Great British Actresses - The New Generation

by glyntreharne-1 | created - 10 Nov 2012 | updated - 04 Dec 2018 | Public

British actresses of the 21st century

1. Gemma Arterton

Actress | Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Gemma Christina Arterton was born in Gravesend, Kent, England, where she was raised. She is the daughter of Sally-Anne (Heap), a cleaner, and Barry J. Arterton, a welder. Her mother's cousin is singer-songwriter Eric Goulden.

Her parents divorced when she was age five, and Gemma subsequently lived ...

2. Samantha Barks

Actress | Les Misérables

Samantha Barks was born in Laxey, Isle of Man (British Isles) in 1990. She is a British actress best known for the role of Éponine in Les Misérables. In 2008, Samantha competed in I'd Do Anything in which she was one of the finalists in a search for a new, unknown lead to play Nancy in a West End ...

3. Kate Beckinsale

Actress | Underworld: Evolution

Kate Beckinsale was born on 26 July 1973 in Hounslow, Middlesex, England, and has resided in London for most of her life. Her mother is Judy Loe, who has appeared in a number of British dramas and sitcoms and continues to work as an actress, predominantly in British television productions. Her ...

4. Emily Blunt

Actress | Edge of Tomorrow

Emily Olivia Leah Blunt is a British actress known for her roles in The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The Young Victoria (2009), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and The Girl on the Train (2016), among many others.

Blunt was born on February 23, 1983, in Roehampton, South West London, England, the second of ...

5. Jessica Brown Findlay

Actress | Brave New World

Jessica Brown Findlay is an English actress. She is known for Emelia Conan-Doyle in the British comedy-drama Albatross (2011), Winter's Tale (2014), This Beautiful Fantastic (2016) and Lady Sybil Crawley in ITV's Downton Abbey (2010). She also starred in the TV series Misfits (2009) and mini-series ...

6. Georgina Campbell

Actress | Murdered by My Boyfriend

Georgina Campbell is an actress, known for Murdered by My Boyfriend (2014), Black Mirror (2011) and Broadchurch (2013).

7. Laura Carmichael

Actress | Downton Abbey

Laura Carmichael was born on July 16, 1986 in Southampton, Hampshire, England. She is an actress, known for Downton Abbey (2019), Downton Abbey (2010) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).

8. Olivia Cooke

Actress | Ready Player One

Olivia Cooke was born and raised in Oldham, a former textile manufacturing town in Greater Manchester, North West England. She comes from a family of non-actors; her father, John, is a retired police officer, and her mother is a sales representative. Cooke attended Royton and Crompton Secondary ...

9. Michelle Dockery

Actress | Downton Abbey

Michelle Suzanne Dockery (born 15 December 1981) is an English actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV drama series Downton Abbey (2010-2015), for which she has been nominated for three consecutive Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. She made her ...

10. Alice Eve

Actress | Before We Go

Alice Sophia Eve was born in London, England. Her father is Trevor Eve and her mother is Sharon Maughan, both fellow actors. She is the eldest of three children. Eve has English, Irish and Welsh ancestry. Her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was young as her father tried to crack ...

11. Joanne Froggatt

Actress | Downton Abbey

Joanne Froggatt won a Golden Globe and was three-times EMMY nominated for her role as 'Anna Bates' in Downton Abbey and reprised her role in the recent film. She also won acclaim for Liar for ITV and Sundance TV and will return for its second series in 2020. She also soon takes on an entirely ...

12. Romola Garai

Actress | Atonement

Romola Garai was born on 6th August 1982. She is an English actress-writer-director who has worked extensively on film, television and theatre. As an actress she is known for her performances in films such as Atonement (2007), Angel (2007), I Capture the Castle (2003) and (Suffragette). On ...

13. Holliday Grainger

Actress | Cinderella

Holliday Grainger was born on March 27, 1988 in Didsbury, Manchester, England as Holliday Clark Grainger. She is an actress, known for Cinderella (2015), Great Expectations (2012) and My Cousin Rachel (2017).

14. Rebecca Hall

Actress | Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Rebecca Hall was born in London, UK, the daughter of Peter Hall, a stage director and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Maria Ewing, an opera singer. Her father is English. Her mother, who is American, is of Dutch, Scottish, Sioux, and African American origin. Her parents separated when...

15. Sally Hawkins

Actress | The Shape of Water

Sally Cecilia Hawkins was born in 1976 in Lewisham hospital, London, England, to Jacqui and Colin Hawkins, authors and illustrators of children's books. She is of English and Irish descent. Hawkins was brought up in Greenwich, in southeast London. She attended James Allen's Girls' School in Dulwich...

16. Chelsee Healey

Actress | Waterloo Road

Chelsee Healey was born on August 6, 1988 in Eccles, Salford, Greater Manchester, England. She is an actress, known for Waterloo Road (2006), Burn It (2003) and Casualty (1986).

17. Julie Hesmondhalgh

Actress | Broadchurch

Julie was born in Accrington, Lancashire where she was involved in local amateur theatre and studied A-level Theatre Studies at Accrington and Rossendale College under Martin Cosgrif. Despite planning to go into social work, she won a grant to attend LAMDA, where she studied from 1988-91. After ...

