Russell’s first television acting role was at the tender age of ten for BBC TV’s very successful Wednesday Play.
He was then signed up by Richard Price, Head of LWT Entertainment and was cast in ‘On The Buses, Please Sir!’, ‘The Fenn Street Gang’, the ‘Doctor’ series starring both Barry Evans and Robin Nedwell and has had roles in programmes starring Hylda Baker and Yootha Joyce. He has also acted opposite Daniel Massey in The Roads to Freedom, and with Joss Ackland and Barbara Jefford in BBC 2’s Canterbury Tales.
Russell toured in Ivor Novello’s ‘King’s Rhapsody’ and played Prince Chululongkorn in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The King and I’. He headed into his first West End show as Slogger Williams in the musical Tom Brown’s Schooldays at the Cambridge Theatre. He then took to the stage of the London Palladium with Tommy Steele in ‘Hans Andersen’. He has also had roles in ‘Oh What A Lovely War!’ at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and ‘Oh Camille!’ at the Arts Theatre in London.
Playwright Paul Doust offered him the star-role in the London Evening Standard Award-Winning ‘Probably Wanstead’ (Brighton Festival). He then went up to Stephen Joseph Theatre, Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s HQ in Scarborough and played a dual role. He was both Floss and Peter, in a new work Soap with top soap stars Sue Twist (Brookside) and Hannah Waterman (Eastenders).
Russell was then the Narrator in the ‘Rocky Horror Music Show’ National tour but it is as the director of the classic Dylan Thomas play ‘Under Milk Wood’ and his performance as the Narrator that had the audience and critics shooting off superlatives. In honour of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Russell directed and starred as Puck in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Russell’s professional dream came true when given the opportunity to learn how to dance on the BBC’s top-rated series Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Russell was partnered with World Champion Latin dancer, Flavia Cacace. The popular couple won both critics and viewers hearts and were nominated for a BAFTA TV Highlight of the Year Award when Russell was shot out of a cannon as part of their Jive routine at the Wembley Arena.
Russell was left spell bound when Andrew Lloyd Webber offered him to star in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at the London Palladium. Before playing The Wizard, Russell returned to the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden playing the Snake.
Russell’s Teen Angel in the 20th anniversary number one theatre tour of ‘Grease the musical’ has brought critical acclaim around the country. He left the show to concentrate on partnering Flavia Cacace to win the Strictly Come Dancing People’s Champion Glitterball on BBC 1.
He returned to the West End January 28th 2013 as a special guest star in Midnight Tango at the Phoenix Theatre reuniting him with Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone, his Strictly Come Dancing comrades. He then launched ‘Zalza’ with Flavia a new dance-fitness DVD which sold tens-of-thousands of units on the world-famous shopping channel, QVC.
Russell starred in his hero ‘The Ivor Novello Story’ at London’s St James’ Theatre followed by his first London fringe at the famous King’s Head Theatre playing a number of acting roles including Milne’s father in Gyles Brandreth’s ‘Now We Are Sixty’.
His debut in cabaret at The Pheasantry made the staff there bring out the Full House sign and then he did back to dance and the West End in Tangomotion with his old friends Tango Siempre. After a long time in show biz Russell was able to accomplish another first he done his own one-man-show at the Edinburgh Festival in August at the iconic Gilded Balloon called ‘Strictly Edinburgh’ that told the story of his life through disco!
Amongst numerous filming commitments this last year Russell appeared in ‘Celebrity Master Chef’ and took on the role of ‘mentor’ for the ‘People’s Strictly’ for Comc Relief on BBC 1.
In 2015 Russell starred alongside Cressida Bonas and Maureen Lipman as the notoriously eccentric performance artist, Leigh Bowery in Laura Jane-Foley’s ‘An Evening With Lucian Freud’. He rounded off the year as Edna in ‘Hairspray’ at the 10th Anniversary of the Welsh Millennium Centre, Cardiff.
October 2016 saw Russell has be given the honour of directing and starring as Madam Arcati in “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward. It was the 75th Anniversary of this most iconic of British plays and it was performed where ‘The Master’ wrote it at Portmeirion in 1941.
In November 2016 Russell hosted a glorious West End show “The Golden Age of Dance” before playing The Gracie Fields Theatre, Rochdale in a pantomime.
2017 Russell found new fame on BBC1’s ‘Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief”, playing the iconic Diana Ross. Frank Skinner and Jennifer Saunders raved at his comic timing and amazing comedy routine. His next venture is for producer Damian Thantry. As Russell’s background is musical theatre with a plethora of West End appearances behind him, who could be better to host “The Sound of His Music” the story of composer Richard Rodgers. It opens in Manchester in July with the fabulous Chetham’s School of Music Concert Orchestra.
In 2018, Russell has had his own show commissioned by BBC Radio 2 a one-off special concert with the BBC Concert Orchestra. “Russell Grant’s Overtures and Beginners” charts the success of the musical theatre overture. Russell will appear in BBC 1’s tribute to Sir Bruce Forsyth at the London Palladium. Asked by Bruce’s family to appear as his favourite celebrity on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, Russell will learn a brand-new routine for the show.
Russell has never appeared in repertory theatre but in May and June he has been asked to play one of the grand-dames of British theatre, Lady Bracknell in Exeter Rep’s ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’.
Russell now spends all his spare time working as an Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research and a Patron of Dementia UK.