American TV Offers a Harvest of British Actors This Fall

British actress Hayley Atwell stars in ABC's legal drama "Conviction". (Photo:  (Photo: ABC/John Medland)
British actress Hayley Atwell stars in ABC's legal drama "Conviction". (Photo:  (Photo: ABC/John Medland)

The fall TV season is now well underway in the US. If you have been sampling any of the new shows on offer these days, you may well have seen a few familiar British faces on the “Big Three” (or four, if you count Fox) networks, basic cable and premium channels. From comedies and dramas to sci-fi and horror, British talent is very much in demand on the small screen. Some of these performers have established careers in the US while others are relative newcomers. Some retain their native accents, while others take on American dialects and personas.

Let’s take a look at these some of these actors from across the pond that have joined forces with Hollywood to entertain the American public.

Minnie Driver

Where you’ve seen her: Circle of Friends, Good Will Hunting, The Riches, About A Boy

New Show: Speechless debuted on Sept. 21 and airs Wednesdays at 8:30 pm ET on ABC

Character: Maya Dimeo – A mom on a mission who fights injustices both real and imagined and will do anything for her family, especially her eldest son with cerebral palsy


Ben Daniels

Where you’ve seen him: Law & Order: UK, The Paradise, House of Cards, Flesh and Bone

New Show: The Exorcist debuted on Sept. 23 and airs Fridays at 9 pm ET on Fox

Character: Father Marcus Keane - An orphan raised since childhood by the Vatican to wage war against its enemies, this relentless and abrasive priest joins forces with one less experienced  to destroy an ancient evil force.


Anthony Hopkins and Thandie Newton

Where you know him: The Silence of the Lambs, Nixon, The Lion in Winter, The Elephant Man and The Remains of the Day

Where you know her: Jefferson in Paris, Beloved, Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Slap

New Show: Westworld debuted on Oct. 2 and airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on HBO

Characters: Dr. Robert Ford – Brilliant but fading creator of a futuristic Western theme park populated by artificial beings called Hosts.  Maeve Millay – Also known as The Madame, she is a strong, beautiful Host with a world-weary attitude.


Paterson Joseph

Where you’ve seen him: Green Wing, Jekyll, Peep Show, The Leftovers, You, Me and the Apocalypse

New Show: Timeless debuted on Oct 3 and airs Mondays at 10 pm ET on NBC 

Character: Connor Mason –Entrepreneur/engineer/inventor who has invented a time machine which has been unceremoniously stolen to wreak havoc with US history. Though he cooperates with Homeland Security’s plans to retrieve the machine and its thief, Mason seems to have secrets he’s not sharing with the group.


Hayley Atwell

Where you’ve seen her: The Pillars of the Earth, Any Human Heart and as Peggy Carter in Agent Carter and a number of Marvel related shows and films

New Show: Conviction debuted on Oct. 3 and airs on Mondays at 10 pm ET on ABC.

Character: Hayes Morrison – Former First Daughter and brilliant young attorney is blackmailed into heading up a new Conviction Integrity Unit in New York City.


Stephen Fry

Where you’ve seen him: Blackadder, Jeeves and Wooster, QI, V for Vendetta, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, 24: Live Another Day

 New Show: The Great Indoors will debut on Thurs., Oct 27 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS

Character: Roland – Owner of travel adventure magazine Outer Limits who calls in his best reporter to teach his digital millennials what the great outdoors is all about.


Michelle Dockery

Where you’ve seen her: Return to Cranford, Downton Abbey, Non-Stop

New Show: Good Behavior debuts on Tues., Nov. 15 at 9 pm ET on TNT

Character: Letty Dobesh - A thief and con artist always one bad decision away from disaster, she’s fresh out of prison and attempting to set her life on track. Alas she can’t seem to resist the danger of a criminal lifestyle.


Two other well-established British actors have joined already established TV series in their sophomore year.

Archie Panjabi

Where you’ve seen her: Bend It Like Beckham, The Fall, The Good Wife , Shetland

Show: Blindspot Season 2 debuted on Wed., Sept. 14 at 8 pm ET on NBC

New Character: Nas Kamal- A tough, tenacious, unpredictable head of a secret division of the NSA that has been tracking the Jane Doe case from afar.          


Russell Tovey

Where you’ve seen him: History Boys, Gavin & Stacey, Being Human, Looking

Show: Quantico: Series 2 debuted on Sun., Sept 25 at 10 pm ET on ABC

New Character: Harry Doyle – Mysterious and charming new CIA recruit who is cunning and can be anything to anybody


Have you seen any of these new series? Are you enjoying the infusion of British acting/characters on the small screen this season or would you prefer to see their talents employed on British programs?  Share your take on this fall’s British invasion in the comments section.