Christopher Fairbank's life is as dramatic and surprising as any movie the veteran English actor has been in. His teenage years were spent at a juvenile hostel in Liverpool, where he decided to pursue a lifelong dream of acting, eventually going on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. By the time he landed his breakout role as Liverpudlian migrant worker Albert Moxey in the hugely popular series "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" (ITV, 1983-2004), the rough and tumble actor had already amassed a resume that included stints on such TV shows as the legal drama "Z Cars" (BBC, 1962-1978) and the dystopian serial "Noah's Castle" (ITV, 1980), as well as the feature film "Agatha" (1979), centered on the mystery writer's unsolved disappearance in 1926. The next decade ushered in a string of well-known turns for the heavily pockmarked actor, including small but memorable roles in "Batman" (1989), "Alien 3" (1992), and "The Fifth Element" (1997). Beginning in the 2000s Fairbank branched out into voice acting with video games such as "Prisoner of War" (2002), and portrayed a hardened detective on the BBC mini-series "Five Daughters" (2010), before being cast as the title hero's uncle in "Jack the Giant Slayer" (2013). Who knew that being labeled a juvenile delinquent would turn out to be just what Christopher Fairbank needed?
Born to middle-class parents in a suburb northeast of London, Fairbank always dreamed of acting and spent his teenage years getting in trouble. In 1971 he was sent away to a juvenile hostel in Liverpool for breaking his probation from a drug charge two years earlier, and the ambitious teen decided to use his time away to pursue acting. Although his severe acne almost prevented him from attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, a hastily acquired doctor's note eventually set things right. Upon graduating from the famed school, Fairbank quickly went to work, making his debut in 1978 on the long-running "Z Cars" and appearing in the Oscar-nominated "Agatha" before being cast in "Noah's Castle," which followed one family's attempt to stay alive in a starving future England.
In 1983, Fairbank landed the role of stuttering plasterer Albert Moxey on "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet," which quickly became one of the biggest shows of the decade, as well as his signature role. The show's initial run ended in 1986, and Fairbank later appeared in both the 2002 and 2004 specials. He worked steadily through the rest of the decade in made-for-TV movies and nighttime serials, and in 1989 landed another iconic role, this time as the pockmarked mugger who invokes Michael Keaton's growly declaration, "I'm Batman." Since portraying a lustful prisoner in the grimy "Alien 3" and a futuristic scientist in the sci-fi adventure "The Fifth Element," Fairbank has voiced characters in over a dozen video games; been featured in "Five Daughters," based on the 2006 serial murders in Ipswich, England; and been cast as a scornful uncle in the widely-panned "Jack the Giant Slayer."
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made TV debut on BBC's "Z Cars."
Cast in a supporting role in his debut film "Agatha."
Landed a recurring role on the family drama series "Noah's Castle."
Cast as a migrant construction worker on ITV's "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet."
Portrayed a mugger in Tim Burton's "Batman."
Cast as a prisoner in David Fincher's "Alien 3."
Landed a role as a scientist in "The Fifth Element."
Voiced the role of an army colonel in the video game "Prisoner of War."
Cast as Jack's uncle in "Jack the Giant Slayer."