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When it comes to television, I admit that I watch fewer American shows than those out of the UK. Even so, it’s hard to miss when certain Brits show up in shows produced in the U.S., and surprising to learn that other American characters I loved turned out to be played by British actors. They just seemed so… American!

Photo via Amazon.com

As noted in Monday’s post, Damian Lewis (who played the despicable Soames Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga) won the 2012 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of U.S. Marine Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series, Homeland. This is not his first role playing an American, nor a U.S. military officer.

In Band of Brothers, he portrayed U.S. Army Major Richard Winters, a real-life World War II veteran and a central character in the miniseries. And in the series Life, Lewis played Charlie Crews, a detective with the LAPD.

All three programs are awesome, and Lewis’ performances are stellar.

Another notable Brit in a notable American TV role is Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie for his portrayal of Dr. Gregory House on the long-running series House. Honestly, if I hadn’t already seen him in BlackAdder and Jeeves & Wooster, I don’t know that I would have known that he’s English.

Now for some actors that you might or might not have known are Brits in American programs…

  • Gabrielle Anwar (The Tudors) — Fiona Glenanne in Burn Notice
  • Jack Davenport (Coupling) — Lloyd Simcoe in FlashForward
  • Minnie Driver (An Ideal Husband) — Dahlia Malloy in The Riches
  • Idris Elba (Luther) — Stringer Bell in The Wire, Charles Miner in The Office
  • Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) — Mark Benford in FlashForward
  • Anna Friel (Our Mutual Friend) — “Chuck” Charles in Pushing Daisies
  • Eddie Izzard (Velvet Goldmine) — Wayne Malloy in The Riches
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies) — Vivian Johnson in Without a Trace
  • Ian McShane (The Pillars of the Earth) — Al Swearengen in Deadwood
  • Dominic Monaghan (Hetty Wainthropp Investigates) — Simon Campos in FlashForward
  • Joely Richardson (Lady Chatterley) — Julia McNamara in Nip/Tuck
  • Rufus Sewell (Zen) — Dr. Jacob Hood in Eleventh Hour
  • Dominic West (The Hour) — Jimmy McNulty in The Wire

If you haven’t seen them in their British TV shows and movies, you can stream many of them at Amazon Instant Video.

Enjoy the shows!


Brits On American TV… Playing Americans