Allen Leech

Allen Leech

Leech in October 2011
Born Alan Leech
(1981-05-18) 18 May 1981
Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Actor
Years active 1998–present

Alan "Allen" Leech (born 18 May 1981) is an Irish actor best known for his role as Tom Branson on the historical drama series Downton Abbey. He made his professional acting debut with a small part in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, made his first major film appearance as Vincent Cusack in Cowboys & Angels, and earned an Irish Film & Television Awards nomination in 2004 with his performance as Mo Chara in Man About Dog. Leech came to international attention as Marcus Agrippa on the HBO historical drama series Rome.

Early life

Leech was born in Killiney, County Dublin to David Leech, the CEO of a computer systems company, and Kay Leech, a housewife.[1] He is the third of four children;[2] he has an older brother, Greg, an older sister, Ali, and a younger brother, Simon.[3] He attended St Michael's College.[1] Leech became interested in acting at 11 when he was given the part of the Cowardly Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz and found he loved being on stage.[2] He recalled how he immediately decided to become an actor when Peter McDonald told him how acting is a profession on the last night of the production's run.[2]

Afterwards, drama became the "focal point" of Leech's teenage years, apart from his family life, and drama and family support helped him through his school years.[4] He became set on acting after winning a small role in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Gate Theatre.[5] He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, Dublin,[6] later noting this was a "loophole" in his parents' stipulation that he earn a degree to fall back on if he failed to have success as an actor.[7] He landed his first major roles in Cowboys & Angels and Man About Dog while at Trinity, and he has admitted that he did little schoolwork because he spent his time on auditions and acting.[5]


Leech's first professional stage role was at the Gate in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire.[8] "I was the gentleman caller to Frances McDormand's Blanche Dubois. The Coen brothers were walking backstage, and me a naive 16-year-old."

He appeared as Willi in the Queen and Peacock, at the Garter Lane Arts Centre. The following years, Leech was in Tom Murphy's The Morning After Optimism and then Hugh Leonard's Da at the Abbey.

Leech's breakthrough film performance was in Cowboys and Angels,[9] in which he played Vincent, a gay fashion student, followed by the 2004 cross country caper film Man About Dog,[10][11] in which Leech plays Mo-Chara, one of three Belfast scallies who get in way above their heads.

Leech played the role of Shane Kirwan in the Ireland's RTÉ series Love Is the Drug, in which he received a Best Actor nomination from the Irish Film and Television Awards. He followed that up with the role of Willy in the television series Legend, which is the story of three different Irish families. He received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from Irish Film and Television Awards for his performance.

In 2007, Leech appeared in the HBO drama series Rome as Marcus Agrippa, Octavian's top soldier and friend.[12] The film, Rewind, opened in Ireland on 25 March 2011.[13]

In 2010, he appeared on the small screen in The Tudors as the doomed Francis Dereham, former lover of Catherine Howard. Leech also appears in ITV 2010s television series Downton Abbey as chauffeur Tom Branson, whose political ideologies clash with the upper class. He plays the role of officer Sam Leonard in television series Primeval in 2011 in series five. Leech also stars in the 2012 film adaptation The Sweeney.[14]

Leech was voted sexiest Irish male in 2005 in U Magazine. He was named one of GQ's 50 best dressed men in Britain in 2015.[15]

Personal life

Leech dated television presenter Charlie Webster from 2014 to 2015.[16][17]


