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8 British and Irish TV Actors America Should Shamelessly Steal

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | February 16, 2013 |

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | February 16, 2013 |

Is British television actually filled with more talented actors? Surely not. Maybe it’s my myopic Anglophilia speaking or, more likely, the fact that I only bother watching what’s already been vetted as the very best of BBC and (to a lesser extent) ITV, has to offer. Regardless, there’s a treasure trove of talented UK residents who we Americans could stand to see more of. And I’m not talking about stuffing them into “Game of Thrones” or some other accent-heavy project. The networks and cable stations are already packed to the gills with fake Americans (e.g. Vampire Bill on “True Blood,” Daniel Grayson on “Revenge” and my most recent WTF discovery, Maggie on “The Walking Dead”). We could shove them in anywhere! Here are ten talented British and Irish TV actors who I’d love to see more of without, you know, having to bootleg their latest BBC series.

Jessica Findlay Brown-“Downton Abbey” No longer employed by ITV, Findlay Brown has a lot of options. And while she could try her hand at feature films, I think this Edwardian Scarlett Johansson would burn brightest on the smaller screen.

Michelle Ryan-“Jekyll,” “EastEnders” America already tried putting this one in the failed “Bionic Woman” project. And I think for many UK residents she’ll always be a soap actress thanks to her long run on “EastEnders.” But I always loved her so much in that “Doctor Who” one-off “The Planet Of The Dead.” However, thanks to an unfortunate resemblance, she may now find herself thought of as the poor man’s Lady Sybil.

Dylan Moran-“Black Books” As a bookseller myself, I have a weakness for Moran’s delightfully odd and wine-soaked “Black Books.” Truth be told, however, his acerbic stand-up is equally delightful. He could easily pull off a Hugh Laurie-esque vehicle.

Andrew Scott-“Sherlock” I hated what Andrew Scott did with the Moriarty character at the end of Series 1, but by the close of Series 2 he had completely won me over.

Richard Coyle-“Coupling” I never understood why Jack Davenport (of “Smash” infamy) emerged from “Coupling” with the career. Coyle was far and away the most enjoyable person on that show. Plus, he has the distinction of appearing in the only Terry Pratchett TV movie that didn’t actively make me blush for everyone involved.

Anna Chancellor-“The Hour” I was crushed, of course, to hear that “The Hour” would not be returning for a third season. I’m not too concerned for the future of Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw. They’ll be fine. Anna Chancellor, however, is a lady actress of a certain age and while we might remember her fondly as Duckface from Four Weddings And A Funeral or the deliciously evil Caroline Bingley in the only “Pride and Prejudice” that matters, I’m not sure The Powers That Be will see it the same way. Her portrayal of Lix on “The Hour” was devastatingly good. CJ Cregg on steroids. I love her. I want her in everything.
lix gif-1.gif

Arthur Darvill-“Doctor Who” Free at last from being killed over and over on “Doctor Who,” I hope our lovely Centurion doesn’t disappear from us forever.

Jessica Hynes-“Spaced” It’s absolutely unfair that Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright have left Jessica Hynes out of all their filmic fun. (A cameo in Shaun Of The Dead doesn’t count.) I don’t know their reasoning. Maybe she’s a terror to work with. But she’s an absolute delight to watch.

Russell Tovey-“Being Human,” “Him & Her” While his “Being Human” co-star was busy smoldering all over Middle-Earth in “The Hobbit,” Russell Tovey was a) stuck with the worst “Sherlock” episode and b) not in my life enough. We need more of him. Allons-y, America.

It wasn’t until I was nearly done here that I realized Dustin had done this before. He is forever scooping me. Did I scrap my post? No, f*ck it, left it in. So, if you’re wondering where Ruth Wilson and Philip Glenister are, they’re here.