You might recognize David Harewood best as David Estes, [spoiler redacted] Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center on Showtime’s Homeland, but while rewatching Doctor Who: The End of Time last night, I shouted “OH SHIT!” at my TV screen (and probably scared the crap out of my neighbors) when he appeared as Joshua Naismith, the billionaire who helped to resurrect The Master. But seriously though, at this point there are so many Brits on Homeland you could tell me Mandy Pantinkin is a North London native and I’d probably believe you.
These are the stars of British tv drama Our Friends In The North, from 1996. That’s future Doctor Who Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston; future star of Sherlock Holmes, The Green Lantern and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Mark Strong; and future James BondDaniel Craig. (Plus Gina McKee, who was the only member of the cast to win a British Academy Award!)
Vinette Robinson, who many either love or love to hate as Sergeant Sally Donovan in BBC’s Sherlock, played the supporting role of medical doctor Abi Lerner during the Ten/Martha era of Doctor Who in the episode “42”.
Not since Figwit (played by Brett McKenzie) in Lord of the Rings has a side character garnered a fan following as fervent as the one surrounding Doctor Who's rebellious Jethro (played by Colin Morgan) who is stuck with his parents and The Doctor on a bus that has broken down IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Morgan was a relatively unknown actor when he appeared on Doctor Who in July 2008, but just a few months later he catapulted to fame with a starring role in BBC’s Merlin as, well, Merlin.
As amazing as it would be to see The Doctor show up on Downton Abbey, it would not be the first time Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and the good Doctor have crossed paths. Bonneville played pirate captain Henry Avery in two Doctor Who episodes, “The Curse of the Black Spot” and “A Good Man Goes to War”. He was not the first Downton cast member to work with the Doctor, however (and we assume he probably won’t be the last either). Penelope Wilton, known to Downton Abbey fans as Cousin Isobel Crawley, was none other than Prime Minister Harriet Jones, who sacrificed her life to save Earth during one of David Tennant’s last Doctor Who episodes, “The Stolen Earth”.
Depending on your television habits, Tom Ellis is either best known to you as King Cenred (Merlin), Gary Preston (Miranda), or Dr. Thomas Milligan (Doctor Who). And if you don’t watch any British television, 1) What’s wrong with you? and 2) You probably don’t know who he is at all. And that’s a shame. Because he’s fantastic.
Best known as the lovely, badass River Song on Doctor Who, Alex Kingston also starred on 4 episodes of Law and Order: SVU. In addition, fans of Doctor Who know that River Song’s given name is Melody Pond, and her character on SVU just so happens to be named Miranda Pond.
John Barrowman, commonly known for his role as omnisexual time traveler Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood, played a nazi (or, to be more precise, lead tenor stormtrooper) in The Producers (2005).
Anthony Head is familiar to most as Rupert Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s watcher or as King Uther Pendragon in Merlin, but he also played a headmaster/alien named Mr. Finch in a season 2 episode of Doctor Who.
Before Karen Gillan hopped aboard the TARDIS as the Eleventh Doctor’s first companion, the very Scottish and very ginger Amelia Pond, she appeared in a season four episode of Doctor Who as a soothsayer in “The Fires of Pompeii”.