITV series, Victoria. The role reunited Oakes with his Trinity co-star, Tom Hughes (Prince Albert), and Pillars of the Earth co-star, Rufus Sewell (Lord Melbourne). It aired on PBS in The United States in 2017, and will continue for a second season.

Later in 2017, Oakes will be seen in the film adaptation of Albert Sánchez Piñol's novel Cold Skin, directed by Xavier Gens and co-starring Ray Stevenson and Aura Garrido. He will also star as Thomas Novachek in the London West End Premiere of David Ives's play Venus in Fur at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. This production is set to be directed by Patrick Marber and stars Natalie Dormer as Vanda.


  • Oakes has performed with The Fitzrovia Radio Hour
  • 2008: A Dance to the Music of Time as Charles Stringham (BBC Radio 4)
  • 2017: Foiled as Richie (BBC Radio Wales) - written by David Charles and Beth Grantham, based on the Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name.
  • Stage

  • In 2006, David performed a 90-minute abridged version of Much Ado About Nothing as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's "Complete Works" festival along with his final year graduates from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He alternated between playing Claudio and Verges alongside fellow graduate Matt Barber.
  • Since appearing at Shakespeare's Globe at the outset of his career, David has frequently performed in numerous rehearsed readings as part of their "Read Not Dead" initiative. Including their landmark 200th reading of Philip Massinger's A New Way To Pay Old Debts; David played Wellborn alongside a cast including Benjamin Whitrow, Alan Cox and Nicholas Rowe.
  • Other performances between 2008 and 2013 for "Read Not Dead" include: An early quarto edition of Henry IV: Part One as Prince Hal oppopsite Benjamin Whitrow's Falstaff, Calderon's Life is a Dream (La Vida Es Sueno) as Segismundo, Taming Of A Shrew as Aurelias, The Spanish Tragedy as Lorenzo, The Return from Parnassus as Ingenioso, Bassianus as Geta, Gorboduc as a "smooth, almost oily" Arostus, John Lyly's Love's Metamorphosis as Montanus and Thomas Middleton's Your Five Gallants as Tailby.
  • Oakes set up a theatre company called Dog Ate Cake with a long term theatrical collaborator, Henry Bell
  • David was nominated for both WhatsOnStage and Broadway World awards for his performance in Shakespeare in Love in 2015. The production was also nominated for an Olivier Award.
  • In 2015 David starred as Banquo in a charity fundraiser for the Shakespeare Schools Festival. The event was largely improvised by the actors and lawyers involved, but based on a framework written by Jonathan Myerson. The cast also included Christopher Ecclestone as Macbeth, Haydn Gwynne as Lady Macbeth, Patterson Joseph as MacDuff and Pippa Bennett-Warner as one of the Weird Sisters. The event interrupted the events of Shakespeare's play following the death of Duncan and placed Macbeth on trial for Murder with David, Patterson and Haydn appearing as witnesses for the prosecution and Christopher and Pippa as witnesses for the defence. The event was overseen by High Court Judge, Sir Michael Burton, the QC's were John Kelsey-Fry, Jonathan Laidlaw, Dinah Rose and Ian Winter, and the foreman of the Jury was Jeremy Paxman.
  • Theatre direction

    Oakes has directed a number of theatre pieces alongside his acting career. In 2003 he took a stage adaptation of The Wicker Man to the Epping Forest Theatre Festival. Rehearsing in and around his home town of Salisbury, Oakes "got kicked out of the [Cathedral] Close for rehearsing pagan rituals for [his] open-air production of The Wicker Man."

    At University he directed numerous plays including Martin McDonagh's Beauty Queen of Leenane, Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter and Anthony Minghella's Whale Music

    Also whilst at University, in 2005 Oakes assisted director Natalie Wilson on a production of "Smilin' Through" which was co-produced by the Truant Company, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Contact Theatre, Manchester Later that year, Oakes once again turning to literary adaptation, took a production of Stephen King's The Boogeyman to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

    With his and Bell's theatre company, Dog Ate Cake, in 2009 Oakes directed a small tour revival of John Maddison Morton's Box and Cox

    Oakes frequently directs at Shakespeare's Globe extending their Read Not Dead Series, a study devoted to performing fully staged readings of the entirety of the Early Modern Canon of Drama: Most recently Oakes directed Robert Greene's The Honourable History of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay and Lewis Theobald's "Happy Ending" version of John Webster's Duchess of Malfi, "The Fatal Secret".

