Dedicated Whovians know the rumors. Last week, the tabloid News of the World reported that two of next year’s Doctor Whos will be set in the States with a “big name” American companion. It’s nothing new: The Doc’s already had a San Francisco foray (in 1996’s DW movie) and a Yank lackey (Peri Brown, played by Englander Nicola Bryant). But it does up the ante on the show’s current cross-cultural possibilities and has me wondering: With these episodes also rumored to be David Tennant’s last, could we be in store for an American Doctor? (If so, my vote’s for Love Soup’s Michael Landes, already a veteran of U.K. TV.)
It’s only a thought — and not a completely crazy one. Just consider the scores of Brits that grace U.S. telly. We’re way past Hugh Laurie pretending to shock Emmy viewers with his English accent. At least seventeen Irish and British actors star in Fall’s major shows. That’s despite Scotsman Kevin McKidd and Londoner Michelle Ryan taking such enormous belly flops last season with Journeyman and Bionic Woman. (McKidd may return stateside for a Grey’s Anatomy stint, but Ryan’s gone home to portray a sorceress on BBC’s Merlin). And, of course, I’ve got my favorites — i.e. those thesps and series I’m dying to see. After the jump, a list and a sampling of each actor’s best homegrown work.
addCredit(“Ed Westwick; Jason O’Mara; Anna Friel: Giovanni Rufino; Kurt Iswarienkio; Kate Turning”)
1. Stephen Moyer. Watch him: as a troubled vampire in HBO’s True Blood (debuts September 7th). Then check him out: opposite Rashida Jones in NY-LON. (U.K. DVD only).
2. Rufus Sewell. Watch him: channel a mystery-solving scientist on CBS’ Eleventh Hour (October 9th). Then check him out: in Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Middlemarch.
3. Charlie Hunnam. Watch him: portray a biker in a law-bending motorcycle gang on FX’s Sons of Anarchy (September 3rd). Then check him out: on the U.K. Queer as Folk.
4. Jaime Murray. Watch her: play a modern day Aphrodite on The CW’s Valentine (September 21st). Then check her out: as a narcoleptic secretary on Love Soup. (U.K. DVD only)
5. Jason O’Mara. Watch him: Fill John Simm’s very large platforms in ABC’s remake of Life on Mars (debuts October 9th). Then check him out: on season two of Monarch of the Glen.
1. Ed Westwick. You know him: as caddish Chuck on The CW’s Gossip Girl (premiered September 1st). See him: play the bully older brother in Son of Rambow.
2. Ashley Jensen. You know her: as seamstress Christina on ABC’s Ugly Betty (September 25th). See her: as Ricky Gervais’ sidekick in Extras and Patrick Stewart’s bodyguard in the British Eleventh Hour.
3. Damian Lewis. You know him: as NBC’s Zen detective on Life (September 29th). See him: portray evil Soames Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga and To Let.
4. Jonny Lee Miller. You know him: as a lawyer with psychic visions on ABC’s Eli Stone (October 14th). See him: in Trainspotting or The Canterbury Tales (U.K. DVD only).
5. Anna Friel. You know her: as love interest Chuck on ABC’s Pushing Daisies (October 1st). See her: play Dickens’ Bella Wilfer in Our Mutual Friend.
Honorable Mention: ER’s Parminder Nagra (I love her in the King Lear update Second Generation) and The Mentalist’s Owain Yeoman (it’s about time the Kitchen Confidential costar gets a U.S. show that sticks).
Did I miss anyone? Whom are you most excited to see? What other British or Irish actor would you like to watch on American TV?
Here’s your anglophile calendar for the week:
Tuesday (September 2nd): The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: Series 6, Inspector Lewis: Series 1, and Ballet Shoes (with Emma Watson and Marc Warren) drop on DVD. Russell Brand hits Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
Wednesday: Bones goes to London at 8pm on Fox.
Thursday: Blur bassist and former cocaine addict Alex James sees the coke industry firsthand in the unmissable Cocaine Diaries: Alex James in Colombia on BBC America at 9pm.
Friday: BBC America’s Star Stories spoofs Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas at 9:20pm.
Saturday: TCM airs Charles Laughton’s U.S. thriller Night of the Hunter at 8pm.
Sunday: At 9pm, watch Russell Brand host MTV’s Video Music Awards, while recording the premiere of The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle on Sundance.