TV Actors 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! 

1
Tony Blair is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
ITV News at 6:30, ITV Evening News, The Blair Years Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. He now runs a consultancy business and performs ...more

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John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, Last of the Summer Wine John Marwood Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the ...more

3
Meera Syal is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Jekyll, Goodness Gracious Me, A Little Princess Meera Syal CBE is a British comedian, writer, playwright, singer, journalist, producer and actress. She rose to prominence as one of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me and became one of ...more

4
Cliff Richard is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The 100 Greatest Musicals Sir Cliff Richard OBE is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor and philanthropist. He has been a resident for most of his life in the United Kingdom, but in 2010 confirmed that he is ...more

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David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
David Bowie is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, and actor. He is also a painter and collector of fine art. Bowie has been a major figure in the ...more

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Erick Avari is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Stargate, Bone Chillers, True Blue Erick Avari is an Indian-American television, film and theater actor known primarily for his roles in science-fiction serial productions.

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Christina Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Firefly, Mad Men, Kevin Hill Christina Rene Hendricks is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Joan Harris in the AMC television series Mad Men, for which she has been nominated for five Emmy Awards. A poll ...more

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Carol Vorderman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Blankety Blank, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow Carol Jean Vorderman MBE RAFVR is a British media personality, best known for co-hosting the popular game show Countdown for 26 years from 1982 until 2008. Vorderman's career took off in 1982 ...more

9
Adnan Sami is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Indian Idol Adnan Sami is a singer, musician, pianist, actor and composer with a command of Indian and Western Classical/Semi-Classical music, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Indian Classical music, Fusion & Indian ...more

10
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends, War and Peace, Great Expectations Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE is a Welsh actor of film, stage, and television, and a composer and painter. After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 1957, he ...more

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Callum Keith Rennie is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Battlestar Galactica, The Killing, Californication Callum Keith Rennie is an English-born Canadian television and film actor. He started his career in Canadian film and television projects, where his portrayal of Stanley Raymond Kowalski in the ...more

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Kate Beckinsale is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Emma Kathrin Romary "Kate" Beckinsale is an English actress. After some minor television roles, she made her film debut in Much Ado About Nothing while still a student at Oxford University. ...more

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Barbara Cartland is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Dame Barbara Cartland, DBE, CStJ born as Mary Barbara Hamilton was an English author, who was one of the best-selling authors as well as one of the most prolific and commercially successful of ...more

14
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was an English film director and producer. Often nicknamed "The Master of Suspense", he pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological ...more

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Ayesha Dharker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Indian Doctor, Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee Ayesha Dharker is a British-Indian actress. She is known for her performance in the Tamil film The Terrorist, for which she was awarded Best Artistic Contribution by an Actress at the Cairo ...more

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David Walliams is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Little Britain, EastEnders, Little Britain USA David Edward Williams, known as David Walliams, is an English comedian, actor, author, television presenter and activist, best known for his partnership with Matt Lucas on the BBC One sketch ...more

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Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Meerkat Manor, Gideon's Daughter, State of Play William Francis "Bill" Nighy is an English actor. He worked in theatre and television before his first cinema role in 1981, and made his name in television with The Men's Room in 1991, ...more

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Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Beatles Sir James Paul McCartney MBE is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame as a member of the ...more

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Anthony Stewart Head is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin, Little Britain Anthony Stewart Head is an English actor and musician. He rose to fame in the UK following his role in the Gold Blend couple television advertisements for Nescafé Gold Blend, and is known ...more

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Malcolm McDowell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Heroes, Phineas and Ferb, Fantasy Island Malcolm McDowell is an English actor, known for his boisterous and sometimes villainous roles, whose career spans more than four decades. He trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music ...more

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Dominic Monaghan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Lost, Chuck, FlashForward Dominic Monaghan is an English actor. He has received international attention from playing Meriadoc Brandybuck in Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and for his ...more

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Christopher Eccleston is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Leftovers, Cracker, The Shadow Line Christopher Eccleston is an English actor. Eccleston played the Ninth Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who and is currently on the American drama series The Leftovers on HBO. He ...more

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Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Star Trek: The Next Generation, American Dad!, I Sir Patrick Stewart OBE is an English film, television, and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career on stage and screen. He is most widely known for his roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard ...more

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Charu Bala Chokshi is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Little Britain Charu Bala Chokshi is a British Indian actress.

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Gyles Brandreth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Catchword, Philip and Elizabeth Gyles Daubeney Brandreth is an English writer, broadcaster, actor, and former Conservative Member of Parliament.

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Brian Cox is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Big C, A Touch of Cloth, The Day of the Triffids Brian Denis Cox, CBE is a Scottish actor. He is known for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he gained recognition for his portrayal of King Lear. He has also appeared in many ...more

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Gary Chalk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
G.I. Joe, Beast Wars: Transformers, ReBoot Garry Chalk is an English-born Canadian actor and voice actor. He has provided the voices for Optimus Primal of Beast Wars: Transformers and Beast Machines, as well the Optimus Prime in the ...more

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Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Into the West, The War that Made America Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist and author regarded as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene had ...more

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Emma Watson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson is an English actress, model, and activist. Watson rose to prominence as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, appearing in all eight Harry Potter films ...more

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Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Angels in America, Playhouse Presents, Alfresco Emma Thompson is a British actress, comedienne, screenwriter and author. Cited as one of the greatest British actresses of her generation, she is known for her portrayals of reticent women in ...more

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Ricky Gervais is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Office, Extras, Derek Ricky Dene Gervais is an English comedian, actor, voice actor, film director, producer, musician, screenwriter, and radio presenter. Gervais worked initially in the music industry, attempting a ...more

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Nicollette Sheridan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Desperate Housewives, Knots Landing, The Legend of Tarzan Nicollette Sheridan is an English television and film actress, known for playing Edie Britt on the ABC dramedy series Desperate Housewives and as Paige Matheson of the CBS primetime soap opera ...more

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Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Jesus of Nazareth, Brideshead Revisited, Love Among the Ruins Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. He also ...more

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Peter Ustinov is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Jesus of Nazareth, Doctor Snuggles, Victoria & Albert Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov, CBE was an English actor, writer and dramatist. He was also renowned as a filmmaker, theatre and opera director, stage designer, author, screenwriter, comedian, ...more

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David Schneider is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
I'm Alan Partridge, The Day Today, The Ten Commandments David Schneider is an English actor and comedian.

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Harry Lloyd is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Game of Thrones, Robin Hood, Great Expectations Harry Charles Salusbury Lloyd is an English actor. He is known for his roles as Will Scarlet in the 2006 BBC drama Robin Hood, Jeremy Baines in the 2007 Doctor Who episodes "Human ...more

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Barbara Flynn is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Cracker, Open All Hours, The Vanishing Man Barbara Flynn appeared in the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings documenatry tv show.

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Tony Robinson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Black Adder, Blackadder II, Airline Sir Anthony "Tony" Robinson is an English actor, comedian, amateur historian, TV presenter and political activist. He is known for playing Baldrick in the BBC television series ...more

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Dawn French is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Vicar of Dibley, French & Saunders, French and Saunders Dawn Roma French is an English actress, writer, and comedian, best known for starring in and writing for the comedy sketch show French and Saunders with comedy partner Jennifer Saunders and for ...more

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Alan Cumming is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Good Wife, Arthur, Tin Man Alan Cumming, OBE, is a Scottish actor who has appeared in numerous films, television shows and plays. His London stage appearances include Hamlet, the Maniac in Accidental Death of an ...more

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Hugh Bonneville is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Downton Abbey, Doctor Zhivago, Lost in Austen Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams, known professionally as Hugh Bonneville, is an English stage, film, television and radio actor, who is best known for playing Robert Crawley in the ITV period ...more

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Ringo Starr is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Courage the Cowardly Dog, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Richard Starkey Jr., MBE, better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English drummer, singer, songwriter, producer, and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. On ...more

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Naveen Andrews is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Lost, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, The Beast Naveen William Sidney Andrews is a British Indian actor. He is best known for portraying Sayid Jarrah in the television series Lost, Kip in the film The English Patient and Sanjay in the 2002 ...more

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Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Lost, Oz, Hunted Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is an English actor and former fashion model, best known for his roles as Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns, Nykwana Wombosi in The Bourne Identity, Mr. Eko on Lost and ...more

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Neil Ross is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Transformers, G.I. Joe, Jem Neil Ross is an English-born voice actor and announcer, now resident in the United States, working in Los Angeles. He has provided voices in many American cartoons, most notably Voltron, G.I. ...more

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Lucy Punch is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Ben and Kate, Doc Martin, The 10th Kingdom Lucy Punch is an English film, stage and television actress. Her feature film credits include Hot Fuzz, Bad Teacher, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Dinner for Schmucks, and Into the Woods.

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Terry Jones is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Monty Python's Flying Circus, Do Not Adjust Your Set, Twice a Fortnight Terence Graham Parry "Terry" Jones is a British comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author. He is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
The Darling Buds of May, The Catherine Cookson Anthology: The Cinder Path, The Scrat Show Catherine Zeta-Jones CBE is a Welsh actress. She began her career on stage at an early age. After starring in a number of British and U.S. television films and small roles in films, which ...more

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Billie Piper is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Penny Dreadful, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Mansfield Park Billie Paul Piper is an English singer, dancer and actress. She made her debut in Scratchy & Co., and at the age of 15, she signed a recording contract and released her debut single ...more

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Gerard Butler is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Attila, The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star, The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star Gerard James Butler is a Scottish actor who has appeared on film, stage, and television. A trained lawyer, Butler turned to acting in the mid-1990s with small roles in productions such as Mrs. ...more