The Most Embarrassingly Poncy Roles Of Your Favorite British Actors
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The Most Embarrassingly Poncy Roles Of Your Favorite British Actors

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | November 21, 2012 | Comments ()


Listen, I was an English Major with an emphasis in 19th Century British Literature. I've seen more than my fair share of BBC miniseries based of Dickens, Austen, et. al. And any of you who know me, know that spindly, British and poncy is sort of my ideal.

But during this, the British actor invasion, as countless limey bastards steal All-American roles (e.g. the ever so macho, spandex-clad Superman, Batman and Spider-man), it's comforting to remember the poorly tied cravats and laughable wigs of their past. So here's a brief list of their past accomplishments. May they keep you warm this winter.

Damian Lewis--"The Forsyte Saga"

Andrew Lincoln--"Wuthering Heights"
lincoln .jpg

Charlie Hunnam and Jamie Bell--Nicholas Nickelby
Hunnam and Bell .jpg

Rupert Friend--Pride and Prejudice

Tom Hiddleston--"Return To Cranford"

Dominic West (and background Hiddleston)--"Nicholas Nickelby"

Hugh Laurie--"Blackadder"

Chris O'Dowd--"The Crimson Petal And The White"

Tom Hardy--"Wuthering Heights"
hardy .jpg

Daniel Craig--"Moll Flanders"

Benedict Cumberbatch--"To The Ends of The Earth"/The Other Boleyn Girl

benedict cumberbatch to the ends of the earth.jpeg

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Resa Anderson

    Double Hiddleston? UPVOTES FOR ALL!

  • I'm just going to leave this here...

  • e jerry powell

    Alex Kingston is rocking some weave, ain't she?

    Always thought Hugh Laurie was the definition of poncy (or certainly would have been, had he not spent so much time standing next to Stephen Fry).

  • Adam

    I'm a straight man, but, jeeze, Tom Hardy is pretty.

  • Jemiah Jefferson

    These are all just wonderful in my book, even if I do have the urge to laugh at Daniel Craig wearing Farrah Fawcett's hair.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Just an urge? I can't stop!

  • Allin

    Sean Bean as Lovelace in Clarissa makes every other actor mentioned here - including Daniel Craig as Bond - look like a big girl´s blouse.

  • no problem with brits tho

    SWEET DIVINE SAINT ANTHONY. Chris O'Dowd is Irish. From Republic of Ireland. Not in Britain.

  • duckandcover

    The header had me like, "What was so embarrassing about Ralph Fiennes in Wuther -- OH GAH!" Also, a wild Ioan Gruffudd appears in the Forsyte Saga image wth.

  • FrayedMachine

    Totally thought that Daniel Craig in that wig was what's his name from The Highlander. It's crazy what a wig can do.

  • FlighterPilot

    Can someone please make that picture of Charlie Hunnam a sub-plot in "Sons of Anarchy"? I really, really want to see Tig Trager's reaction/attraction to poncy pretty-boy Jax!

  • winged chorus

    You know what I really, really want to see? A reversal of the British Invasion whereby a whole bunch of respected American actors take parts in British costume dramas/epics/adaptations and give amazing performances that make them their own. All the superheroes can be Brits, and the Waistcoated Young Gentlemen can be Yanks.

    And I say this not as an American but as a curious New Zealander who pretty much just observes and appreciates the UK/US cultural push and shove safe in the knowledge that our own cultural achievements will never be put up on the international stage to be judged because nobody really gives two poos about what we get up to down here.

  • Gina

    (Although not all of these are period dramas)

  • mona_sterling

    Holy shit, Rupert Friend. You purty. As for Daniel Craig, I've had to accept the fact that he does little for me except as Bond. As Bond, in his impeccably tailored clothing (and out of it), I find him gorgeous. But everywhere else? Meh. Kinda like Jon Hamm. Complicated, brooding Don Draper gets me all swoony, but real-life goofy ass Jon Hamm, I can take or leave. This says something unflattering about me, I fear.

