Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A golden age of hot British actors?

Ladies, it's time to slap on the water wings and adjust the snorkel because we're diving into the shallow end of the pool today. Gentlemen, you may wish to avert your eyes or pick up your Maxim because there's going to be talk of sexy men shortly...and it's not going to be pretty.

Data has been piling up lately. You've seen it on your televisions and in your movie theaters and tucked away in the pages of your People magazines and US Weeklies. The question is out there, just waiting to be answered. And I believe we're the ones best qualified to tackle this difficult subject:

Are British male actors getting hotter or is my eyesight just getting better?

Let's look at the evidence chronologically. In the 1930s and 1940s, we had Cary Grant, the standard bearer of British male pulchritude:

In the 1960s, we had Sean Connery and Michael Caine -- and let's face it, the standards got a little bit lower:


In the 1980s, we started doing a bit better with Julian Sands:

Things started rolling nicely in the 1990s with the likes of Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson:


And then, holy hell, the new millennium dawns, the dam of British hotness breaks and suddenly they're everywhere! There's Daniel Craig...

and Orlando Bloom...

and Gerard Butler...

and Henry Ian Cusick...

and David Tennent...

And dozens more. Besides the actors, even that old "unattractive inbred royalty" thing has been busted:

In fact, hot British men have become so ubiquitous, we even have them filling in as hot American men. To wit, there's him:

...and him

...and him

Ladies, this is but a small sampling -- and I'm not even bringing Australians into the equation!* I'm no kind of scientist, but I'd say the facts -- and the photographic evidence -- speak for themselves.

What do you think? Are we in the Golden Age of Hot British Actors? And if so, what did we do to deserve this and can we do it again, please?

* ETA: Except I did, just there, with Simon Baker who I totally didn't realize was Australian. Oops. He's too cute to dock from the list though....

47 comments:

crone51 said...

Oh My. This is a lovely way to start my day. Yum.

Liz said...

If you think this post was just an excuse to post pictures of attractive British men, well, then, you'd be right! :)

Amanda said...

Sean Connery in his day is more attractive to me than any other man on the list (not that they aren't also attractive).

Also Prince William is sort of gross and pasty and balding.

Jen said...

No excuses necessary :) This could practically be its own blog. I'd read it!

Anonymous said...

How could you possibly overlook Jude Law? : ) David Bowie? And heck, let's throw in an Irishman, Jonathan Rhys-Myers.

Yes, it does seem like the guys from across the pond are better-looking than guys in the US (the actors, anyway, LOL). Part of it also may be due to their being generally more witty and charming than American men. David Tennant is certainly nice to look at, but it's the intelligence, talent, and personality that really light him up from the inside.

Stephanie said...

Mine is not to reason why. I will not ask questions. I will just gladly accept this gift from the universe.

Bakerloo said...

Hot British chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey.

Also, please let's not pass over the Clive Owen, the Colin Firth, the Simon Pegg....

Jess (fushmush) said...

um, you are brining Australians into the equation. Simon Baker is Australia... maybe I'm missing something.

Liz said...

Anonymous, I think you're right about the personality thing. It adds enormously to the equation. Definitely for Tennant, as I just heard a radio interview with him where they invited him to be part of their annual nativity play and he asked if he could be Baby Jesus. That, right there, earns huge personality bonus points.

Liz said...

Jess, thank you so much for making that catch. I thought I'd checked the virtual passports of all the guys mentioned but I totally botched that one. I'll have to fix it.

Liz said...

Bakerloo, there were so many good ones to choose from! (I too love Ramsey, that foul-mouthed, hand-gesturing crazy man.) I was afraid to overload the system with too many pretty pictures! :)

grace said...

Two words:

Clive. Owen.

Yeah. I'd say were in the heyday.

Kathe said...

Speechless from all the drool...can't type any longer...sssiiiggghhh................................

Oh - please add Jason Statham! :)

eightk said...

Word, word, a thousand times WORD. I agree with all of those suggested in the comments and beg to include: Dylan Moran, Alan Rickman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christian Bale, Christopher Eccleston, and Eddie Izzard.

crone51 said...

and if you are throwing in the random Australian you must mention Hugh Jackman. And post a nude picture if possible.

RedCochina said...

Yes, please add Alan Rickman and Clive Owen to the list. Just thinking of their voices makes me want to quit work early and spend time alone watching Die Hard or Inside Man...

Have you seen RocknRolla? Not sure if it's still in theaters but it stars Gerard Butler and another delectable Brit, Tom Hardy. Sooooooo hot.... *drool*

setagel said...

Ooh ooh, Clive Owen! Christian Bale! Tom Hardy!

Let's add Damian Lewis and JJ Feild and absolutely positively Kevin McKidd while we're at it.

Then, when we wander afield, let's include Canadians, eh? Like Patrick Stewart. I don't care that he could be my grandfather.

