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Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

Updated May 3, 2018 249.7k 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! 

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  • 1
    John Cleese is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    John Cleese

    Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers

    BirthplaceEurasia, Weston-super-Mare, South West England, United Kingdom, North Somerset

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

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

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  • 2
    Meera Syal is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Cliff Richard is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Cliff Richard

    The 100 Greatest Musicals

    BirthplaceLucknow, India

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, India

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

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  • 4
    David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    David Bowie

    The Hunger

    BirthplaceBrixton, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

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

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  • 5
    Erick Avari is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Christina Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Christina Hendricks

    Firefly, Mad Men

    BirthplaceKnoxville, Tennessee, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

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

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  • 7
    Carol Vorderman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Adnan Sami is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Callum Keith Rennie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Kate Beckinsale is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Kate Beckinsale

    Emma, MTV Movie Awards

    BirthplaceFinsbury Park, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

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

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  • 12
    Barbara Cartland is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom
    Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland, (9 July 1901 – 21 May 2000) was an English novelist who... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Alfred Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Alfred Hitchcock

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    BirthplaceLeytonstone, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

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

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  • 14
    Ayesha Dharker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Ayesha Dharker

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

    BirthplaceMumbai, India

    NationalityUnited Kingdom,India

    Ayesha Dharker is a British actress, known for her appearance as Queen Jamillia, the Queen of... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    David Walliams is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    David Walliams

    Little Britain, EastEnders

    BirthplaceLondon Borough of Merton, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

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

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  • 16
    Bill Nighy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Paul McCartney

    The Beatles Anthology, The Beatles

    BirthplaceWalton, Liverpool, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

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

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  • 18
    Anthony Stewart Head is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Anthony Stewart Head

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin

    BirthplaceCamden Town, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Anthony Stewart Head (born 20 February 1954) is an English actor and musician. He rose to fame... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Malcolm McDowell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Malcolm McDowell

    Heroes, Phineas and Ferb

    BirthplaceHorsforth, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

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

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  • 20
    Dominic Monaghan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Christopher Eccleston is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Patrick Stewart

    Star Trek: The Next Generation, American Dad!

    BirthplaceMirfield, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

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

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  • 23
    Charu Bala Chokshi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Charu Bala Chokshi

    Little Britain

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, India

    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

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Brian Cox is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous TV Actors from the United Kingdom

    Brian Cox

    Oz, The Big C

    BirthplaceEurasia, United Kingdom, Scotland, Tayside, United Kingdom

    NationalityScotland, United Kingdom

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