Timothy Leonard Spall was born in Battersea, London, to Sylvia R. (Leonard), a hairdresser, and Joseph L. Spall, a postal worker. He was raised in London. Spall auditioned and earned a spot with the National Youth Theatre and later showed great promise at RADA where he portrayed the title roles in "Macbeth" and "Othello." In 1979 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and stayed for approximately two years performing in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "Cymbeline," "The Three Sisters" and "Nicholas Nickleby." In the early 80s he moved into TV roles with Leigh's "Home Sweet Home" and later had his own drama series "Frank Stubbs Promotes" in 1993. With Leigh, Timothy's appeared in a number of award-winning features, particularly Life Is Sweet (1990) and Secrets & Lies (1996), for which he earned a BAFTA Award nomination, and the Gilbert & Sullivan biopic Topsy-Turvy (1999). He also worked for noted directors Ken Russell in Gothic (1986), Clint Eastwood in White Hunter Black Heart (1990), Bernardo Bertolucci in The Sheltering Sky (1990), and Kenneth Branagh in Hamlet (1996) as Rosenkrantz. A chronic illness curtailed his momentum in the mid-90s, coming back resourcefully on stage and TV. On a roll recently with more of his odd characterizations he lent his voice to the popular animated feature Chicken Run (2000) and appeared in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) as Peter Pettigrew, and A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) as Mr. Poe.