Freeman was raised Roman Catholic and was educated at Cardinal Newman school, a Roman Catholic Primary school in Hersham. He also attended Salesian School, a Voluntary Aided Roman Catholic comprehensive school in the town of Chertsey in Surrey, followed by the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
Freeman has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. His most famous role remains that of Tim Canterbury in The Office. He also appeared in the sitcom Hardware. Additionally Freeman has appeared in several films, including Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Richard Curtis' Love Actually (2003). As well as his various comic roles, Freeman has also appeared in serious dramatic parts. He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC's television series The Robinsons and had a cameo performance in episode 1 of Black Books.
He had a cameo in Hot Fuzz (2007), a film written by Shaun of the Dead writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, and had a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan. He is in the 2007 film The All Together written & directed by Gavin Claxton. He also appeared along side Roger Lloyd Pack, Jamie Hogarth and Christopher Mellows in the 2007 Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh.
He also features in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke". He has recently covered a few shows on BBC 6 Music. In May 2009 he starred in a comedy, called Boy Meets Girl – a four part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.
He has starred in a 48 hour film project entitled 'The Girl Is Mime'.
Freeman plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. The first episode, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011.
Following some uncertainty regarding scheduling conflicts, he has been cast in the role of Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming two-part Peter Jackson prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, titled The Hobbit.
Born to Geoff and Philomena R. Norris, Freeman is the youngest of five children. He currently resides in Hertfordshire with his wife, actress Amanda Abbington, who has appeared alongside Freeman in several productions, such as Men Only, Picking Up The Pieces, The Debt, The Robinsons and the feature film comedy The All Together. He has two children: a son Joe, born in 2005, and a daughter, Grace, born in 2009.
In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, he discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War II. Private L W Freeman, a Territorial Army volunteer in the 150(N) Field Ambulance Regiment, was killed in Northern France on 24 May 1940 in a Stuka dawn attack. His unit was evacuated from Dunkirk two days later. Freeman is a lifelong fan of Motown music and interviewed Smokey Robinson in an edition of The Culture Show aired in October 2009.
Usually plays mild-mannered characters in extraordinary circumstances
Wide range of expressions and reaction shots
Often plays characters from literary fiction (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Sherlock, The Hobbit)
Distinctive clipped, deliberate delivery of lines
He has three older brothers and a sister.
He trained at Central School of Speech and Drama.
Girlfriend is actress Amanda Abbington.
Owns two rescued miniature long-haired dachshunds named Archie and Jodie.
The youngest of five children of Philomena and Geoffrey.
Went to a Catholic secondary school.
Comes from an artistic family: older brother, Tim Freeman, was in the '80s art-pop group, 'Frazier Chorus'; another brother, Jamie Freeman, is a musician and website designer; cousin Ben Norris is a stand-up comic.
Was on the British national squash squad from the age of nine to fourteen.
After his parents divorced, he lived with his father. After his father died (when Martin was ten), he moved back in with his mother and stepfather James.
Is a vegetarian.
The first single he bought was "Ghost Town" by The Specials.
A big fan of '60s and '70s soul music. Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" is his favorite album.
Appears with Bill Nighy in Shaun of the Dead (2004), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Hot Fuzz (2007), Wild Target (2009) and Love Actually (2003). He and Nighy have also both played hobbits. Nighy played "Sam Gamgee" opposite Ian Holm's "Frodo" in the BBC Radio drama of "The Lord of the Rings". Freeman plays the younger version of Holm's "Bilbo" in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013).
Has two children - a son, Joe, and a daughter, Grace - with longtime partner, Amanda Abbington.
Why does everyone have to pretend to be stupid and not know long words?
God, no. I don't do any of that shit [partying with celebrities]. I've got a stag weekend coming up and I've said I'm not doing anything more than a few drinks. I won't have it. I'll go home and watch "Antiques Roadshow" (1997).
If I could get bands to come and play in my house, I'd like that. I've never been to a festival. I'm a creature of habit, mashed-potato comfort, I like rugs. Our sofa's squishy. Maybe too squishy - it's hard to get up sometimes.
Most people have a passive relationship with music and clothes, with culture. But music was my first contact with anything creative. Music is it, as far as I'm concerned.
Some people have that roar in their head, but I'm not sure I ever did. That live-fast-die-young thing. No one wants it really - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin - it's not good. I want to live with Amanda till I'm 70. I was never the kid that went all the way with naughtiness, never got caned or in serious trouble. I always knew when to pull back.
I don't think it was a surprise that I ended up as an actor, and it was anything but a disappointment. My parents gave me the knowledge that reading isn't a bad thing, and admitting to liking a painting doesn't make you an arse-bandit. And that wouldn't have been a problem either.
I'm not a practicing Catholic or I wouldn't be living unwed with a woman, and I don't think all poofs are going to hell, and I don't think everyone who's had an abortion is damned, most of my friends are atheists and I understand atheism, I get it, but I happen to be a theist. I believe in our answerableness to something else.
My mum was Labour-voting, but wanted us to know we were important. Basically, everyone's equal, but you, my children, are a bit better.
Once you've switched that switch [commitment], then, though you notice that other people are great, you're just not interested.
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