251.9k readers

Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

Updated May 3, 2018 251.9k views2.1k items

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! 

  • John Cleese1

    John Cleese

    Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers

    BirthplaceWeston-super-Mare, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    John Marwood Cleese (; born 27 October 1939) is an English actor, voice actor, comedian,...  more

    More John Cleese 

    #36 of 233 The Funniest Stand Up Comedians Of All Time#14 of 339 The Funniest People Of All Time

  • Meera Syal2

    Meera Syal

    Jekyll, Goodness Gracious Me

    BirthplaceWolverhampton, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Meera Syal (born Feroza Syal; 27 June 1961) is an English comedian, writer, playwright,...  more
  • Cliff Richard3

    Cliff Richard

    The 100 Greatest Musicals

    BirthplaceLucknow, India


    Sir Cliff Richard (born 14 October 1940) is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor...  more

    More Cliff Richard 

    The Best Cliff Richard Albums of All Time#137 of 162 1970s Christian Pop Artists

  • David Bowie4

    David Bowie

    The Hunger

    BirthplaceLondon, England

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (,...  more

    More David Bowie 

    David Bowie and His Mysterious Connections to the Occult and Paganism#4 of 603 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • Erick Avari5

    Erick Avari

    Stargate, Bone Chillers

    BirthplaceIndia, Darjeeling

    NationalityIndia, United States of America

    Erick Avari (born 13 April 1952) is an American television, film and theater actor known...  more
  • Christina Hendricks6

    Christina Hendricks

    Firefly, Mad Men

    BirthplaceKnoxville, Tennessee, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom

    Christina Rene Hendricks (born May 3, 1975) is an American actress and former model. Her...  more

    More Christina Hendricks 

    #98 of 349 The Best American Actresses Working Today#136 of 286 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2021, Ranked

  • Carol Vorderman7

    Carol Vorderman

    Countdown, Blankety Blank

    BirthplaceEngland, Bedford

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Carol Jean Vorderman, MBE (born 24 December 1960) is a British media personality, best known...  more
  • Adnan Sami8

    Adnan Sami

    Indian Idol

    BirthplaceEngland, London

    NationalityPakistan, India, United Kingdom

    Adnan Sami Khan (born 15 August 1971) is an Indian singer, musician, music composer, pianist...  more
  • Anthony Hopkins9

    Anthony Hopkins

    Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends, War and Peace

    BirthplaceMargam, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom

    Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins (born 31 December 1937) is a Welsh actor, director, and producer....  more

    More Anthony Hopkins 

    #18 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World#3 of 264 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

  • Callum Keith Rennie10

    Callum Keith Rennie

    Battlestar Galactica, The Killing

    BirthplaceSunderland, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom,Canada

    Callum Keith Rennie (born 14 September 1960) is a British-born Canadian television and film...  more
  • Kate Beckinsale11

    Kate Beckinsale

    Emma, MTV Movie Awards

    BirthplaceFinsbury Park, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Kathrin Romary Beckinsale (born 26 July 1973) is an English actress and model. After some...  more

    More Kate Beckinsale 

    A Complete Timeline Of Kate Beckinsale And Pete Davidson's Relationship#52 of 222 The Best Actresses Working Today

  • Barbara Cartland12
    Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland, (9 July 1901 – 21 May 2000) was an English novelist who...  more

    More Barbara Cartland 

    #107 of 137 The Best Romance Novelists of All Time#129 of 145 The Greatest Female Novelists Ever

  • Alfred Hitchcock13

    Alfred Hitchcock

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    BirthplaceLeytonstone, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom, England

    Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director and...  more

    More Alfred Hitchcock 

    15 Extremely Bizarre Things Most People Don't Know About Alfred Hitchcock#516 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • Ayesha Dharker14

    Ayesha Dharker

    The Indian Doctor, Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee

    BirthplaceMumbai, India

    NationalityIndia, United Kingdom

    Ayesha Dharker is a British actress, known for her appearance as Queen Jamillia, the Queen of...  more
  • David Walliams15

    David Walliams

    Little Britain, EastEnders

    BirthplaceLondon Borough of Merton, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    David Edward Walliams (born 20 August 1971) is an English actor, comedian, writer, and...  more

    More David Walliams 

    #104 of 173 The Funniest British and Irish Comedians of all Time#45 of 79 The Best Reality Show Judges

  • Bill Nighy16

    Bill Nighy

    Meerkat Manor, Gideon's Daughter

    BirthplaceEngland, Caterham

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    William Francis "Bill" Nighy is an English actor. He worked in theatre and television before...  more

    More Bill Nighy 

    #105 of 242 Actors You Would Watch Read the Phone Book#191 of 416 Celebrities Whose Deaths Will Be the Biggest Deal

  • Paul McCartney17

    Paul McCartney

    The Beatles Anthology, The Beatles

    BirthplaceWalton, Liverpool, United Kingdom


    Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician,...  more

    More Paul McCartney 

    The Best Paul McCartney Songs#20 of 739 The Best Singers of All Time

  • Anthony Stewart Head18

    Anthony Stewart Head

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin

    BirthplaceCamden Town, England, London


    Anthony Stewart Head (born 20 February 1954) is an English actor and musician. He rose to fame...  more
  • Malcolm McDowell19

    Malcolm McDowell

    Heroes, Phineas and Ferb

    BirthplaceEngland, Horsforth


    Malcolm McDowell (born Malcolm John Taylor; 13 June 1943) is an English actor, known for his...  more

    More Malcolm McDowell 

    Malcolm McDowell Has Had A More Impressive Career Than Most ‘Clockwork Orange’ Fans Realize#227 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever

  • Dominic Monaghan20

    Dominic Monaghan

    Lost, Chuck

    BirthplaceBerlin, Germany

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, Germany

    Dominic Bernard Patrick Luke Monaghan (; born 8 December 1976) is an English actor who was...  more

    More Dominic Monaghan 

    #65 of 115 The Best Short Actors#1687 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • Christopher Eccleston21

    Christopher Eccleston

    The Leftovers, Cracker

    BirthplacePendleton, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom,England

    Christopher Eccleston (; born 16 February 1964) is an English actor. The recipient of an Emmy...  more

    More Christopher Eccleston 

    #144 of 239 The Greatest British Actors of All Time#77 of 113 The Best English Actors of All Time

  • Patrick Stewart22

    Patrick Stewart

    Star Trek: The Next Generation, American Dad!

    BirthplaceMirfield, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Sir Patrick Stewart (born 13 July 1940) is an English actor whose work has included roles on...  more

    More Patrick Stewart 

    Things You Didn't Know About Patrick Stewart#26 of 54 The Best English Actors Working Today

  • Charu Bala Chokshi23

    Charu Bala Chokshi

    Little Britain

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, India

    Charu Bala Chokshi is a British Indian actress....  more
  • Gyles Brandreth24

    Gyles Brandreth

    The One Show, Knowitalls

    BirthplaceWuppertal, Germany

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Gyles Daubeney Brandreth (born 8 March 1948) is an English writer, broadcaster, actor, and...  more
  • Brian Cox25

    Brian Cox

    Oz, The Big C

    BirthplaceDundee, United Kingdom


    Brian Denis Cox (born 1 June 1946) is a Scottish actor who works with the Royal Shakespeare...  more

    More Brian Cox 

    #199 of 302 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)#20 of 61 The Best Scottish Actors of All Time