British Actors You Should Know

British Actors You Should Know: Robson Green

As you are probably already aware, Grantchester has returned to PBS for a third season.  Hurrah for more of that vicar/detective male bonding!  (And if you've missed any of the season to date - yes, we have recaps. Check them out.)

But for those of you who may have only just now become familiar with actor Robson Green through his role as DI Geordie Keating, I’m here to enlighten you to the prolific and varied career this actor has built up over the past thirty years.

Hugh Grant as everyone's favorite fictional Prime Minister in "Love Actually". (Photo: Universal Pictures)

British Actors You Should Know: Hugh Grant

Last week actor and producer Hugh Grant was bestowed with the British Film Institute Fellowship, the organization’s highest honor recognizing his outstanding contribution to film. No stranger to accolades and trophies including a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for his breakout role in 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral, Grant’s career has spanned over thirty years with appearances in forty films.

Not exactly an up and comer, most of you are probably already familiar with Hugh from his many leading man, rom-com roles in the 90’s and 2000’s.  If you haven’t seen as much of Mr. Grant lately, perhaps it’s because he has been rather occupied with his campaign against the tabloid press for their invasive phone hacking tactics or the fact that he was busy becoming a father four times in four years! 

Saoirse Ronan in her Academy Award-nominated role in "Brooklyn". (Photo: Fox Searchlight)

British (Irish) Actresses You Should Know: Saoirse Ronan

Since the 2016 Oscar nominations have been announced, it gave me a good reason to return to our recurring series highlighting talented performers from the UK. However whenever we choose to include Irish performers in these profiles, I always feel compelled to state that we understand Ireland isn’t part of the United Kingdom.

 In fact in the case of actress Saoirse Ronan, she is actually Irish-American seeing as she was born in the Bronx to Irish parents who then returned to their homeland when she was a young child. My point being, we love the Emerald Isle as well and Miss Ronan is super-talented so it makes sense to tell you about her work regardless.

And when I say super-talented I’m not exaggerating. At the tender age of twenty-one, Ronan has already been nominated for an Academy award twice. Let’s examine the variety and growth of her work thus far in her impressive career with her nominated roles as bookends for the others.

British Actresses You Should Know: Julie Walters

We’re bringing back our continuing series which features British performers with whom we feel you should be acquainted. This time round I’ve chosen to highlight the legendary English actress and comedienne, Julie Walters.

“Whoa there,” you might be saying. “Of course, I know who Julie Walters is.” She's been nominated for Oscars and she's won Baftas and a Golden Globe. If you don't know her, perhaps you should have your Anglophile card revoked!

But what I want to share are some of Julie's lesser known roles that you may not have seen before (or perhaps had forgotten about).

British (Irish) Actors You Should Know: Aidan Turner

If you are a frequent visitor to Telly Visions, you may already know about the remake of the 1975 drama/romance series Poldark coming to PBS in June. If you haven’t heard, this new version stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, an English Revolutionary War soldier who has returned home to Cornwall only to find his world turned upside down.

The series was very well received by viewers in the UK earlier this year, particularly the female audience. Poldark and its star became a social media sensation evidenced by the fact that Twitter handles such as Poldark’s Hair and Poldark’s Pecs starting popping up. Not since Mr. Darcy in his wet shirt has such a swoon-worthy fuss been made about a literary page to small screen character.

Therefore, I felt it timely and appropriate to introduce those of you unfamiliar with Aidan Turner to this Irish actor and bona fide heartthrob. The following are examples of most of Turner’s featured roles leading up to Poldark.

British Actors You Should Know: Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan may not be a household name but I contend that, in the coming months at least, his name will be bandied about quite a bit. If you have heard of him it’s likely due to the fact that he’s been cast as Christian Grey in the film adaptation of E.L. James erotic best seller, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Set for release this coming Valentine’s Day, fans of the book have been vocal about the choice of this relatively unknown actor. However, as is the case with most performers who seem to pop up overnight, this Northern Irish actor has actually been slowly been building a career for almost a decade. Without having read the Fifty Shades trilogy, I argue he’s got all the necessary attributes necessary to play the male lead.

British Actors You Should Know: Timothy Spall

If you’re the type of person who pays attention to film award season, you probably will have heard about the recent accolades for our spotlighted actor, Timothy Spall. A hardworking and versatile performer since the late 70’s, Spall seems to be finally getting the attention he deserves for a career defining achievement.

He won best actor honors at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his title role in the biopic Mr. Turner. Spall embodies eccentric English Romantic landscape painter J.M.W. Turner. Director Mike Leigh (with whom Spall has worked four times perviously) is known for his formidable demands on his actors. For this period piece, Leigh insisted Spall not only research the artist he was setting out to play but also to spend two years learning his distinctive painting technique. What resulted was this Oscar buzz-worthy bit of acting.

Mr. Turner will be out in limited release beginning December 19, presumably to qualify for the Academy Awards race. Here’s hoping it won’t be much longer after that that those of us not living in major metropolitan cities will be able to witness the magic as well.

While all the kudos and glowing reviews are surely very nice indeed, Spall has been putting in memorable, entertaining performances for years. From notable roles in TV series such as Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and The Street to a cameo in The King’s Speech as Winston Churchill, his talent has consistently been on display. If you’d like a reminder of his range or just want to explore his body of work for the first time, here are a handful of film and TV roles you might want to try. Believe me, Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter films is just the tip of the iceberg.

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