    David recently directed an extract of Robert Daborne's A Christian Turn'd Turk as part of a special Read Not Dead event at Shakespeare's Globe. Four directors with four scholars were teamed up with actors and presented their arguments and selected scenes at a special hustings event on Thursday 29 May 2014

    Personal life

    Oakes plays both the clarinet and bass clarinet, and is a strong bass singer.

    He is an avid follower of folk music, and continues to support the Bristol folk group Sheelanagig.

    He has an extensive collection of canoes and is currently developing a comedy pilot based on this interest. His preferred canoe method is kayak but he also enjoys Canadian canoeing.


    Oakes is an avid fine line sketcher. He is increasingly known for sketching on-set animals upon coloured pages of script reissues and giving them to production members. In May 2015 he exhibited as part of the Dulwich Artists Open House Festival alongside artist and designer Sarah Hamilton. He has also contributed a chapter on Charity Cards for Sarah Hamilton's book, "House of Cards".

    Charity work

    David, following his infant niece being diagnosed with a lung condition, has been heavily involved with raising awareness for and fundraising on behalf of the British Lung Foundation.

    In 2013, Oakes collaborated with his The Borgias castmate, Holliday Grainger, to make the short comedy film "Goblin". Directed by Christian James, the film was screened at the 2014 Film 4 Fright Fest in their Shorts Showcase, and all profits from the sale of this film were donated to the British Lung Foundation.

    Later in 2014, Oakes ran the length of the country to raise awareness for infant lung diseases for both the British Lung Foundation and ChILD Lung Foundation UK. More recently he joined with the BLF to promote their new Children's Hub to provide families with information and support. Alongside this, in 2016, he created the charity's Christmas card.

    Since 2014, Oakes has also been a patron of Anno's Africa, an arts-based charity working with Kenyan orphans and slum children, and has supported the UK based Shakespeare Schools Festival, most notable with and surrounding their "Trial of Macbeth".


