Joseph Gilgun was born on 9th March 1984. He began acting at the age of nine and soon he joined the Oldham Theatre Workshop where he acted in pantomimes. In March 1994 he made his debut on Coronation Street as Jamie Armstrong. He remained with the series until May 1997.
During his time on the show, Joseph continued his education in Bolton, Lancashire but combined it with his work on Coronation Street where his mother Judith acted as his chaperone. Joseph suffers from dyslexia so he had to learn his scripts rather than reading them. Joseph hoped to continue his acting career after completing his education. He lives in Bolton with his mother and two sisters Jennie and Rosie.
Between 2006 and 2010 he was a regular in Emmerdale as Eli Dingle. Gilgun announced he would quit the role on 10th November 2009, feeling the time was right to move on. His last appearance was on 30th April 2010. An Emmerdale representative said the programme had not ruled out a future return for the character. Gilgun later indicated he currently had no such plans, and as of 2020 no such return has taken place.
Gilgun then reprised the character of Woody for a four-part Channel 4 TV spin-off of This Is England, called This Is England '86. The first episode aired at 10.00pm on 7th September 2010. He returned to the role in December 2011 in a Christmas Special, This Is England '88.
On 9th May 2011 it was announced that Gilgun had been cast as newcomer Rudy Wade in the third series of Misfits, which aired in late October 2011. He replaced the character of Nathan Young following the departure of Robert Sheehan. An online short called Vegas Baby covered Nathan's exit and Rudy's arrival. It was available on the E4 website from 15th September.
Most recently, Gilgun created, executive produced and starred (as working-class petty criminal Vinny O'Neil) in the comedy series Brassic. The first series premiered on Sky One in August 2019 and a second premiered in May 2020.