Young British entertainers who make it in America are called Pond Hoppers, referring to their transitioning across the Atlantic Ocean. The film and television people have a different term for their next-generation stars — breakthrough Brits. Each year, the British Academy of Film and TV Arts (BAFTA) picks up to 20 talented newcomers for promotion and mentoring. Hey, Great Britain has been turning out quality dramatic talent since Will Shakespeare trod the stage, long before the Hollywood star machine was built. They still do but in a uniquely British way. The thing is if you’re an American movie or TV star, you are probably world famous. Looking through the resumes cited by BAFTA and British critics for imminent stardom, the vast majority have resumes that contain formal drama school as well as a striking number of stage credits with Shakespeare’s name frequently seen. There is an element of classical training completely absent in their American counterparts. And it’s classical training that continues in one of the great incubators of talent the world has known like the British Broadcasting Corporation.
And while there are acclaimed sci-fi and children’s series, they excel in period drama and adaptations in which names like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Shakespeare. Those that come through the system are thespians of the highest order. Here are 15 young people who have been judged by British media as the country’s burgeoning stars on the world stage. And in fitting with the women’s empowerment movement, what could be more fitting on the 100th anniversary of British women getting the right to vote, than to feature a list of the best young actresses Britain has to offer, coming soon to a screen near you, wherever you may be.US of A starlets be forewarned. Another British Invasion is underway.
15 Margaret Clunie Wants To Move Into The Modern Century
She’s in a hit series that draws five million viewers on Sunday night prime time. Clunie herself calls her role as the Duchess of Sutherland in ITV’s acclaimed period drama Victoria, as her big break. But that was before she got a part in another miniseries called Patrick Melrose, based on the novels of renowned author Edward St. Aubyn with an actor you may have heard of named Benedict Cumberbatch. "He was so lovely,’"she recalled. If you can judge an actress' fame by the company she keeps than Clunie s famous indeed. One of her first big roles was in A Young Doctor's Notebook with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. On a less ambitious note, Clunie says she looks forward to roles that don’t require wearing a corset as Victorian costumes do. "They’re horrible. Now I understand why women were hysterical."
14 Tuppence Middleton Has Acted Alongside Big Names
A delightfully British name, but off the top, Tupp, as she is affectionately known, wants to make it clear she is, unfortunately, no relation to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William. She hails from the historic port of Bristol. Entering her second decade in the business, she marked her arrival as a burgeoning star in A Long Way Down, a dark comedy based on bestselling English author Nick Hornby’s popular novel. When you can say "I’m in a movie with Pierce Brosnan and Rosamunde Pike" you can count yourself "arrived." Speaking of books, she also played in the adaptation of another one you may have heard of called War and Peace, that ran on BBC in Britain, and Showtime and History in the U.S. She followed that with another historical drama, The Current War with the aforementioned Benedict Cumberbatch. But then they were old friends since they worked together on the 2014 Oscar-winning film, The Imitation Game. Netflix watchers would recognize her in Sense8.
13 Beattie Edmondson Is A Comedian
The daughter of comedian parents, it shouldn’t surprise Beattie followed their footsteps into the profession. While at Manchester University, she chose not to audition for the drama society but rather formed an all-female comic group that would be called the Birthday Girls and hit the comedy circuit. But the young sketch comic soon found her way to so-called Britcoms, the genre of sitcoms by and for Brits and by 2008, she appeared The Wright Way which lasted just long enough to launch into a succession of comic TV roles which refined her craft and made enough good impressions to get her into big British movies like Absolutely Fabulous. Then she hit the jackpot in the international hit Bridget Jones’ Baby.
12 Tallulah Rose Haddon Is On Her Way To The Top
There’s an edgy persona behind this rising star. Her big screen debut in the indie film Spaceship had her play a blue-haired teenager who fakes her own alien abduction. She has had conventional roles like the BBC’s well-received period drama, Taboo, set in 19th London. She plays Harriet in the award-winning British drama The Living Dead in which supernatural forces wreak havoc on an English farm. Then, in what could be her ticket to Tinseltown and cinema success, is the Netflix sci-fi series Kiss Me First, set in a bleak dystopian future. Haddon described her character as being "quite honest, intense."
11 Leonie Elliott Has An Impressive Resume
Another Londoner, and as many of the young women on this list, she went to acting school and began compiling awesome stage credits at a young age, in her case 10. She was in The Lion King, Annie, and the old British fave The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Her first movie role came in her mid-teens in Wondrous Oblivion where she played a shy but gifted Jamaican immigrant cricket player. Her presence on this list is a product of her parts in a couple of huge British drama series. In 2016, she starred in episodes of Black Mirror, which is a dark sci-fi series that has a pretty big cult following.
10 Maisie Williams Is No Ordinary Girl
Margaret Constance Williams was nicknamed Maisie after a comic strip character. She’s cited by Grazia Daily UK as one of the “incredible eight” actresses destined for future Oscar glory. She already has awards including a Screen Actors Guild Award. She began her career with a bang as Arya Stark in HBO’s mighty Game of Thrones franchise. It was her first professional role that she got. Then came a part in the TV series with a very British name, The Secret of Crickley Hall. Better still, she earned a recurring role in the long- running, legendary Brit sci-fi series Dr.Who. Her pond-hopping vehicle could very well be the sci-fi feature The New Mutants, in which she plays, according to Hollywood Reporter, a Scottish mutant "struggling to reconcile her religious beliefs with her power to turn into a wolf."
