Other early 'stand-out' roles came in the premieres of Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine (1979) and Mike Leigh's Goose Pimples (1981). He was Malcolm Bradbury's History Man on TV (1981) before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982, where he has played a huge variety of leading role in modern plays such as David Edgar's Maydays (1983) and Peter Flannery's Singer (1989) but chiefly in Shakespeare. He was the Fool to Michael Gambon's Lear, a famous Richard III, Shylock, Malvolio, Leontes, Macbeth with Harriet Walter, and, currently, Iago. For the RSC he was also Cyrano and Tamburlaine and the Malcontent. Interspersed with these were appearances at the National Theatre - as Astrov to Ian McKellen's Uncle Vanya, as Stanley Spencer in Pam Gems's play and as Titus Andronicus, which he originated at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg. In October 2004 he will appear at the National again in his own play based on Primo Levi's This was a Man. Following his debut as a writer with Year of the King, he has written four novels - Middlepost, Indoor Boy, Cheap Lives and The Feast - as well as an autobiography, Beside Myself (2001), and a play, I.D. (premiered at the Almeida, 2003).