Monday, November 14, 2011

Connections - British Actors

I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do, it’s usually Masterpiece Theater or a mystery from BBC America. Watch enough of these shows and you will see familiar faces all over the place. I loved Juliet Aubrey when she played Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch, and I enjoyed her performance as a high-class prostitute in an episode of Law and Order UK. Ditto for Kevin Doyle who plays Moseley on Downton Abbey and Rupert Graves who played Freddie Honeychurch in a Room with a View and Detective Lestrade in the new Sherlock Holmes. (I don’t mean to imply that Doyle and Graves played prostitutes; they were just in Law & Order UK episodes.)

While watching a British detective series called A Touch of Frost, I recognized Caroline Harker, who played Celia Brooke in Middlemarch. She had a recurring role in the Frost series as WPC Hazel Wallace. But she reminded me of someone else, and I couldn’t think who. So I went to She is the sister of Susannah Harker, who played Jane Bennet, in the A&E Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Firth/Ehle version). Caroline is married to Antony Calf, who played Colonel Fitzwilliam in the same production, and who had a part in A Touch of Frost episode. (I think the only scene that Calf and his sister-in-law shared was the wedding of the two couples at the very end.) Susannah and Caroline are the daughters of Polly Adams who played Jane Bennet in the1967 P&P British TV series. Susannah was married to Iain Glen, who played Richard Carlisle in Downton Abbey. See how this works?

I just wanted to share. 


  1. Oh Mary, this is a favorite pastime of mine. Seeing all those familiar faces in the different productions. Like Aunt Gardiner in P&P 2005 played Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, in the 90s mini series, "Victoria and Albert." I think Aunt Gardiner from P&P 1995's daughter played Georgiana Darcy as well. Fun!!!

  2. I do this too. I'm not as good at it because names always allude me, but its so fun. And Tara has just added to it with more inner-connectedness. I saw Wickham (1995) on an A&E Miss Marple 'A Caribbean Mystery' and Elizabeth (1995)on a Young Indiana Jones.

    Thanks for posting!

  3. Not to mention Darcy (1995) and Elizabeth (1995) in The King's Speech!

  4. Makes 5 degrees of separation look positively unrelated.

  5. Ladies, I can tell you enjoy this as well. One of my fav character actors is Phil Davis who is usually a bad guy (Sherlock Holmes), but is currently playing the detective in the Whitechapel series. Not much to look at, but he's a great actor.

  6. Loved this post! You tapped into a source of great amusement for me, as it always cracks me up how small the world of British Broadcasting seems to be. And WOW - Caroline & Susannah REALLY look alike.

    One of our favorite games around this house is to figure out how many Doctor Who actors we can connect to Jane Austen. For example:

    Billie Piper starred in Mansfield Park and played Rose Tyler on Doctor Who for 2+ years.

    And from P&P 2005, we have:
    Penelope Wilton, who played Aunt Gardiner and was Harriet Jones, Prime Minister, in episodes from Series 1, 2 and 4 of Doctor Who.

    Talulah Riley, who was Mary Bennet and played Miss Evangelista in "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" from Doctor Who Series 4.

    Carey Mulligan, whom I adore and who was Kitty Bennet AND Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey AND Sally Sparrow in the episode, "Blink," of Doctor Who Series 3.

    ...and there are several more (For those interested, most are listed here, I believe:

    I love British television. *g*

    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Thanks for sharing your observation on British TV drama, Mary. I love British drama and love watching Downton Abbey and Law & Order | UK in addition to adaptations of the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Bronte sisters, etc.

    Susannah and Caroline indeed look alike, are they twins by any chance?

  8. Luthien, They are not twins. Born a year apart. Susannah is older.

  9. Hi Mary! My sister and I have a running joke that there are really only 30 British actors and they just keep recycling them.

    One of my faves is Julia Sawalha who has played Lydia in P&P, Saffy in AbFab, Jessie Brown in Cranford and Dorcas Lane in Larkrise to Candleford. And I know that Hugh Bonneville is a particular fave of yours! (Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey but also in Notting Hill, Daniel Deronda, Lost in Austen, Miss Austen Regrets, Vicar of Dibley, The Cazalets......)

    Another fun game is 2 degrees of Judi Dench. You can connect Dame Judi to any British Actor is 2 steps. Usually one!

  10. Jenny, I love Judi Dench. The first time I noticed her was in 84 Charing Cross. She played the wife of the bookstore manager. She didn't have one line, but she was still wonderful.

  11. I enjoy doing this too. Imdb is always helpful or else I'd spend forever trying to remember where Ive seen a particular actor before. I wish I had BBC America but I do watch PBS a lot. I watched the movie The Reaping and it was half over before I realized the sexy southern cop was David Morrissey from Our Mutual Friend and S&S. It was a duh! moment. Love that photo of Anthony Calf and his beautiful attire, by the way. Yum!

  12. @Jenny - I am a HUGE Absolutely Fabulous fan. When I saw Swalhalla as Lydia, I almost didn't buy it.

    I know this would horrify the Janites, but has anyone tried to cast an American version of P&P? Who would you cast? We'd have to lay down some ground rules, but I think it would be fun!

  13. Rupert Graves was BRILLIANT in L&O UK, but you know he has had quite a major career between A Room With A View/Freddy and Sherlock/Lestrade. Odd that you omit Maurice (Alec Scudder), The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Arthur Huntingdon), The Forsyte Saga 2000s remake (Young Jolyon) etc etc etc...