    Vikings: Valhalla (TV Series) as
    Earl Godwin
    - The Reckoning (2023) - Earl Godwin
    - Leap of Faith (2023) - Earl Godwin
    - Birth and Rebirth (2023) - Earl Godwin
    - The Thaw (2023) - Earl Godwin
    - Pieces of the Gods (2023) - Earl Godwin
    - Towers of Faith (2023) - Earl Godwin
    - The Web of Fate (2023) - Earl Godwin
    - The End of the Beginning (2022) - Earl Godwin
    - Choices (2022) - Earl Godwin
    - The Last Daughter of Uppsala (2022) - Earl Godwin
    - Miracle (2022) - Earl Godwin
    - The Bridge (2022) - Earl Godwin
    - The Marshes (2022) - Earl Godwin
    - Viking (2022) - Earl Godwin
    Shuttlecock as
    Martin Prentis
    You as
    Brandon Miller
    The Garden of Evening Mists as
    1950s Frederik Gemmell
    Victoria (TV Series) as
    Prince Ernest / Duke of Coburg
    - London Bridge Is Falling Down (2019) - Prince Ernest
    - Comfort and Joy (2017) - Duke of Coburg
    - The Luxury of Conscience (2017) - Duke of Coburg
    - The King Over the Water (2017) - Duke of Coburg
    - Faith, Hope & Charity (2017) - Duke of Coburg
    - Entente Cordiale (2017) - Duke of Coburg
    - The Sins of the Father (2017) - Prince Ernest
    - Warp and Weft (2017) - Prince Ernest
    - The Green-Eyed Monster (2017) - Prince Ernest
    - A Soldier's Daughter (2017) - Prince Ernest
    - Young England (2016) - Prince Ernest
    - The Queen's Husband (2016) - Prince Ernest
    - An Ordinary Woman (2016) - Prince Ernest
    - The Clockwork Prince (2016) - Prince Ernest
    - Brocket Hall (2016) - Prince Ernest
    Studniówk@ as
    David Potter
    Cold Skin as
    The Living and the Dead (TV Series) as
    William Payne
    - Episode 6 (2016) - William Payne
    - Episode 5 (2016) - William Payne (uncredited)
    - Episode 4 (2016) - William Payne
    Endeavour (TV Series) as
    Joss Bixby
    - Ride (2016) - Joss Bixby
    A Moment of Horror (Video short) as
    Father (segment Night Feed)
    Goblin? (Short) as
    Love by Design (TV Movie) as
    Kim Philby: His Most Intimate Betrayal (TV Mini Series documentary) as
    Kim Philby
    - Episode #1.2 (2014) - Kim Philby
    - Episode #1.1 (2014) - Kim Philby
    The White Queen (TV Mini Series) as
    George Duke of Clarence
    - Poison and Malmsey Wine (2013) - George Duke of Clarence
    - Love and Death (2013) - George Duke of Clarence
    - War at First Hand (2013) - George Duke of Clarence
    - The Bad Queen (2013) - George Duke of Clarence
    - The Storm (2013) - George Duke of Clarence
    - The Price of Power (2013) - George Duke of Clarence
    - In Love with the King (2013) - George Duke of Clarence
    Ripper Street (TV Series) as
    Victor Silver
    - What Use Our Work? (2013) - Victor Silver
    Who Shall I Play with Now? (Short) as
    World Without End (TV Mini Series) as
    Bishop Henri
    - Rook (2012) - Bishop Henri
    Truth or Die as
    The Borgias (TV Series) as
    Juan Borgia
    - The Confession (2012) - Juan Borgia
    - World of Wonders (2012) - Juan Borgia
    - Truth and Lies (2012) - Juan Borgia
    - The Siege at Forli (2012) - Juan Borgia
    - The Beautiful Deception (2012) - Juan Borgia
    - Paolo (2012) - Juan Borgia
    - The Borgia Bull (2012) - Juan Borgia
    - Nessuno (Nobody) (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - The Art of War (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - Death, on a Pale Horse (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - The French King (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - The Borgias in Love (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - Lucrezia's Wedding (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - The Moor (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - The Poisoned Chalice (2011) - Juan Borgia
    - The Assassin (2011) - Juan Borgia
    The Pillars of the Earth (TV Mini Series) as
    William Hamleigh
    - The Work of Angels (2010) - William Hamleigh
    - New Beginnings (2010) - William Hamleigh
    - Witchcraft (2010) - William Hamleigh
    - Legacy (2010) - William Hamleigh
    - Battlefield (2010) - William Hamleigh
    - Redemption (2010) - William Hamleigh
    - Master Builder (2010) - William Hamleigh
    - Anarchy (2010) - William Hamleigh
    Trinity (TV Series) as
    Ross Bonham
    - Episode #1.3 (2009) - Ross Bonham
    - Episode #1.2 (2009) - Ross Bonham
    - Episode #1.1 (2009) - Ross Bonham
    Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant (TV Mini Series documentary) as
    George Cavendish
    - Lover (1526-1536) (2009) - George Cavendish
    Walter's War (TV Movie) as
    Private Oswald Hennessey
    Bonekickers (TV Mini Series) as
    Alfred Lord Tennyson
    - Follow the Gleam (2008) - Alfred Lord Tennyson
    Who Shall I Play with Now? (Short) (co-director)
    Who Shall I Play with Now? (Short) (producer)
    What's Popping! (Podcast Series) as
    Self - Guest
    - David Oakes (Vikings Valhalla) takes our South African Quiz at Comic Con Cape Town (2023) - Self - Guest
    Murder Games: The Life and Death of Breck Bednar (TV Movie documentary) as
    Self - Narrator (voice)
    Tsunami: Ten Years On (TV Movie documentary) as
    Self - Narrator (voice)
    The Disappearance of Flight MH370: 14 Days That Gripped the World (TV Movie documentary) as
    Narrator (voice)
    Kurier Romy 2011 (TV Special) as
    Self - Winner: Preis der Jury


    David Oakes Wikipedia

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