Clive was born in Reeth, England, and brought up in Fife, Scotland.
He is a familiar face on British television and has appeared in numerous telivision series, including Boys from the Blackstuff (as a policeman), Hope and Glory, Neverwhere, Great Expectations, The Mists of Avalon, Heartburn Hotel, Roughnecks, Monarch of the Glen, Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, Rockface, Spaced, Still Game, Cracker as Robbie Coltrane's brother, Happiness and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. From 2005 - 2006 Russell played Phil Nail in ITV's Coronation Street.
In Margaret's Museum, a highly acclaimed motion picture, Clive starred opposite Helena Bonham Carter as the Gaelic-speaking Neil Currie. His other film credits include Festival, Ladies in Lavender and The Wolfman.