Entertainment

Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom has produced so many famous TV actors. Here's a list of over 2,000 British male actors and actresses to help you sort them all out. From televised costume dramas to slapstick comedies, the list of British actors is very long, but definitely worth a read if you're a fan of actors from across the pond. 

Maggie Smith, has had a long and storied career, but may be best remembered for her sassy portrayal of Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham on PBS's Downton Abbey. English actor John Cleese is beloved by comedy fans for co-founding the absurd sketch show Monty Python, which has become a cult favorite among thanks to the work of these funny old British actors.

In fact, some of the funniest and most talented performers are British TV stars, so if you're an aspiring actor or actress from United Kingdom, you'll see your heroes here. The '90s just wouldn't have been the same without the hard-partying antics of Eddy and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, (Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, respectively). Both of them belong on any list that seeks to answer "Who are the best British TV actors?"

Of course, plenty of American TV shows also feature British actors — some whom you'd never know were from the UK. Hello, Hugh Laurie (House), Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead), and Idris Elba (Stringer Bell on The Wire). So if you've been wondering which television actors are from the United Kingdom, now you know. And if you want to vote on the best British actors in the history of entertainment, rank away! 

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Richard Vernon is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Sandbaggers, The Duchess of Duke Street, Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Richard Evelyn Vernon (7 March 1925 – 4 December 1997) was an English actor. He appeared in many feature films and television programmes, often in aristocratic or supercilious roles. Prematurely ...more
52
Michael Gambon is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Luck, Angels in America, Emma
Sir Michael John Gambon (born 19 October 1940) is an Irish-born British character actor and private pilot who has worked in theatre, television, and film. He is also known as The Great Gambon as ...more
53
Celia Imrie is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Dinnerladies, Kingdom, Bergerac
Celia Diana Savile Imrie (born 15 July 1952) is a British actress and author. Described in 2003 as "one of the most successful British actresses of recent decades", she is known for ...more
54
Dominic Purcell is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Prison Break, John Doe, Heartbreak High
Dominic Haakon Myrtved Purcell (born 17 February 1970) is an Australian actor. He is best known for his portrayals of Lincoln Burrows in Fox's Prison Break (2005–2009; 2017) and Mick Rory / Heat ...more
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Ewan Stewart is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
River City, Rain on the Roof, P.O.W.
Andrew Ewan Stewart (born 26 August 1957) is a Scottish film, television and stage actor.
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George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the ...more
57
David McCallum is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
NCIS, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Problem Solverz
David Keith McCallum, Jr. (born 19 September 1933) is a British-American actor and musician. He first gained recognition in the 1960s for playing secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television ...more
58
Sting is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner CBE (born 2 October 1951), known as Sting, is an English musician and actor. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer, and bassist for the new wave rock band the ...more
59
Greta Scacchi is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Broken Trail, Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, Two Twisted
Greta Scacchi (Italian pronunciation: [ˌɡrɛːta ˈskakːi]; born 18 February 1960) is an Italian Australian actress best known for her roles in the films White Mischief (1987), Presumed Innocent ...more
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Arthur C. Clarke is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He ...more
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Ewan McGregor is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The 100 Greatest Musicals, Lipstick on Your Collar, Race to Dakar
Ewan Gordon McGregor (born 31 March 1971) is a Scottish actor, singer, and director known internationally for his various film roles, including independent dramas, science-fiction epics, and ...more
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Colin Salmon is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Colin Salmon Strike Back, Keen Eddie, Hex
Colin Salmon (born 6 December 1962) is a British actor known for playing Charles Robinson in three James Bond films, and James "One" Shade in the Resident Evil film series. He has had ...more
63
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Rogues, Alcoa Theatre, Four Star Playhouse
James David Graham Niven (; 1 March 1910 – 29 July 1983) was a British actor, memoirist and novelist. His many roles included Squadron Leader Peter Carter in A Matter of Life and Death, Phileas ...more
64
Jamie Lee Curtis is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, The Heidi Chronicles, Anything but Love
Jamie Lee Haden-Guest, Baroness Haden-Guest (née Curtis; born November 22, 1958) is an American actress, author, and activist. She made her film debut in 1978 as Laurie Strode in John ...more
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Naomi Watts is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Sleepwalkers, Hey Dad..!, Brides of Christ
Naomi Ellen Watts (born 28 September 1968) is a British actress and film producer. She made her film debut in the Australian drama For Love Alone (1986) and then appeared in the Australian ...more
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Gabrielle Anwar is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Burn Notice, The Tudors, Prince Caspian/The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Gabrielle Anwar (born 4 February 1970) is an English-American actress known for her roles as Sam Black in the second series of Press Gang, Margaret Tudor on The Tudors, Fiona Glenanne on Burn ...more
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Rik Mayall is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Black Adder, The Young Ones, Bottom
Richard Michael Mayall (7 March 1958 – 9 June 2014) was an English comedian, actor and writer. Mayall formed a close partnership with Ade Edmondson while they were students at Manchester ...more
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Alec Guinness is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Star Wars Holiday Special, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Smiley's People
Sir Alec Guinness, (born Alec Guinness de Cuffe; 2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an English actor. After an early career on the stage, Guinness was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, ...more
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Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Idiot Weekly, Price 2d, The Telegoons
Peter Sellers, CBE (born Richard Henry Sellers; 8 September 1925 – 24 July 1980) was an English film actor, comedian and singer. He performed in the BBC Radio comedy series The Goon Show, ...more
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Indira Varma is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Game of Thrones, Rome, Luther
Indira Anne Varma (born 27 September 1973) is a British actress. Her film debut and first major role was in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. She has gone on to appear in the television series The ...more
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Bertrand Russell is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, (; 18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political ...more
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Cat Deeley is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Fame Academy, So You Think You Can Dance, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year
Catherine Elizabeth "Cat" Deeley (born 23 October 1976) is an English television presenter, actress, singer and model based in the UK and the United States. From 1998 to 2002, she ...more
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Kim Cattrall is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Sex and the City, My Boy Jack, Producing Parker
Kim Victoria Cattrall (; born 21 August 1956) is a British-Canadian actress. She is best known for her role as Samantha Jones on HBO's Sex and the City (1998–2004), for which she received five ...more
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Miriam Margolyes is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Black Adder, Tinga Tinga Tales, Monkey
Miriam Margolyes, (; born 18 May 1941) is a British-Australian actress and voice artist. Her earliest roles were in theatre and after several supporting roles in film and television she won a ...more
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Carey Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Bleak House, My Boy Jack, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard
Carey Hannah Mulligan (born 28 May 1985) is a British actress born in London who grew up in Düsseldorf (Germany) and Surrey (England). Mulligan developed an early interest in acting and was ...more