  • prince_of_montagu

    As someone who's just started The Wire, i have to say,

    DOMINIC WEST IS BRITISH?!?! Dude has his American accent on point.

    I know Idris Elba is too, but i never guessed Dom.

  • alwaysanswerb

    This was my primary reaction to the entire list as well...

  • For the non-British: Robert Downey, Jr in Restoration. He is the PONCIEST.

  • Rooks

    How is it that when Daniel Craig wears that hair, it's ridiculous to the point of even casting a metaphorical shadow on Alex Kingston's truly impressive and wonderful cleavage, but when Jason Isaacs does, it makes me want to kill Peter, Wendy and Tinkerbell with a shotgun and watch a movie that contains nothing but scenes of Hook strutting around the deck of his ship, looking out at the sea majestically and saying random things in that voice of his?*
    (*Occasional close-ups of his eyes highly appreciated but not mandatory.)

    Anyway. Originally, I only wanted to point out the "foreground Gruffudd" who seems to have gone unnoticed and/or ignored, because I thought that was sad. Nevermind me.

  • chanohack

    No shadow for me. All I see in that picture is boobies.

  • mb

    Oh my goodness I love you forever for this comment. My well-worn copy of Peter Pan is my secret shame.

  • Rooks

    And I love you, random pajiban! (Sorry, couldn't help it.)
    Unless your well-worn copy of that movie is on a VHS that has been unscrewed and then had its tape superglued and scotchtaped back to the take-up reel, rest assured, there is no shame in it. No shame whatsoever.

  • Mrs. Julien

    You are not the only one who feels that way about Jason Isaacs in costume as Captain Hook. Lucius Malfoy too. What is it with me and arrogant/autocratic men?

  • Rooks

    Re: What is it with me us and arrogant/autocratic men... Insert reference to Freudian psychoanalysis here. Insert wistful sigh here.
    The more interesting question is: How do we feel about Col William Tavington?

  • Mrs. Julien

    I haven't seen that movie, but as a rule, I am emphatically pro-Isaacs.
    Subject: [jiba] Re: The Most Embarrassingly Poncy Roles Of Your Favorite British Actors

  • JoannaRobinson

    That's only because I wasn't sure how much stock Horatio Hornblower has with the Pajiba set.

  • I would say it's a pretty safe bet.

  • Bodhi

    I sure as hell loved every minute of it.

  • raeraefred

    agree; much, much love! indefatigable love.

  • wendy

    i see what you did there.

  • BobbFrapples

    Foppish is a turn on, god help me.

  • schmistory

    How did I not know Brody was British???

  • Abby

    Y'all can scoff at Daniel Craig's wig all you want. I just saw Skyfall yesterday. That man would have to do far, far more than wear a crappy wig for me not to hit it--repeatedly.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I can't stop laughing at the Craig photo. I'm simultaneously horrified and delighted. Ironically, my stays are in tact.

  • BlackRabbit

    No feeling one way or the other on poncy-ness, I'm just pleased by the phrase "background Hiddleston".

  • sean

    Hugh Laurie isn't remotely embarrassed by that. He was having the time of his life in that role.

  • Zirza

    One of the funniest things you could possibly do is show Blackadder the third to someone who has only ever seen Hugh Laurie do House.

  • KateNonymous

    "AAAAAAAHHHHHH! Unaccustomed as I am to making speeches . . . "

  • Joseph Crisp

    I need to find someone like that

  • Zirza

    Get a job in high school. It has an inexhaustable supply of these people.

  • Arran

    That's the thing. It can't be embarrassingly poncy when it was a pisstake of embarrassingly poncy stuff!

    I'll be back to comment again before you can say "antidisestablishmentarianism".

  • TheShitWizard


  • PDamian

    I'd add Richard E. Grant as the Scarlet Pimpernel, but then again, that man can do poncy and sexy like no-one else.

  • stardust

    A library copy of Return to Cranford is sitting at home by my TV right now. I can't wait to pour myself a glass of wine and revel in the poncy deliciousness later on tonight.

  • Bodhi

    I could stare at that picture of Rupert Friend for all the hours.

