Joe Gilgun studied acting at the Laine Johnson Theatre School and Oldham Theatre Workshop. His first TV acting role was in Coronation Street when he was just ten years old; he stayed until he was thirteen. He is best known for playing lovable rogue Eli Dingle in ITV's Emmerdale and Woody in the film This Is England, which was his first feature film role.
Joe was granted time off from Emmerdale to shoot the British crime thriller Harry Brown with veteran actor Sir Michael Caine. In the film - described as a 'modern urban Western' - Gilgun played drug addict and gun dealer Kenny Soames. Harry Brown was released on 11 November 2009 and had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival that year. His other television work includes the highly acclaimed Channel 4 series Shameless, E4 hit Misfits as well as Hollyoaks, Sorted and the TV film Big Dippers.
In 2007, Gilgun starred alongside welterweight boxing champion Michael Jennings in a locally produced feature-length documentary entitled Chorley: Where People Go to Fight. Joe has also appeared in a Dingle-centred episode of 'Ghosthunting with...' hosted by Yvette Fielding.