9 Alexa Davies Made A Movie With Meryl Streep
She is already successful with a seriously interesting body of work which is almost entirely done in Britain, for British audiences. It can make you resolve to find a way to watch more British TV. Davies made her name in a handful of Brit series and films, like the hit comedy Raised by Wolves about an eccentric mother and her unconventional ways of raising kids. She was also in the 2015 film Absolutely Anything with Kate Beckinsale, John Cleese, and Eddie Izzard. Alexa Davies, in a few short years, got her international breakout role in the sequel to the smash hit Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Davies got to hang with living legends like Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth.
8 Bel Powley Stands Out In Every Movie
She has exactly the kind of filmography only a Brit could have. She learned her craft growing up in that time-honoured training regimen that is British television. Her first notable part came in M.I. High, a BBC children’s action series about a high school full of spies. The youthful TV star would soon explode onto the American film scene in Diary of a Teenage Girl where she was the talk of the Sundance Film Festival with her portrayal of Minnie, a 15-year-old obsessed with men and music in San Francisco in the 1970s. She acted alongside Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård. There were rumors that she came close to landing a role in Star Wars.
7 Poppy Corby Tuech Is A Starlet
Tuech was born in France but raised in Norfolk. Her path to fame was a decidedly unconventional path to film after several years studying journalism, playing in indie electro-punk bands, and performing as a Cancan dancer. She did some modelling and music videos, then in 2012, she found herself in her first feature film Dracula: The Dark Prince with Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight. And when the call came from Los Angeles summoning her to appear with Johnny Depp in the next Fantastic Beasts film, she said she was beyond ecstatic. InStyle wrote, "Poppy is everything you want an actress to be: stunning to the point of bewitching, articulate and charmingly self deprecating."
6 Ellie Bamber Is Becoming A Disney Star
As a teenager, the Surrey, England native wowed hotshot designer/ director Tom Ford into casting her as Jake Gyllenhaal’s daughter in 2016’s Nocturnal Animals and she played ditzy Lydia Bennett In Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. Disney has also picked her to play Louise in the fantasy film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. It stars Morgan Freeman, with big-time female Brit stars Keira Knightly and Helen Mirren and is directed by the Oscar-nominated Swede, Lasse Hallstrom. As if that’s not enough, she stars in the juicy role of Cossette in the BBC’s adaptation of Les Misérables. She’s also been in the Shawn Mendes video of "There’s Nothing Holding Me Back." And she’s barely twenty.
5 Jade Anouka Is The One To Watch
No one gets more enthusiastic endorsements than this London native entering her thirties. The Daily Mail says she’s “insanely talented and clearly on the brink of mainstream success.” She has serious acting chops as an acclaimed British stage star, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is on a mission to defy convention, drawing raving reviews for her male role as Hotspur in Henry IV and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, which are finding their way onto the BBC. The acclaim got her parts in two big series: Trauma. It might be her springboard to the film work. She said, “I’m looking for challenging material that pushes the boundaries. I want to do things people haven’t seen a black woman do before. I try to be fearless and honest about my connection to the role. It’s my job to empathize and I’ll jump in and see what happens. I’m up for trying any role.”
4 Sonoya Mizuno Is Proof That Anything Can Happen
She was born in Tokyo but raised in Somerset, England, with a rich West Country accent to prove it. Her first ambition was to be an actress, but she entered the Royal Ballet School. She performed with European Ballet troupes. Acting may have been her first dream but it was her third career, coming after her ballet and her top shelf modelling at the age of 20 for brands like Chanel and Luis Vuitton. In 2014, she had a small but memorable role in Ex Machina, playing an android who dances up a storm with Oscar Isaac. Vanity Fair called the stunning dance scene "one of the cinematic achievements of 2015.” She told Vice, "I took singing lessons and two years later I'm in, La La Land a musical with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It's proof that anything can happen."
3 Florence Pugh Got A Netflix Role
To call the twenty-something native of Oxford a rising star is a gross understatement. Erupting is a more accurate adjective. She burst onto the scene in 2017 with her portrayal of a troubled young woman in 19th century England called Lady Macbeth which got her named a breakthrough Brit by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Then prestigious roles followed — a BBC adaptation of King Lear and the Beeb’s production of the great John Le Carre’s mystery The Little Drummer Girl. The big screen soon followed. Fellow UK alumnus Liam Neeson is her leading man in a thriller The Commuter. Netflix has her in Outlaw King with Chris Pine, And no less than The Rock in a wrestling comedy called Fighting with My Family.
2 Olivia Cooke Has Big Plans
You might remember her wrenching performance in 2015’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Her cinematic success was far from pre-ordained. But in case you didn't see it, you might recognize her from this year's big blockbuster Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg. Her next role is Becky Sharpe in an adaptation of the much-loved classic British novel Vanity Fair. Grazia Daily UK assures us it “will see her reach Downton Abbey levels of ubiquity. She’s also on Grazia’s list of "Incredible Actresses who are Oscar Bound." They point to her role in the indie film Katie Says Goodbye in which she plays a teenage waitress who seeks to escape poverty by moving to San Francisco and turning to working on the street. A few more roles like that and it won't be long she'll be giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars.
1 Letitia Wright Is The Next Big Thing
She’s just in her mid-twenties, but Hollywood has the Guyana-born Londoner indelibly on its radar. Her breakout role came in 2015’s Brit feature Urban Hymn as Jamie, a troubled teen with a great voice for which she was named a "breakthrough Brit" by the prestigious British Academy of Film and TV Arts. As if the last homage to her Brit roots, she appeared in the hit British sci-fi series Black Mirror in 2017, then it was off to hop the pond in huge movies, most notably as Shuri in the box-office record-breaker Black Panther and star-studded Avengers: Infinity War. She also acted alongside Olivia in Ready Player One. She joins fellow UK exports Liam Neeson and Florence Pugh in The Commuter as well.The present is impressive, but what a future!