Tom Ellis' roles as lovable Gary in Miranda and the deliciously dark title character in Lucifer has made him a firm favorite online – he now has 7.9 million Instagram followers. But here are a few things you might not know about the talented Welsh actor who recently admitted he'd love to have played the Doctor in Doctor Who.
1. Before he landed Miranda, he showed off his comedy chops in two episodes of The Catherine Tate Show.
Ellis played the same character in both episodes: Detective Sergeant Sam Speed, a police officer who bumps his head when he falls off his motorbike, then wakes up in 1951. Tate appears in the sketches as "Ma," his fast-talking cockney landlady.
2. Though he's known for playing the Devil, he actually comes from a religious family.
He was born in Cardiff, Wales, to Christopher Ellis, a Baptist pastor, and Marilyn Ellis, a music teacher. His sister is a Baptist pastor, too.
But in case you're wondering, his dad has no problem with him playing the Devil. “My dad was cool with it. I don’t think my dad watches the show, I was going to say ‘religiously’…” he told Square Mile magazine recently with a grin. “I don’t think my dad is an avid viewer of my show. But that’s not because it’s about the Devil; it’s just not his cup of tea. He’d rather watch reruns of Inspector Morse.”
3. His best friend at drama school was none other than James McAvoy.
They studied together at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and during this period starred in the same pantomime production of Beauty and the Beast. Ellis played the Beast/the Prince, while according to Ellis, McAvoy played "the young, silly character – sort of like Buttons in Cinderella."
4. Another drama school classmate was Outlander star Sam Heughan, who was a couple years below Ellis.
"I’m so happy it happened for Sam because he’s a great actor but he’s also a really sweet guy," Ellis told Radio Times in 2016. "Incredibly handsome, too – he used to be known as ‘Handsome Sam’.”
5. Ellis thinks his height – he stands at 191cm tall (6'3) – contributed to him being something of a late-developer, career wise.
“I think particularly with myself and Sam, for example, people get confused when you’re in your twenties and you’re over six foot," Ellis said in the same interview. "It sounds like a bizarre thing to say but casting can’t get their head around the fact that you are the age you are. I think it’s something to do with growing into oneself as a man. Between 30 and 40 is where you really sort of hit your sweet spot.”
6. Growing up, he played the trumpet and the French horn in various youth orchestras.
As this clip originally shared by his Lucifer co-star Lauren German shows, he's still pretty nifty on the trumpet.
7. As Lucifer fans will know, he also sings and plays the guitar.
Here he is performing "Creep" by Radiohead at the closing ceremony of MagicCon 2019 in Bonn, Germany – check out his falsetto.
And here he is taking on "The A Team" by Ed Sheeran.
And finally, here's his take on "Human" by Rag'n'Bone Man.
8. He married his wife, American screenwriter Meaghan Oppenheimer, in June 2019.
Ellis was previously married to British actress Tamzin Outhwaite – who played the Captain in the Doctor Who episode "Nightmare in Silver" – from 2006 to 2014. He's also the father of three daughters named Marnie, Nora, and Florence.
9. He's a keen golfer who says his dream is to meet Tiger Woods.
And in fairness, his gold swing looks pretty solid.
10. And don't worry – he has no problem with people thinking of him as "Gary from Miranda."
“Miranda is so ingrained in British popular comedy culture that I think that will always be there. And that’s lovely," he told The Guardian recently. "When I grew up, I used to watch sitcoms with my grandad. And the ‘You have been watching’ moments, where they would say the actor’s name underneath and they’d wave to camera and all that, that’s my experience of growing up. But I have to look at it and go: ‘That’s really nice. There’s two characters I have played that people remember me for.’”
Are you a big fan of Tom Ellis?