    It took a solid minute of staring at the header for me to realize it was Daniel Craig. Sheesh, what a horrible wig

  • zeke_the_pig

    I gotta say - I despise this look. Male; female; whatever Cumberbatch is; I hate it. As Malcolm Tucker said: 'Where do you think you are, some fucking regency costume drama? This is a
    government department, not some fucking Jane fucking Austen novel!
    Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up
    your shitter with a lubricated horse cock!'

  • JoannaRobinson

    That's my favorite Malcolm Tucker line. I say purview every so often just so I can remember that line. P.S. That line was directed at the lovely Gina McKee who was in the Forsyte Saga with Damian Lewis...England, it's a small island.

  • zeke_the_pig

    There's hefty competition but it's definitely close to the top for me as well. I live on this island, and I bumped into Cumberbatch at a pub near my house not long ago, shortly followed by an encounter with The Elba down in the East End, so, yeah: damn tiny it sure is.

  • TS

    Some of those are actually quite good. But not Charlie Hunnam/Jamie Bell in Nicholas Nickelby - that is basically unwatchable!

    Would you believe that To The Ends of the Earth was where I discovered Benedict Cumberbatch? He is so unbelievably, horribly posh in that!

  • Blake

    Blond Clive Owen in Croupier was not good.

  • Blake

    Nor Patrick Stewart in Claudius...

  • Donna SHerman

    Patrick Stewart in everything is always good.

  • Blake

    I'm not disagreeing... But does he need a wig? No.

  • Donna SHerman


  • Schminky


  • TheOriginalMRod

    Now we know what Ren Faire Bond would look like. Great.

  • Blake

    Sorry but "Hugh Laurie — Blackadder” is AWESOME.

  • BWeaves

    Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder II. He looked damn sexy with a pearl earring, goatee, tights and pouffy pants. It's probably the only time I've found Rowan Atkinson sexy. I like him mean and nasty. Mr. Bean turns me off.

  • pumpkin

    I completely agree! I've always found it frightening to be attracted to him in that goatee and flowing hair considering what a weenie he is in Blackadder the First.

  • PM11

    Chris O'Dowd is Irish not British

  • nosio

    The last picture of Cumberbatch is a thing of beauty.

  • Fredo

    I believe this is one of two ways for English actors to pay their dues: Go poncy or go home.

    The other? Well, you don't want to know the other. Let's just say it involves a reading from Henry V, a jar of vaseline and a willingness to make an ass of yourself AKA Eastenders.

  • Guest

    There was nothing embarrassing about Damien Lewis in tFS (well, ok, the second series was indulgent crap, but the first was spitfire good). I'm no Lewis fan, since I haven't seen Homeland yet (I know! Soon!), and Life turned me OFF the dude. But tFS redeemed him. He owned Soames so much that I'll never view Lewis as a sex-symbol EVAR--just a capable actor who hasn't much range (like most) but really knows how to work with what he's got. What a great performance in a great (first) series.

    (I'm not touching "poncy"; that's one of my "retired words"...)

  • koko temur

    bloody hell, i have to respectfully disagree on the range thing.

  • Guest

    Noted. (Opinion subject to change after eventual Homeland viewing.)

  • koko temur

    and people say you cant be civil on the iterwebs! (must be the poncyness of the post trickling down)

  • Rebecca

    Band of Brothers should be required viewing too before deciding on his range. First thing I saw him in, and if he weren't so damned distinctive looking, I would never have recognized him in Forsyte, Life, or Homeland. Range-he has it.

  • Guest

    (By range, I don't mean range of emotion--I mean, in the critical sense: being a chameleon. Lewis has such unusual, pronounced, distinct facial tics and body language that, to me, he's always Lewis onscreen--he doesn't really disappear, in that sense. That said, he uses them REAL well, and fucking effectively. Just wanted to clarify that.)

