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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1
John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 1 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
2
Meera Syal is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Cliff Richard is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Erick Avari is listed (or ranked) 5 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.
6
Christina Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
Carol Vorderman is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
Adnan Sami is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
Callum Keith Rennie is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Kate Beckinsale is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Barbara Cartland is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
Ayesha Dharker is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
David Walliams is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Anthony Stewart Head is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Malcolm McDowell is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
Dominic Monaghan is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
Christopher Eccleston is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
Charu Bala Chokshi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
Little Britain
Charu Bala Chokshi is a British Indian actress.
24
Gyles Brandreth is listed (or ranked) 24 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.
25
Brian Cox is listed (or ranked) 25 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