Great British Actresses - The New Generation

by glyntreharne-1 | created - 10 Nov 2012 | updated - 10 Jan 2017 | 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 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 ...

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 | Winter's Tale

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....

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 (2010), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and Madame Bovary (2014).

8. Olivia Cooke

Actress | Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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 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 ...

12. Romola Garai

Actress | Atonement

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 ...

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), The Finest Hours (2016) and Bonnie & Clyde (2013).

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, Manchester, England. She is an actress, known for Waterloo Road (2006), Burn It (2003) and Casualty (1986).

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...

18. Felicity Jones

Actress | Rogue One

Felicity Rose Hadley Jones is an English actress. Jones was born in Birmingham, West Midlands, and grew up in Bournville. Her parents met while working at the Wolverhampton Express and Star. Her father was a journalist while her mother was in advertising. They divorced when she was three, and she ...

19. Suranne Jones

Actress | Scott & Bailey

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 Scott & Bailey (2011), Doctor Foster (2015) and Coronation Street (1960). She has been married to Laurence Akers since August 4, 2015. They have one ...

20. Katherine Kelly

Actress | Coronation Street

Katherine Kelly was born on November 19, 1979 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England. She is an actress, known for Coronation Street (1960), Mr Selfridge (2013) and Life on Mars (2006). She has been married to Ryan Clark since August 20, 2013. They have two children.

21. Keira Knightley

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

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...

22. Sophie McShera

Actress | Cinderella

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

23. Anna Maxwell Martin

Actress | Becoming Jane

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...

24. 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 ...

25. 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

28. Kelly Reilly

Actress | Flight

Kelly Reilly was born on July 18, 1977 in Surrey, England as Jessica Kelly Siobhán Reilly. She is an actress and producer, known for Flight (2012), Eden Lake (2008) and Pride & Prejudice (2005). She has been married to Kyle Baugher since 2012.

29. 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: 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 great-uncle was ...

30. 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 ...

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 ...

32. Emma Watson

Actress | The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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,...