Gerald Roderick Charles Dickens (born 9 October 1963) is an English actor and performer best known for his one man shows, based on the novels of his great-great-grandfather, Charles Dickens. He was the President of the Dickens Fellowship from 2005 to 2007.
Born in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the fourth child and second son of David Kenneth Charles Dickens (1925–2005) and his wife Betty (1927–2010), Dickens is the grandson of Gerald Charles Dickens RN (after whom he was named) and the great-grandson of Henry Fielding Dickens KC; he is also the cousin of author Monica Dickens, biographer and writer Lucinda Hawksley, and actor Harry Lloyd. Dickens attended Huntleys Secondary School for Boys in Royal Tunbridge Wells and West Kent College.
Inspired to be an actor by a performance of Nicholas Nickleby by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gerald Dickens first performed his solo version of A Christmas Carol in America in 1993, returning annually to perform at historic hotels, libraries, theatres and Dickens festivals. In 2009, Dickens' American tour included such Christmas companies as Vaillancourt Folk Art and Byers Choice and has yielded national and local press.
Based on the readings performed by Charles Dickens himself during his own British and American tours, Gerald Dickens performs extracts from The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby and A Christmas Carol among others, in the latter creating 26 characters in a performance described by The New York Times as "a once in a lifetime brush with literary history."
Dickens has recorded unabridged audiobooks of The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby. In December 2011 he appeared on the BBC's Songs of Praise. A keen golfer, he wrote and performs the two-act play Top Hole!, based on four golfing stories by P. G. Wodehouse. In 2015 at the Music Box Theatre in Minneapolis he played Charles Dickens in Jeffrey Hatcher's one-hander To Begin With, which was adapted from Dickens' The Life of Our Lord.
In 2004 Dickens won the British TV show The Weakest Link during its 8th season in an episode where the contestants all had famous ancestors .
Gerald Dickens lived in Goudhurst, Kent with his former wife Lucy Marsh, with whom he had a son, Cameron. He married his long-term partner Liz Hayes, a pianist who sometimes accompanies his performances, on 10 August 2015. They live in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.