Daniel Mays (born 31 March 1978) is a British actor.
One of four boys, Mays was raised in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, by his electrician father and bank cashier mother. He attended the Italia Conti stage school before going on to win a place at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
After graduating from RADA in 2000, Mays soon started appearing in a number of supporting roles ranging from a bit part in the BBC soap opera EastEnders in 2000 to playing a pilot in Jerry Bruckheimer's big-budget Pearl Harbor (2001). He was cast in the Mike Leigh film All or Nothing (2002) as Jason, a thug who abused his girlfriend, and also appeared in Leigh's next project, Vera Drake (2004), in which he played Sid, the protagonist's son. His performances for Leigh resulted in further offers of work.
One of Mays's most notable early roles was in the improvised BBC drama Rehab. Directed by acclaimed film maker Antonia Bird, Rehab was a drama about life inside a drug rehabilitation facility. He starred as Adam, a young heroin addict released from prison and sent directly to rehab. For his performance Mays was awarded the Best Actor award at the Palmare-Reims Television Festival in 2003.
Mays has continued to work regularly, and has appeared in a variety of productions, which have included a part in Johnny Vaughan's sitcom, Top Buzzer (2004); the lead role of Carter Krantz in BBC Three's Funland (2005); as well as film appearances in Atonement (2007), White Girl (2008) and The Bank Job (2008).
Mays starred in Channel 4's Friday-night comedy-of-errors sitcom Plus One, in which he played Rob Black, the perennial victim of 'Sod's Law' whose girlfriend has dumped him to marry "Duncan from Blue". He played the role of Michael Myshkin in Channel 4's adaptation of David Peace's Red Riding trilogy. He also appears in the third and final series of Ashes to Ashes on BBC1 as Discipline and Complaints Officer, DCI Jim Keats.
In addition to his TV and film work, Mays has also starred in six stage plays at London's Royal Court Theatre. The productions have included Ladybird, Motortown, The Winterling and Scarborough. Simon Stephens wrote the lead role of Danny in Motortown with Mays in mind. He went on to win critical acclaim for his performance, but the hard-hitting play was too much for some audience members and walkouts were not uncommon.
Projects in 2009 included Hippie Hippie Shake (as '60s alternative figurehead David Widgery, alongside Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller); a role opposite Anna Friel in the third series of Jimmy McGovern's The Street; a "mark" in the BBC drama serial Hustle; as well as an appearance in the independent British movie Shifty, co-starring Riz Ahmed, for which he received a nomination for best supporting actor at the British Independent Film Awards.
In 2010 there were roles in No One Gets Off in This Town and a supporting role in the Steven Spielberg film The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Mays was also cast in a new "epic sci-fi" series for the BBC named Outcasts, filmed in South Africa for transmission in the autumn of 2010 on BBC One. Daniel played Samuel Pepys in the mini-series of The Great Fire, and will portray Private Walker in the 2016 film of Dad's Army.
Mays has a young son, Mylo Burton-Mays, and lives in Crouch End, North London. A keen football fan, he is a supporter of Leyton Orient Football Club.