Actors You Should Know

British Actors You Should Know: Russell Tovey

This month our Carmen Croghan has chosen to profile one of those British actors that she's been following so long he sort of feels like family.

At just 37, he's tackled stage, film and television and tried his hand at sci-fi, comedy, thrillers, animation and period pieces always with his trademark vulnerablity. And though Russell Tovey might not be a name that you recognize immediately, you’re sure to have seen him (and his signature “sticky-out” ears) in action.

Martin Clunes Doing Five Very Un-'Doc Martin'-like Things

As you probably already know, Martin Clunes will be coming back to PBS next month! Hold on, the broadcast of Doc Martin Series 7 is unfortunately still some time off in the future. But beginning Sunday, September 6, Clunes will be starring as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the three-part mini-series Arthur & George.

And while true Clunatics are well acquainted with the varied roles Martin has embodied over the years, I thought it would be good preparation (and entertaining as well) to look at Mr. Clunes through a decidedly less Dr. Ellingham-ish prism. The following are states of being and actions that would be quite contradictory to the persona of the Port Wenn GP we’ve come to know and love despite his prickly manner.

British (Irish) Actors You Should Know: Aidan Turner

If you are a frequent visitor to Telly Visions, you may already know about the remake of the 1975 drama/romance series Poldark coming to PBS in June. If you haven’t heard, this new version stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, an English Revolutionary War soldier who has returned home to Cornwall only to find his world turned upside down.

The series was very well received by viewers in the UK earlier this year, particularly the female audience. Poldark and its star became a social media sensation evidenced by the fact that Twitter handles such as Poldark’s Hair and Poldark’s Pecs starting popping up. Not since Mr. Darcy in his wet shirt has such a swoon-worthy fuss been made about a literary page to small screen character.

Therefore, I felt it timely and appropriate to introduce those of you unfamiliar with Aidan Turner to this Irish actor and bona fide heartthrob. The following are examples of most of Turner’s featured roles leading up to Poldark.

British Actors You Should Know: Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan may not be a household name but I contend that, in the coming months at least, his name will be bandied about quite a bit. If you have heard of him it’s likely due to the fact that he’s been cast as Christian Grey in the film adaptation of E.L. James erotic best seller, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Set for release this coming Valentine’s Day, fans of the book have been vocal about the choice of this relatively unknown actor. However, as is the case with most performers who seem to pop up overnight, this Northern Irish actor has actually been slowly been building a career for almost a decade. Without having read the Fifty Shades trilogy, I argue he’s got all the necessary attributes necessary to play the male lead.

British Actors You Should Know: Timothy Spall

If you’re the type of person who pays attention to film award season, you probably will have heard about the recent accolades for our spotlighted actor, Timothy Spall. A hardworking and versatile performer since the late 70’s, Spall seems to be finally getting the attention he deserves for a career defining achievement.

He won best actor honors at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his title role in the biopic Mr. Turner. Spall embodies eccentric English Romantic landscape painter J.M.W. Turner. Director Mike Leigh (with whom Spall has worked four times perviously) is known for his formidable demands on his actors. For this period piece, Leigh insisted Spall not only research the artist he was setting out to play but also to spend two years learning his distinctive painting technique. What resulted was this Oscar buzz-worthy bit of acting.

Mr. Turner will be out in limited release beginning December 19, presumably to qualify for the Academy Awards race. Here’s hoping it won’t be much longer after that that those of us not living in major metropolitan cities will be able to witness the magic as well.

While all the kudos and glowing reviews are surely very nice indeed, Spall has been putting in memorable, entertaining performances for years. From notable roles in TV series such as Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and The Street to a cameo in The King’s Speech as Winston Churchill, his talent has consistently been on display. If you’d like a reminder of his range or just want to explore his body of work for the first time, here are a handful of film and TV roles you might want to try. Believe me, Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter films is just the tip of the iceberg.

British Actors You Should Know: Eddie Redmayne

The major film festivals have taken place and now Hollywood is releasing the trailers for its 2015 Oscar contenders. If you pay attention to that sort of thing, you may well have heard the buzz around our latest featured actor – Eddie Redmayne.

He’s receiving accolades for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The film follows the life of the world famous scientist from his days as a student at Oxford through his devastating ALS diagnosis and out the other side to the triumph of his career and his determination to outlive the dire predictions of his doctors. He does all this with the love and full support of his fiancé, and later, wife, Jane (Felicity Jones) by his side.

(Curious about The Theory of Everything? Watch the trailer.)

Long before this breakout lead role, however, young Mr. Redmayne had been getting noticed for his acting skills on both sides of the pond. He’s won the Olivier and the Tony for his supporting role in the play Red as well as other theatre and film award nominations. So if you’re not familiar with this talented performer, here are just a few examples of Eddie’s past television and film work which you can view, in most cases, tonight if the mood strikes you.

British Actors You Should Know: Hugh Bonneville

I’d wager a majority of Americans first became acquainted with this week’s featured British Actor You Should Know thanks to his role as Robert Crawley, The Earl of Grantham, in PBS’ monster hit period drama, Downton Abbey.

However, before he became the patriarch of our favorite English country estate, Hugh Bonneville had already built up a successful and varied acting career.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights.

British Actors You Should Know: Michael Fassbender

Ever since Carmen did a post on James McAvoy – and I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past – I’ve been dying to do a post on all the many talented roles of his co-star, Irish actor Michael Fassbender. (General note: Yes, I am aware that Fassbender is Irish and that I’m stretching the definition of “British Actors You Should Know” a tiny bit to include him as part of this series. But, I’m going with it. Don’t yell at me too much.)

Anyway, most of you reading this probably do know who Fassbender is, in one form or another – whether it’s as the young Magneto from X-Men or the psychotic slave owner in 12 Years a Slave, or even the guy who danced with Benedict Cumberbatch at the Golden Globes in that photo that was everywhere the next day. But he’s turned in several truly phenomenal performances over the course of his (fairly short) career thus far that are well worth your time to watch.

Let’s take a look at a few, shall we?

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