David Troughton was born in London on 9 June 1950, the son of noted Shakespearean actor Patrick Troughton, who is now best remembered as the Second Doctor in Doctor Who (1963). He started his own acting career at the Unicorn Theatre for Children. His stage career has included repertory at Leeds, Manchester and Bromley, roles at the Royal Court and the National Theatre.
He is a leading member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and is considered to be one of Britain's finest classical actors. He has brought his regal presence to the narration of the television series Diana: Story of a Princess (2001) and the portrayal of "King George V" in the acclaimed All the King's Men (1999). His son, Sam Troughton, is also an actor.