Great British Actresses - The New Generation

British actresses of the 21st century
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1.
Gemma Arterton
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 with her younger sister and her mother...
 
2.
Samantha Barks
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 revival of the British musical Oliver!...
 
3.
Kate Beckinsale
Actress, Underworld
Kate Beckinsale was born on 26 July 1973 in 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 father was Richard Beckinsale...
 
4.
Emily Blunt
Actress, Sicario
Emily Olivia Leah Blunt is a British actress known for her roles in The Young Victoria and The Devil Wears Prada. Blunt was born on February 23, 1983, in Roehampton, South West London, England, the second of four children in the family of Joanna Mackie, a former actress and teacher, and Oliver Simon Peter Blunt...
 
5.
Jessica Brown Findlay
Jessica Brown Findlay is an English actress. She was born in Cookham, Berkshire, to Beverley, a teacher's aid and nurse, and Christopher Brown-Findlay, who works in finance. She is of Scottish and English descent. Jessica trained with the National Youth Ballet and the Associates of the Royal Ballet...
 
8.
Olivia Cooke
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 School and studied drama at Oldham Sixth Form College...
 
9.
Michelle Dockery
Actress, Non-Stop
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 professional stage debut in His Dark Materials in 2004...
 
10.
Alice Eve
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 the American market. However, they returned to the United Kingdom when she was age 13...
 
11.
Joanne Froggatt
Actress, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt was born in 1979 in the village of Littlebeck, North Yorkshire, UK. She started going to a drama school in Maidenhead at the age of 13 and was also a member of the "Rounders" youth theatre group at Alan Ayckbourne's Stephen Joseph Theatre, In The Round. Eventually, she was cast in the role of a teenage prostitute in "The Bill"...
 
12.
Romola Garai
Actress, Amazing Grace
Born in Hong Kong to father Adrian (banker) and mother Janet (journalist), Romola Garai's unusual name is the female version of Romolo, an Italian name for boys (from Latin Romulus, the founder of Rome). She grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong until she was eight when her family returned to lay roots in Wiltshire...
 
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14.
Rebecca Hall
Actress, The Prestige
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 she was still young...
 
15.
Sally Hawkins
Sally 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. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1998...
 
17.
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 the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, graduating in 2010.
 
18.
Felicity Jones
Felicity Jones is an English actress. She started her professional acting career as a child, appearing at age 12 in The Treasure Seekers. She went on to play Ethel Hallow for one series in the television show The Worst Witch and its sequel Weirdsister College. She took time off from acting to attend school during her formative years...
 
21.
Keira Knightley
Keira Christina Knightley was born in the South West Greater London suburb of Richmond on March 26th 1985. 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 mother is of Scottish and Welsh origin...
 
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23.
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 the age of 20 she auditioned for the prestigious Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art...
 
24.
Carey Mulligan
Actress, Drive
Carey Mulligan is a British actress, born May 28, 1985, in Westminster, London, England, to Nano (Booth), a university lecturer, and Stephen Mulligan, a hotel manager. Her father is of Irish descent and her mother is Welsh, originally from Llandeilo. Her first major appearance was playing Kitty Bennet in Pride & Prejudice alongside Keira Knightley...
 
25.
Maxine Peake
After graduating from Salford University, Peake trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her first role out of drama school was in Victoria Wood's sitcom Dinnerladies which ran for two series. She made her professional stage debut at the Bolton Octagon in 1998's "Early One Morning".
 
26.
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 School in Bristol...
 
27.
Billie Piper
Actress, Doctor Who
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 Want To"...
 
29.
Daisy Ridley
Daisy Jazz Isobel Ridley is an English actress. She is best known for her breakthrough role as "Rey" in the 2015 film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Daisy was born in Westminster, London, on April 10, 1992. She is the daughter of Louise Fawkner-Corbett and Chris Ridley. Her great-uncle was Arnold Ridley, an English actor...
 
30.
Sheridan Smith
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 when she was about 7...
 
31.
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 own words for things and was always amusing those around her with her random and creative moods...
 
32.
Emma Watson
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born in Paris, France, to English 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, she trained at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts...