Allen Leech (born 18 May 1981 in Ireland) is an Irish stage, television and film actor, best known for his roles as Tom Branson in ITV’s television series Downton Abbey and Marcus Agrippa in the 2007 HBO television series Rome.
Allen Leech, from Killiney in south Dublin, attended St. Michael’s College in Ballsbridge and graduated in 1999. He then studied Drama and Theatre Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. While a first-year Trinity student he secured a plum role in Foresight’s powerful production of Conor McPherson’s This Lime Tree Bower. This student production propelled him out into professional theatre and helped get him his first agent. He appeared as Willi in the Queen and Peacock, at the Garter Lane Arts Centre. The following years, Leech was in Tom Murphy’s The Morning After Optimism and then Hugh Leonard’s Da at the Abbey. Since then, Leech has moved with ease from plays to films.
Allen’s breakthrough film performance was in Cowboys and Angels, in which he played Vincent, a gay fashion student, followed by the 2004 cross country caper film Man About Dog, in which Leech plays Mo-Chara, one of three Belfast scallies who get in way above their heads.
Allen Leech was voted sexiest Irish male in 2005 in U Magazine, beating Colin Farrell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. It was voted for by the female readers of Ireland’s leading women’s magazine.
Leech did not rest on his laurels and followed film success with the role of Shane Kirwan in the Ireland’s RTÉ series Love is the Drug, in which he received a Best Actor nomination from the Irish Film and Television Awards. He followed that up with the role of Willy in the television series Legend which is the story of three very different Irish families, each one struggling to find their place amid the harsh realities of modern Ireland. He received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from Irish Film and Television Awards for his performance.
In 2007, Allen appeared in the HBO drama series Rome as Marcus Agrippa, Octavian’s top soldier and friend. He is working on a feature film with the director of the award winning Irish short movie Deep Breaths, a dark, psychological thriller directed by P. J. Dillon in which Allen also starred. The film, Rewind, opened in Ireland on March 25, 2011.
In 2010, he appeared on the small screen in both The Tudors as the doomed Francis Dereham, former lover of Catherine Howard and in Downton Abbey as the chauffeur Tom Branson, whose political ideologies clash with the upper class ruling elite. He plays the role of officer Sam Leonard in television series Primeval in 2011 in series five. Leech also stars in the 2012 film adaptation The Sweeney.
Allen has been nominated for three IFTA Awards. In 2004, he was nominated for the IFTA Award for Best New Talent for Cowboys & Angels. In 2005, he was nominated for the IFTA Award for Best Actor in Television for Love Is the Drug. And in 2007, he was nominated for the IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television for Legend.