18. Lily James

Actress | Cinderella

Lily James was born Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson in Esher, Surrey, to Ninette (Mantle), an actress, and Jamie Thomson, an actor and musician. Her grandmother, Helen Horton, was an American actress. She began her education at Arts Educational School in Tring and subsequently went on to study acting at...

19. Felicity Jones

Actress | Rogue One

Felicity Rose Hadley Jones is an English actress and producer. Jones started her professional acting career as a child, appearing at age 12 in The Treasure Seekers (1996). She went on to play Ethel Hallow for one series in the television show The Worst Witch and its sequel Weirdsister College. ...

20. Suranne Jones

Actress | Doctor Foster

Suranne Jones was born on August 27, 1978 in Oldham, Greater Manchester, England as Sarah Anne Jones. She is an actress and writer, known for Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned (2015), Scott & Bailey (2011) and Coronation Street (1960). She has been married to Laurence Akers since August 4, 2015. ...

21. Katherine Kelly

Actress | Cheat

Katherine was born and raised in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England. As the daughter of Irish parents, Katherine spent much of her childhood in County Kerry, Ireland and was also schooled in America, where she lived for a number of years. At age eighteen she was awarded a place at the prestigious ...

22. Keira Knightley

Actress | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Keira Christina Knightley was born March 26, 1985 in the South West Greater London suburb of Richmond. She is the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald. An older brother, Caleb Knightley, was born in 1979. Her father is English, while her Scottish-born ...

23. Sophie McShera

Actress | Cinderella

Sophie McShera was born on May 17, 1985 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. She is an actress, known for Cinderella (2015), Downton Abbey (2010) and Galavant (2015).

24. Anna Maxwell Martin

Actress | Philomena

The rather striking Anna Maxwell-Martin is a rising star on both stage and screen. Anna had dreamed all her life of becoming actress even though her family had no background in the arts whatsoever. She starred in school plays and an acclaimed production of "Breezeblock Park" in the role of Betty.

At...

25. Carey Mulligan

Actress | Never Let Me Go

Carey Hannah Mulligan is a British actress. She was born May 28, 1985, in Westminster, London, England, to Nano (Booth), a university lecturer, and Stephen Mulligan, a hotel manager. Her mother is from Llandeilo, Wales, and Carey also has Irish and English ancestry.

Her first major appearance was ...

26. Maxine Peake

Actress | The Theory of Everything

Maxine Peake is an English stage, radio, film and television actress, who made her name as Twinkle in Victoria Wood's sitcom Dinnerladies. She has since played Veronica in Channel 4's Manchester-based drama series Shameless, barrister Martha Costello in the BBC legal drama Silk and Grace Middleton ...

27. Rosamund Pike

Actress | Gone Girl

Born on January 27, 1979 in London, England, actress Rosamund Mary Elizabeth Pike is the only child of a classical violinist mother, Caroline (Friend), and an opera singer father, Julian Pike. Due to her parents' work, she spent her early childhood traveling around Europe. Pike attended Badminton ...

28. Billie Piper

Actress | Secret Diary of a Call Girl

Billie Piper studied at the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School. She caught the eyes of record producers who were interested in signing a young vocalist when she was the poster girl for the ad campaign of a British pop music magazine, "Smash Hits". She released her first single, "Because We ...

29. Kelly Reilly

Actress | Flight

Jessica Kelly Siobhán Reilly (born 18 July 1977) is an English actress. Her performance in After Miss Julie at the Donmar Warehouse made her a star of the London stage and earned her a nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress of 2003. Reilly was born and brought up in Chessington, ...

30. Daisy Ridley

Actress | Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Daisy Jazz Isobel Ridley is an English actress. She is best known for her breakthrough role as "Rey" in the 2015 film, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015). Daisy was born in Westminster, London, on April 10, 1992. She is the daughter of Louise Fawkner-Corbett and Chris Ridley. Her ...

31. Sheridan Smith

Actress | Cilla

Sheridan Smith was born on 25 June 1981 and grew up in Epworth. While Sheridan was growing up, her parents, Colin and Marilyn, performed as a Country and Western duo called The Daltons and it wasn't long before Sheridan got into it. She was dancing from the age of 4 and singing with her parents ...

32. Kara Tointon

Actress | EastEnders

Standing at an average 5ft 5in, with a cheeky glint in her deep brown eyes we have Kara Tointon - a girl who is anything but average. She was brought into the world on August 5th 1983 in a large Essex town called Southend-On-Sea.. Ambitious and confident from an early age, Kara often made up her ...

33. Emma Watson

Actress | The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born in Paris, France, to British parents, Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, both lawyers. She moved to Oxfordshire when she was five, where she attended the Dragon School. From the age of six, Emma knew that she wanted to be an actress and, for a number of years,...

34. Jodie Whittaker

Actress | Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker came to prominence after her breakout performance in Venus (2006), which was met with a string of nominations, including British Independent Film Award and Satellite Award nominations for "Most Promising Newcomer" and "Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical." Whittaker ...



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