MASTERPIECE At 50: our favorite stars

This year, MASTERPIECE celebrates 50 years of stunning British television. To commemorate the royal occasion, the GBH Drama Club celebrates some of our favorite stars who have left a big mark in the world of television and film. While MASTERPIECE fans know some of these actors well, we think there are others you should watch out for.

John Neville

We had to greet The first Churchills, the very first program broadcast on MASTERPIECE in the United States in 1971 – 50 years ago. John Neville played the role of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, a direct ancestor of Winston Churchill. Prior to appearing on television, Neville had a well-established theatrical career in London, having performed some of Shakespeare’s most iconic roles such as Romeo, King Richard II and Othello. Later in his career he played Sherlock Holmes a few times, had a leading role in the years 1988 The adventures of Baron de Munchausen and had a recurring role in the TV show The X-Files.

Maggie Smith

Many Americans probably think of Professor McGonagall when they see Maggie Smith onscreen, thanks to her enchanting portrayal of the Severe Magical Instructor in the Eight. Harry potter movies. But Smith’s magical talents made her a British acting royalty, with a busy career on stage and on screen. She won Oscars for her roles in the 1969s The Premier of Miss Jean Brodie and 1978 California Suite. She was, of course, the best part of Downton abbey, playing the Dowager Countess of Grantham, a role that earned her three Emmys and a Golden Globe. Prior to that, she also starred in the MASTERPIECE mini series David Copperfield in 1999 with the future Harry potter starring Daniel Radcliffe.

Sanjeev Bhaskar

MASTERPIECE Fans know Bhaskar well as Detective Sunny Khan in modern crime drama Unforgettable, in which he resolves murder cases that have turned cold. But Bhaskar is also a talented comedic actor, known for the BBC skit Kindness gracious me, which examined the intersection of British and South Asian culture. He also starred in the sitcom The Kumars at n ° 42 and product India with Sanjeev Bhaskar, a documentary about his family’s ancestral journey from India to England. His cultural contributions were officially recognized in 2006 when he was named the Most Excellent Officer of the Order in the British Empire.

Daniel radcliffe

Before playing the most famous wizard of all time, Daniel Radcliffe made his acting debut in David Copperfield in 1999 alongside Maggie Smith. The two-part BBC miniseries was an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1850 novel and Radcliffe played the young version of the title character. A year later he was cast in Harry potter and has become a household name. Since retiring from magic he has been seen in independent and quirky films like the one in 2013. Kill your darling 2015 Victor frankenstein and 2016 Swiss army man.

Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench’s combination of grace and talent has made her one of Britain’s most famous actresses working today, and in her decades of career she has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, won one and also won a Tony, two Golden Globes and four BAFTAs. She played iconic roles like Lady MacBeth and Queen Elizabeth and M in the James bond franchise, a role she held for 20 years. MASTERPIECE fans have known her since Cranford, the wonderful series about a group of women who get into mischievous trouble in 19th century rural England.

Imelda Staunton

Imelda Staunton has had a legendary career on screen and on stage. For his role in the years 2004 Vera drake, she won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Harry potter fans know her as the terrible Professor Umbridge. In addition to David Copperfield, she also starred in MASTERPIECE‘s Cranford, Back to Cranford, the years 1989 The heat of the day, the years 1993 A lot of noise for nothing, and the years 2005 My family and other animals. MASTERPIECE is a family affair – she is married to Downton abbey‘s Jim Carter, whom she met while playing together in a production of Guys and dolls. Their daughter Bessie Carter appeared in Beecham House and End Howards.

David Oyelowo

Before he comes to MASTERPIECE as Javert in the 2018 miniseries Wretched, David Oyelowo was already making history. When he took the stage in 2001 as King Henry VI in a Royal Shakespeare Company trilogy, he became the first black actor to play the king in a major Shakespeare production. From stage he moved to the small screen and played the role of Danny Hunter, an MI5 officer in The ghosts from 2002 to 2004. Although British, he brought critical American figures and stories to the big screen, including his appearance in Lee Daniels’ The butler in 2013 and in his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in 2014 Selma.

Michel gambon

Yet another Harry potter star: This time it’s Michael Gambon, who played the role of Albus Dumbledore for six of the films in the series. The Tony Award winner has also had an eclectic career on screen, appearing in films like 2001 Gosford Park, 2010s The King’s Speech and Wes Anderson films like those of 2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox. His contributions were officially recognized when he was knighted by Prince Charles in 1998. We love him for his lead roles in the 1999 MASTERPIECE mini series Wives and daughters, 2007 Cranford, its titular role in the years 2016 Churchill’s Secret, and the 2017 mini-series Little woman.

Peter O’Toole

With piercing blue eyes and a handsome movie star appearance, Peter O’Toole became a world star when he first appeared in bright colors in the desert in Laurence of Arabia in 1962. This led to his first Oscar nomination, and he would go on to be nominated seven more times for roles including that of King Henry II in the 1964s. Becket and more recently for the years 2006 Venus. O’Toole first came to MASTERPIECE when he starred in the 1996 film Heavy weather.

Colin firth

Colin Firth made drama fans turn green as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, thanks to some wet shirt scene. This iconic portrayal elevated Firth’s star status and led him to a string of critically acclaimed roles, including that of 2011 Tinker Tailor Spy Soldier, 1998 Shakespeare in love, 1996 The English patient and 2001 Bridget Jones Diary. He was nominated for an Oscar for 2009 A single man and won one for his portrayal of King George VI in the 2010s The king’s speech. In 1999 he starred in MASTERPIECE‘s The turn of the screw.

Eamonn Walker

Speaking of Shakespeare, we had to include Eamonn Walker, who played Othello in the 2002 MASTERPIECE movie. Written by Andrew Davies, it was a modern take on Shakespeare’s classic play, set in the 21st century amid racial tensions within London’s Metropolitan Police. Walker also caused a sensation in the HBO prison drama. ounce and as a fire chief in Chicago Fire.

Helene Mirren

Helen Mirren is another British theater legend who dabbled in royalty. She is one of the very few actresses to win the so-called Triple Crown of Acting, having won an Academy Award for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, a Tony Award for the same role in The audience, and also four Emmy Awards throughout his legendary career. She was also Oscar nominated for 1994 The Madness of King George, 2001 Gosford Park and 2009 The last station. From 1991 to 2006, she played the pioneering detective Jane Tennison, on MASTERPIECE‘s Main suspect, for which she was nominated for three BAFTA awards. To top it off, she was officially named a Lady at Buckingham Palace in 2003.

Diana rigg

Dame Diana Rigg passed away last year, but she’s still on our screens, appearing as Mrs. Pumphrey in All creatures big and small. Before that she had a long history with MASTERPIECE, having hosted Mystery! from 1989 to 2003 and appeared in the years 1985 Dark house, Victoria in 2019, and Rebecca in 1997, which earned him an Emmy Award. She won a Tony Award in 1994 for her stage role in Medea and she has appeared in some of the most iconic franchises in film and television, including the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, and recently as the memorable Olenna Tyrell on Game Of Thrones.

Tamara Laurent

To complete our list, we celebrate Tamara Lawrence, currently playing at MASTERPIECE mini series The long song, an adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel about 19th century Jamaica. Lawrence plays a young slave who tells her own story about the end of slavery in the country. She is not new MASTERPIECE, having appeared in king Charles III in 2017 as Prince Harry’s girlfriend. She has also had a few distinguished roles on stage, including in theatrical productions of Ma Rainey’s black stockings and Viola in Twelfth Night.

Who are your favorites MASTERPIECE stars? Let us know!


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