British Actor I Spy

As I work my way through British period dramas on Amazon Prime and Netflix, it’s fun to spot the same actors popping up in different productions.

British Actor I Spy

For instance, Michael Gambon might be best known by US audiences as Albus Dumbledore, but he has also done a turn as Mr. Holbrook in Cranford and Squire Hamley in Wives & Daughters.

Michael Gambon

Actor Brendan Coyle has won the hearts of many as Mr. Bates of Downton Abbey, but has a host of troubled-yet-earnest roles under his belt, including Nicholas Higgins in North and South and Robert Timmins in Lark Rise to Candleford.

Brendan Coyle

In Wives and Daughters, actresses Barbara Flynn and Deborah Findlay play the spinster Miss Brownings, sisters with a penchant for town gossip. In Cranford, the two women play bristly neighbors – the snobbish Mrs. Jamieson and proud Miss Tompkinson.

sisters to neighbors

Another actor takes a sharp turn from Wives and Daughters to Cranford, as Francesca Annis plays the frivolous, often whining Mrs Gibson in one, and the exacting, powerful Lady Ludlow in the other.

Francesca Annis

These are only a few examples I’ve listed – I could go on and on! I know American actors take on a number of different roles during their careers, too, but there seems to be something unique to the British experience of appearing in so many period pieces.

Tell me: are you a fan of British period dramas? Do you have any favorites, or any favorite actors from among them?