John Ronald Simm (born 10 July 1970 in Leeds, England) is a British actor, most famous for being Seventies-trapped Woobie Sam Tyler in Life on Mars, a maniacal and hammy Master in Doctor Who and Intrepid Reporter Cal McCaffrey in State of Play.
He also played the troubled Alfie, who moves from a big city to a claustrophobic rural community, in The Lakes. Other notable roles include Sexby in the English Civil War drama The Devil's Whore, Raskolnikov in a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment, and characters in the films Skellig and 24-Hour Party People (in the latter, playing Joy Division guitarist/New Order lead singer Bernard Sumner; Simm reprises his role in the music video for New Order's tie-in single "Here to Stay").
Still, The Mighty Boosh asks "Who the fuck is John Simm?"
Tropes associated with his roles
- Clint Squint: Repeatedly as the Master.
- Executive Meddling: Apparently Russell T. Davies pushed him to play the Master as a "giggling lunatic" and Simm later admitted he felt he couldn't give the required depth to the character. The Master's return in "The End of Time" shows much more depth while remaining himself, and his second return in "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls" showed him in an even calmer and more calculating state.
- Grim Up North: His roles in Life On Mars and (to a lesser extent) Clocking Off.
- Large Ham: Went Ham-to-Ham with David Tennant, and depending on who you ask, he won.
- Manly Tears:
- Method Acting: He says there's no such thing as the Method, but since the term is colloquially used to refer to Stanislavskian acting styles, this fits in with his training and his acting style.
- So My Kids Can Watch: It's the reason he was in Doctor Who.
- Irony: After watching his own performance, he thought his children shouldn't see what he did as the Master due to it being too disturbing.