Nobody gets to quarrel with me on this. There can simply be no question that British actors are better than American ones. And by "actors" of course I mean actors and actresses. And by "better" I don't just mean better at their craft, (I'm willing to concede that there are some very talented American actors too) but on the whole, all things considered, British actors are just . . . better. They're more interesting, more pleasant. More worthy of admiration and respect as individuals and humans. I can watch them and not feel shallow and dirty.
I understand that there are plenty of British actors who become famous and enter the stratosphere of celebrity -- the machine that sullies us all with uber-celebrities bumbling around trying to sell us their politics, their beauty products, or their lifestyles, writing their autobiographies when they are in their 30s and talking self importantly while concurrently doing everything they can to mess up their personal lives.
But I'm not talking about them.
I'm thinking of the scores of working actors who turn in excellent performance upon excellent performance, who put in a starring turn and then willingly follow it with supporting roles. Who can be found in many projects over the years producing great trails of great viewing. For instance, by watching North and South, I tapped into Brendan Coyle who I then followed to Lark Rise and Downton Abbey. While there in North and South, I also recognized Anna Maxwell Martin whom I'd enjoyed in Bleak House and who I later followed to South Riding, where she shared space with Peter Firth of Spooks -- in which he appeared with Richard Armitage who starred in North and South with Coyle. And back at Lark Rise, I met Julia Sawalha from Pride and Prejudice and Claudie Blakely from, well, a different adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The possibilities are endless. It sort of makes me want to do a chart. . . uh oh, better watch out for that :)
. . . also reminds me of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, in which you can link any two Hollywood actors in six steps or less through the tool of Kevin Bacon. You could probably link most of these actors working in British dramas in about 1 step. My mental chart is getting very cluttered. . .British television drama provides so many opportunities to enjoy performances by people who I can watch in countless different combinations of great dramas and in interviews speaking with humor, class and fun and making me proud rather than ashamed that I enjoyed them; people for whom I can truly wish success, though not too much success (lest they join the machine).