PROFILE: James Nesbitt

The versatile Coleraine actor has everything but cold feet

James ‘Jimmy’ Nesbitt was born in Broughshane, Co Antrim, in 1965, and raised in Coleraine, Co Londonderry. He attended the local grammar school, Coleraine Academical Institution, and originally planned to be a French teacher. But it was here that teacher Robert Simpson encouraged his pupil to take an apprenticeship in drama at the local Riverside Theatre, eventually leading him to drama school in London.

After an early appearance in the war drama Welcome to Sarajevo and Eoin McNamee’s thriller Resurrection Man, the charismatic actor found his niche in comedy, starring in films such as Waking Ned Devine (1998), Women Talking Dirty (1999), The Most Fertile Man in Ireland (2000) and Lucky Break (2001). Between 1996 and 1998, he also appeared as Leo McGarvey in several episodes of Ballykissangel.

James Nesbitt is, however, best known and most loved for his role as Adam Williams in the popular sitcom, Cold Feet, focusing around three 30-something couples living in Manchester. In his most famous scene, Nesbitt’s character Adam proposes to girlfriend Helen wearing nothing but a rose between his buttocks. In 2000, he was rewarded with the Best TV Comedy Actor award at the British Comedy Awards.

Since the end of Cold Feet in March 2003, Nesbitt has starred in the police drama series, Murphy’s Law, which was written especially for him by Northern Irish author Colin Bateman. Nesbitt also received rave reviews for his lead role in the controversial docu-drama, Bloody Sunday, which won the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in America, and a Golden Bear in Berlin.

Most recently, Nesbitt starred opposite Billie Piper and Denis Waterman in the BBC’s production of Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale, and a rather brilliant 21st century version of Jekyll and Hyde for the BBC.

Nesbitt now lives in England, having met his wife, Sonia Forbes-Adams, while touring the world with a production of Hamlet. They married in 1993 and have two young daughters, Peggy and Mary. Nesbitt, however, has always remained faithful to his Northern Irish roots, often returning to visit his family and friends. An avid Manchester United football fan, he can also be seen frequenting the terraces of his native Coleraine.