  • Rebecca

    I agree that his tics and appearance are definitely distracting. He's not quite "just" a character actor anymore and is very recognizable, but he is not quite A list, and I think that's true of most actors in his position. Each character he inhabits has a distinct personality that still somehow fits along the spectrum of his own emotional range (Winters in BoB is vastly different from the repressed intensity of Forsyte, while there is more similarity between his Homeland and Life roles.) I think that definition of range means more to mean than the physical disappearance into a role. It is hard to imagine him playing any sort of laid back guy though!

  • Guest

    "It is hard to imagine him playing any sort of laid back guy though!"

    That's very well put.

  • Alice

    Also, Tom Hardy in "The Virgin Queen"! I bought the friggin DVD from PBS. Now that's desperation.

  • AngelenoEwok

    You say, "embarrassingly poncy," I say, "WHY AREN'T THESE ON MY TEEVEE RIGHT NOW?" It's the waistcoats. They Do Things to me.

  • Basically, waistcoats will be happening after work today. It is only a matter of which waistcoat.

  • Tell ya what. I won't denigrate your list if you post more pictures of Moll's...Flanders. ;-P

  • I'm a chick and even I am in love with those beautiful round marshmallows.

  • Bert_McGurt

    No kidding. Those are volup-diddly-uptous.

  • Eff you Pajiba. You will not take Bond from us. I am leaving this here for all you ladies and gents: this shall cleanse your palettes of that ratchett wig Craig's wearing:

  • DeltaJuliet can I thank you for totally making my day!!!!

  • Mrs. Julien

    God bless you! Jesus Lord God such heavenly hotness.

  • Lemon_Poundcake

    How the hell do I un-see the Daniel Craig photos? Does Comet work on eyeballs?

  • Yeah -- the title to this doesn't make any sense if we're to take this list entirely. Nothing poncy at all about Damien Lewis in The Forsyte Saga.

  • Frankly

    He was an evil, conniving, ice cold bastard. It was excellent.

  • Abbey Road

    You MOCK ME with the Bright Star image. Since seeing Skyfall I have been looking everywhere for that movie (short of buying it). No Redbox, no iTunes rental, no Prime Instant, no nada. You have renewed my zeal to continue my search.

    PS Upon seeing Nickleby, I actually thought (of Hunnam): "Why'd they cast that cheesy American that can't even do an English accent?" Shame, too, because the supporting cast in that movie is phenomenal.

  • Not to taunt, but it was on Netflix Instant a while back. And you can get it from them if you want the DVD.

  • Abbey Road

    I know, it was even in my instant queue, but I sat on it. Bad move.

  • Nikki Trix

    Isn't it sad that no accent sounds natural coming out of Hunnam's mouth? Not even his own.

  • sal paradise

    Yay for Alex Kingston (River Song) with Foppish Bond!

  • Never underestimate the power of the cravat, waistcoat, and breeches combination. Melting panties for centuries.

  • Cuca

    WORD dat!

  • AngelenoEwok


  • almond

    The Forsyte Saga is how I first got introduced to Damian Lewis and I've been a fan ever since. Craig's wig is pure beauty, though, and trumps everything else on the list.

  • Natallica

    If by "poncy" you mean "brooding, dreamy with a touch of Eddie Vedder in his prime", then I agree on Tom Hardy's Heathcliff

  • MrMinion

    My guess is that half of Craig-Bonds body count is from killing people who asked him about his wig.

    Tom Hardy, however, has a remarkably pretty face.

  • Spicymustard

    Daniel Craig's wig is GLORIOUS! Glorious, I say!

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    In the header pic, it's almost like he and Alex Kingston are doing a very, very retro production of Hair.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    It's almost as great as Ron Perlman's in "Beauty and the Beast".

  • zeke_the_pig

    Motherfucker looks like he should be in Kansas. And I mean that in only the best ways.

  • Natallica

    80's prog rock band style at its best

  • ceebee_eebee

    Moll Flanders is AMAZING. If only because Alex Kingston is amazing. But I agree. Daniel Craig's hair in that movie is distractingly horrific. So sad.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    It's ah, how shall I say it, rather on the Gene Wilder side of the follicular spectrum.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Oddly enough, the only one really looking like Gene Wilder on this list is Hiddleston.

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