Film, television, and other

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Iníon an Fhiaclóra (The Dentist's Daughter) Rory Short film
2000 Yesterday's Children Brian Television film
2002 The Escapist Policeman 1
2003 Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor British Officer Television film
2003 Cowboys & Angels Vincent Cusack
2004 Battlefield Britain Episode: "A Clash of Kings: The Battle of the Boyne"
2004 Man About Dog Mo Chara
2004 Love Is the Drug Shane Kirwen 4 episodes
2006 Legend Willy 6 episodes
2007 Rome Marcus Agrippa 8 episodes
2007 Deep Breaths Danny Short film
2008 Heroes and Villains Edeco Episode: "Attila the Hun"
2008 Factory Farmed Short film
2009 From Time to Time Fred Boggis
2009 Running Low Bala Whedon 2 episodes
2010 Rewind Karl
2010 The Tudors Francis Dereham 2 episodes
2010–2015 Downton Abbey Tom Branson 45 episodes
2011 Primeval Officer Sam Leonard 1 episode
2011 Black Mirror Pike Episode: "The National Anthem"
2012 The Sweeney Simon Ellis
2012 Assassin's Creed III Thomas Hickey Voice
Video game
2013 Grand Piano Wayne
2013 In Fear Max
2013 Hello Darkness Mark Cooper
2014 The Imitation Game John Cairncross
2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Hjalmar an Craite (voice) Video game
2015 Hunter's Prayer Post-production


Year Title Role Theatre Notes
1998 A Streetcar Named Desire Gentleman Caller Gate Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
1999 This Lime Tree Bower Joe New Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
2000 The Queen and Peacock Willie Garter Lane Arts Centre Performed as Alan Leech
2001 The Morning After Optimism Edmund Abbey Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
2002 Da Young Charlie Abbey Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
2008 Everybody Loves Sylvia Harlequin Project Arts Centre
2008 Zero Hour Benny, Ensemble Abbey Theatre
2010 Phaedra Hippolytus Project Arts Centre
2010 On Baile's Strand Young Man Abbey Theatre
2011 Ecstasy Mick Hampstead Theatre, Duchess Theatre


Year Appearance Notes
2004 The Panel TV series (1 episode: "Episode #2.5")
2005 3rd Irish Film and Television Awards TV documentary
2007 4th Irish Film and Television Awards Presenter


Year Award Category Work Result
2004 Irish Film & Television Awards Best New Talent Cowboys & Angels Nominated
2005 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in Television Love Is the Drug Nominated
2007 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television Legend Nominated
2013 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television Downton Abbey Nominated
2013 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
2014 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Imitation Game Nominated
2015 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Film The Imitation Game Nominated
2015 20th Critics' Choice Awards Best Acting Ensemble The Imitation Game Nominated
2016 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won


  1. 1 2 MacDonald, Marianne (22 July 2007). "Rome Sweet Rome". The Evening Standard  via Infotrac (subscription required) . Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 Randall, Lee (15 September 2012). "Interview: Allen Leech on the return of Downton Abbey". The Scotsman. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  3. Butler, Laura (3 November 2012). "'Downton' star Allen loves his role as rebellious Irishman". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  4. "Downton Abbey star Allen Leech denies being bullied as a child". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  5. 1 2 Nolan, Emma (3 September 2006). "A cowboy and an angel wrapped up to make a legend". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  6. "Allen Leech". Troika Talent. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  7. "Allen Leech on the Thursday Interview". The Right Hook. Dublin, Ireland. 1 November 2012. Newstalk.
  8. Matt Wolf: "A Streetcar Named Desire", [], 18 May 1998
  9. Robert Koehler: "Cowboys & Angels", [], 13 July 2004
  10. Rich Cline: "Man About Dog"., [19 Oct. 2004]
  11. Jamie Russell: "Man About Dog" (2004),, 14 November 2004.
  12. "HBO". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  13. "Welcome to Twitter - Login or Sign up". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  14. Allen Leech's Troika agency profile
  15. "50 Best Dressed Men in Britain 2015". GQ. 5 Jan 2015. Archived from the original on 7 January 2015.
  16. "PROPER Charlie! Downton Abbey's Allen Leech cosies up to his stunning girlfriend at black tie bash!". 8 October 2014.
  17. Nattrass, JJ (30 December 2015). "Downton Abbey's Allen Leech and Charlie Webster split because it was the 'wrong time' for both of them to be in a relationship". Retrieved 9 March 2016.

External links

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