Alan Armstrong, known professionally as Alun Armstrong, is an English actor. He grew up in County Durham in North East England, and first became interested in acting through Shakespeare productions at his grammar school. Since his career began in the early 1970s, he has played, in his words, "the full spectrum of characters from the grotesque to musicals... I always play very colourful characters, often a bit crazy, despotic, psychotic". His credits include several Charles Dickens adaptations, and the eccentric ex-detective Brian Lane in New Tricks. He is also an accomplished stage actor who spent nine years with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He originated the role of Thénardier in the London production of Les Misérables, and won an Olivier Award in the title role in Sweeney Todd.