Daniel Radcliffe was born in West London, England. He is the only child of Alan George Radcliffe, a literary agent, and Marcia Jeannine Gresham (née Marcia Gresham Jacobson), a casting agent who was involved in several films for the BBC, including The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Walk Away and I Stumble. His father is from “a very working-class” Protestant background in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland. His mother is Jewish; she was born in South Africa and raised in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. Her family had originally come from Poland and Russia. Radcliffe’s parents had both acted as children.
Daniel Radcliffe first expressed a desire to act at the age of five, and in December 1999, aged 10, he made his acting debut in BBC One’s televised two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, portraying the title character as a young boy. He was educated at two independent schools for boys: Sussex House School, a day school in Chelsea’s Cadogan Square, and the City of London School, a day school on the North Bank of the River Thames in London’s financial district (known as the City of London). Attending school became difficult for Radcliffe after the release of the first Harry Potter film, with some fellow pupils becoming hostile, though he says it was people just trying to “have a crack at the kid that plays Harry Potter” rather than jealousy.
As his acting career began to consume his schedule, Radcliffe continued his education through on-set tutors. He admitted he was not very good at school, considering it useless and finding the work “really difficult.” He achieved A grades in the three AS-level exams that he took in 2006, but decided to take a break from education and did not go to college or university. Part of his reasoning was that he already knew he wanted to act and write, and that it would be difficult to have a normal college experience. “The paparazzi, they’d love it,” he told Details magazine in 2007. “If there were any parties going on, they’d be tipped off as to where they were.