10 Best British TV Actors

Many people are fond of House's leading man, Hugh Laurie, but they're surprised to find him on a list of the 10 best British TV actors. Yes, despite his clever American accent, Hugh Laurie is actually a very well known British actor. You might be shocked by some of these other popular British TV actors as well (but no, we promise, no Simon Cowell).

  1. Clive Owen: This popular British actor first cut his teeth in television near the end of the 80's, then landed a role on the ITV series "Chauncer," as well as appearing in the Thames Television production, "Lorna Doone." In addition to his television work, Clive Owen also appeared on the Shakespearian and Broadway stages and has most recently appeared in several films.
  2. Daniel Radcliffe: Before he took on the role of teen-dream Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe starred in a 1999 television production of "David Copperfield," playing the part of young David Copperfield. Most recently, he played the role of Jack Kipling in "My Boy Jack" (the story of Rudyard Kipling's son, a World War I-era soldier) and has made a guest appearance in the popular cartoon, "The Simpsons." While his television roles are limited, Daniel Radcliffe's popularity as Harry Potter and his success on the stage earn him a noted place as a favorite British TV actor.
  3. John Hurt: English actor John Hurt is best known for his roles of Joseph Merrick in "The Elephant Man," Winston Smith in "1984," and as the voice of the Great Dragon in the BBC hit series, "Merlin." Hurt has made a name for himself as one of the best British TV actors and is considered an esteemed voice actor.
  4. David Oyelowo: A British TV actor of Nigerian descent, David Oyelowo is best known for his role of agent Danny Hunter in the British drama series "Spooks." Prior to that, he has appeared in" Tomorrow La Scala," "Maisie Raine" and "Brothers and Sisters." Recently, he played the part of Keme Tobodo in the BBC drama "Blood and Oil."
  5. Benedict Cumberbatch: Nominated as Best Actor in the 2005 British Academy Television awards for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in BBC's "Hawking" (He won a Golden Nymph award for this), Benedict Cumberbatch is no stranger to television. Most recently, he's been gaining notice for his role of Sherlock Holmes in the 2010 BBC adaptation, "Sherlock."
  6. Matthew Macfadyen: David Matthew Macfadyen has certainly earned his place as one of the Best British TV actors. Having recently won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor on "Criminal Justice," Macfadyen has appeared in various television works such as the 1998 version of "Wuthering Heights," "Spooks," and has even appeared alongside popular comedic actor Rowan Atkinson in "Mr. Bean's Wedding."
  7. Hugh Laurie: James Hugh Calum Laurie is a renowned British TV actor who is probably best known for his role of Dr. Gregory House, the somewhat abrasive doctor from popular TV show "House." Many people are surprised to learn that Laurie is an English actor, seeing as how he's won two Golden Globe awards and several Emmy nominations for his role as an American doctor.
  8. David Tennant:  The tenth actor to portray the Doctor in the BBC hit series, "Doctor Who," David Tennant is considered one of the most influential actors in the UK. In addition to his work on Doctor Who, Tennant has also portrayed "Casanova" and Barty Crouch Jr. in the film, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
  9. John Simm: Another member of the highly popular "Doctor Who" cast, John Simm caught major attention as his role of the sixth embodiment of The Master and as Sam Tyler in the drama "Life on Mars." John Simm is no stranger to television though. He has starred in numerous award winning television dramas.
  10. John Cleese: Most fans of British comedy recognize the name John Cleese. One of the members of "Monty Python's Flying Circus," Cleese has proven himself to be an outstanding actor and outlandish comedian, quite worthy of a spot as one of the best British TV actors of all time. In addition to the work he did with Monty Python, he has participated in numerous television productions, including the popular hit comedy, "Fawlty Towers."
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