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Top 10 British Performances in Netflix Originals

WRITTEN BY: Kimberley Payne
Britain! Improving the quality of Netflix, one actor at a time! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Performances in Netflix Originals. For this list, we’re celebrating British acting performances in Netflix original shows, and Netflix co-productions. We’re including shows that started out on Netflix, but also those that first aired elsewhere before debuting on the streaming service, too. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Performances in Netflix Originals


Britain! Improving the quality of Netflix, one actor at a time! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Performances in Netflix Originals.

For this list, we’re celebrating British acting performances in Netflix original shows, and Netflix co-productions. We’re including shows that started out on Netflix, but also those that first aired elsewhere before debuting on the streaming service, too.

#10: Susan Wokoma as Raquel Francis
“Crazyhead” (2016)

From the creative mind that also brought us “Misfits”, Brit writer Howard Overman, “Crazyhead” is a horror comedy with quite the cult following. And Susan Wokoma’s ever-awkward Raquel is a definite series highlight. Essentially, she’s a self-made demon hunter… And, if anyone says they’re not jealous of that job title, they’re lying. “Crazyhead” may have been originally cancelled after only one series, but with Netflix now being the sole owner, we can all hold out hope that it’ll one day continue.

#9: Clare-Hope Ashitey as K. J. Harper
“Seven Seconds” (2018)

Netflix has its fair share of hard-hitting dramas. And, if you are looking for something more serious, something to make you think, then “Seven Seconds” is up there with the best of ‘em. London’s Clare-Hope Ashitey is at the helm of the series, playing prosecutor K. J. Harper, in a story centred on racial issues, police procedure and American politics. Bringing not only a strong female lead to the show, but also a serious and realistic portrayal of her character, it’s in some ways a breakthrough gig for the actress – who’d had largely supporting roles before.

#8: James Purefoy as Laurens Bancroft
“Altered Carbon” (2018-)

A good dystopian thriller should always create a sense of unease. And, one sure-fire way of doing just that, is to add a villainous Brit with a God complex into the mix. In one of Netflix’ more ambitious 2018 projects, James Purefoy plays Laurens Bancroft, an absurdly powerful man living high, high above everybody else. Purefoy brings the ego perfectly for this one, slathering it all in an English accent that’s on the money, and convincing us all that he really doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

#7: Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock
“Daredevil” (2015-18)

Netflix and Marvel seem a match made in telly heaven, but despite most of the Marvel Universe playing out in New York City, casting directors routinely dip into the British talent pool for their heroes. The ill-fated “Iron Fist” was fronted by London's own Finn Jones, but it’s Charlie Cox’s performance as blind vigilante Matt Murdock that makes our list. Cox appeared in quintessentially British programmes like “Downton Abbey” before this, but his natural accent gives way for a convincing American one here, for a seemingly challenging role… which Cox takes in his stride and totally nails.

#6: Amanda Abbington as DS Sophie Mason
“Safe” (2018)

It’s always nice to see a Netflix Original actually set in the UK – even if it is for an especially sinister story. And, while the lead role in “Safe” goes to American actor Michael C Hall (who manages a half-decent accent, too), Amanda Abbington’s work on the series is crucial to its success. Contrary to its title, there’s danger and suspicion oozing into every scene, as Abbington plays the part of an investigating officer who becomes personally involved in a particularly problematic case. But, can she be trusted?

#5: David Tennant as Kilgrave
“Jessica Jones” (2015-)

We’re back to another Brit baddie. Confirming his then-growing reputation for playing villains as well as heroes, David Tennant stepped into the role of Kilgrave in 2015. A mind-controlling menace who proves a deadly rival for this show’s titular character, Tennant’s take on the Purple Man won widespread acclaim – even listed by some as one of the greatest TV antagonists ever. Having everyone think, speak and behave exactly as he wants them to at any given moment, he’s a genuinely scary chap – with a pretty messed up view of the world.

#4: Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven
“Stranger Things” (2016-)

With its unmistakably American setting and cast, it might’ve been easy to miss British actors Charlie Heaton and Millie Bobby Brown in this show. But, their performances are two of the most memorable – with Brown’s portrayal of Eleven being arguably the best of all. A young actor at the beginning of her career, she shines as the troubled, telekinetic character – managing to keep audiences gripped with very few lines of actual dialogue. A fan favourite for the series with an unrelenting Eggo habit, she’s the face of one of Netflix’ biggest ever hits.

#3: Alex Lawther as James
“The End of the F***ing World” (2017-)

A Channel 4 and Netflix co-production, “The End of the F***ing World” is nothing if not original. With Alex Lawther playing the pivotal role, James is a potential psychopath who may (or may not) be able to kill the girl he’s gone on an English road trip with. But, what makes the situation particularly unsettling is that the unconventional pair inspire a steady stream of great comedy moments. A stand-out part in Lawther’s impressive early career, this role was clearly a risk worth taking.

#2: Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II
“The Crown” (2016-)

When “The Crown” first started on Netflix, Claire Foy was a relative unknown compared to her ex-“Doctor Who” co-star, Matt Smith. Not anymore! Foy’s portrayal of the Queen in her younger years earned the actress widespread acclaim, a lorryload of major awards and an ever-growing fanbase. All in, she’s scarily convincing as probably the most famous woman in the world – from the pitch perfect accent to the royal wave, to the regal way she dominates the room. The driving force behind one of the most popular shows in recent years, she left Olivia Colman with big shoes to fill.

#1: Carey Mulligan as Kip Glaspie
“Collateral” (2018)

With so many police procedural programmes around these days, it can be rare for one to truly stand-out. But “Collateral” definitely does. And it’s mostly down to Carey Mulligan, who outshines even the seriously impressive supporting cast around her. She plays Kip Glaspie, a one-time pole vaulter turned police detective, who finds herself fronting a pulsating murder investigation. Taking in everything from British politics to police corruption and the secret service, to describe “Collateral” as a complex web of mystery is to put it lightly. But Mulligan’s work ties it altogether for an addictive series that’s impossible to predict.
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