"My father was a television director and I always knew I wanted to be in the industry but I had thought my role was behind the camera as opposed to in front. "

Philip was born in Harrow, Middlesex, England and brought up in Hatch End in the London Borough of Harrow, north-west London.
He is the son of the television director John Glenister and the brother of actor Robert Glenister.
Philip went to Hatch End Comprehensive School (now Hatch End High School) and the Central School of Speech and Drama.
His interest in acting came from seeing his brother in a production about the Sex Pistols called Killing Time at the Soho Poly.

Philip worked for the entertainment entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, then worked as a films publicist until he was 23.

The now former wife of his brother, the actress Amanda Redman, persuaded him to apply for the Central School of Speech and Drama, and coached him for his audition.
At Central, he was a contemporary of Graham Norton and Rufus Sewell. He also shared a flat with the actor Jamie Glover.
Philip married actress Beth Goddard in 2006 after a nine-year relationship.
They met at the birthday party of mutual friend and fellow actor Jamie Glover in July 1997.

They have two children, Millie (born March 2002) and Charlotte (born April 2005), and live in East Sheen, near Richmond.

Phil by Phil

My father was a television director and I always knew I wanted to be in the industry but I had thought my role was behind the camera as opposed to in front. My brother Robert wanted to act from a very early age and there was always a part of me that said we couldn't have two actors in the family because our parents would go mental. So I became a runner for the Robert Stigwood Organisation and, one way or another, worked my way up to movie publicist. That was great – I got to go to work and see movies for free – but really I knew that it wasn't for me. So then, by chance, I fell into the acting thing.

My brother Robert was the catalyst. He had seen me act and said I should think about it and told me what I needed to do. One thing led to another, like a domino effect, and before I knew it, I was at drama school. In many respects, drama school became my university and I had a really great time there. I finally felt, yes, this is what I want to do. It was definitely that "coming home" feeling.

My parents might have been worried to begin with – "Oh shit, a dynasty?" – but it's actually fine having two actors in the family. I do think that if you have family in the business and they are all doing all right, it can be tough to break into it. I look at my eldest and think, if you want to be an actor and earn some money, become a barrister. You can still wear a wig and get dressed up, but you earn. So let's get down the Old Bailey for a taster! It is a tough one because you don't want to stand in the way of anyone's ambitions and dreams but equally you know how hard it is in this business.

When you are working on a TV show or series you just get into the routine. You get used to getting up early. It takes a few days, but once you are up and running you get used to going home late and it becomes this very repetitive cycle. People think it's glam but it really isn't. It's not packing shelves and it's not being on the frontline in Afghanistan, but the reality of your day-to-day work is actually quite banal. I mean, in terms of that process and the repetitiveness of it. So you get used to it, and that's your job.