Sir Simon Russell Beale, is an English actor, author and music historian. Beale has been described by The Independent as "the greatest stage actor of his generation". He has appeared in Persuasion, The Young Visiters, Dunkirk, The Deep Blue Sea and as Falstaff in the BBC made-for-television films Henry IV, Part I and Part II. He was part of the main cast of Showtime's Penny Dreadful. More recently, he has appeared in Into the Woods and The Death of Stalin.