Military service in the RAF, pilot officer, 1951-1952.
Son of Cedric Hardwicke and Helena (Pickard) Hardwicke.
Father of two daughters: Kate and Emma Hardwicke.
Educated at Stowe School.
Dramatic training at Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
An Associate Member of RADA.
Beginning with The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986), Hardwicke took over the role of Dr. Watson in the various Jeremy Brett "Sherlock Holmes" TV series following the departure of David Burke, who played the Watson role in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984).
His uncle on his mother's side was Group Captain Percy Charles Pickard DSO, DFC. G/C Pickard featured as the pilot of the Vickers Wellington bomber in the 1941 British propaganda film "Target For Tonight" extolling the British bomber offensive against Germany. In October 1943 Pickard took over command of 140 Wing flying the all wood De Haviland Mosquito. The connections between the Mosquito and the cinema were strong, for the aircraft's manufacturer Sir Geoffrey De Haviland was a cousin of actresses Olivia De Haviland and Joan Fontaine and the legendary exploits of British and Commonwealth Mosquito crews would inspire the films "633 Squadron" and "Mosquito Squadron". G/C Pickard was killed in action on February 18th 1944 leading the daring low level attack against Amiens prison in Northern France. The Mosquitos breached a hole in the prison wall enabling 400 French resistance fighters to escape,of which 258 managed to evade re-capture. Sadly G/C Pickard was shot down by a German fighter as he headed home and was killed along with his navigator John Broadley DSO, DFC, DFM. Aspects of the Amiens prison raid were incorporated into the 1968 film "Mosquito Squadron".
His close friends included Ronnie Corbett, Albert Finney, Anthony Hopkins and Peter O'Toole.
From 1954 to 1957, he acted at the Old Vic. From 1964 to 1971, he was member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre.
He played Albert, Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) in The Pallisers: Part Seventeen (1974) while his mother Helena Pickard played Edward VII's mother Queen Victoria in The Lady with a Lamp (1951).
He played Lord Stanley in Richard III (1995) while his father Cedric Hardwicke played King Edward IV of England in Richard III (1955).