Yum.

Michele said...

Ahem! I vote for Bill Nighy, Anthony Stewart Head, Sir Derek Jacobi and Matthew Macfayden (whom I hadn't really registered until I started watching Little Dorrit - and I'd love to see him play Doctor Eleven please Mr Moffat!)

And yes, I do know that most of those men are not particularly young but so what?! Age does not wither them, nor the years condemn...

Elimare said...

LMAO, this post (and comments) has made my day.

I have to admit to having a wee bit of a crush on Phllip 'Gene Hunt' Glenister... yummmm...

Dana Detrick-Clark from Serious Vanity Music said...

What a post! I almost hate to add anything, but I'd have to stick Sean Bean in there, though I'll go against type and leave out his LOTR role and instead opt for Bond-villain-in-Goldeneye and Sharpe's Company-era Bean.

TinyFrenchStudio said...

As long as we're flexing the term "british" out to all of the UK, since you've already got some Scott, why not Ewan? Also, I think that Ioan Gruffudd and Richard Armitage are quite huggable, in that superficial way.

Incidentally, baby Jesus was my first theatrical role. Very boring - they don't let you talk, even if you're three and (if I may say so myself) adorable. What a waste to have David Tennant about and *not* talking.

@Setagel: he evidently doesn't care if he's old enough to be your grandfather either.

molly said...

Benedict Cumberbatch..... Pretty and a name that is fun to say over and over.... oh yeah!

Jadielady said...

You left out all the Torchwood babes!!!! John Barrowman even plays an American :)
And Simon Pegg, and Alan Rickman, *starts losing track of where I was going*

agent57 said...

I really can't say with any authority, since pretty much just the accent equals hotness to me. I've been attracted to some probably really unattractive British actors lately... but I guess then you have to work out what your personal idea of what hot is. I always think I've got it figured out, and then I stumble upon someone else who completely ruins my definition.

Also, I vote that we have a secret expanded Hot British[/Australian] Man page, along the lines of the secret Doctor page... with more pictures! Seriously, you worry that pictures will anger us?

Hahaha, Elimare.. me too! It gives me some guilt because Gene is such a horrible bastard. A horrible, magnificent bastard. Have you seen Cranford?

only a movie said...

Daniel Craig stops me in my tracks. I'm silly, it's a ridiculous middle aged thing I'm going through.
Nice job on adding Desmond - my fave Lost character. And that Gerald Butler. Yes, indeed.
I'm also voting to add Alan Richman.
Thanks for the eye candy.

Liz said...

Molly, seriously, Benedict Cumberbatch is the greatest actor name ever. I don't care if he looked like Phyllis Diller, I'd still think he's hot with a name like that.

Liz said...

Hey everyone, thank you so much for all of these awesome guy suggestions. There's so many good choices out there. Seriously, I'm thinking of starting an "Oggling British Men" blog. Like Daily Puppy but with dudes with great accents.

Kathy said...

mmmmmm thank you :)

agent57 said...

You would have to have at least weekly audio/video posts, so we could get the full effect of the accented-ness.

I think it's an excellent idea.

suburban housefrau said...

Patrick Stewart Canadian?!?!? egads, he's from Yorkshire!

mmmmm

Liz said...

Agent57, the audio is an excellent idea. Hmmm....

For the David Tennant fans out there, have you seen this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMqAb98AtIQ

Le rowr.

Ilana said...

Hey! Did anyone notice that the men started in suits, then became more and more scantily until Daniel Craig, then slowly go back to suits?

Anonymous said...

i would also like to add Dominic West who played Jimmy McNolty on The Wire

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I should have added the very delectible John Simm (Life on Mars, State of Play, Dr. Who), who has that whole cuddly teddy-bear thing going on, as well as lovely green eyes and a simply **gorgeous** voice, too--he sings as well, le sigh.

And Michael Sheen! The sexiest werewolf EVER (sorry, Oz!) in the Underworld movies, and an utterly charming Tony Blair in the Queen, and he's getting terrific advance press for the upcoming Frost/ Nixon. He is seriously my dream pick to play the Eleventh Doctor. Must concentrate on sending psychic messages to The Moff!!

Can we nominate Johnny Depp as an honorary Brit?

crone51 said...

Ok Liz. I have watched that video. I have pulled myself up from the floor and and am attempting to type...
...it is quite warm in here.

And oh, Michael Sheen was tremendous in The Queen- I am very much looking forward to the Frost/Nixon film.

Liz said...

Crone51, that video is quite, ah, mesmerizing, isn't it?

And Nathan will definitely top my list of Canadians. Of course, at the moment, I can only think of Dave Foley to add to the rest of the list so it may be more of a ceremonial first place, but it'll be first nonetheless.

And I quite like Michael Sheen as well. He'd make a great Doctor!

setagel said...

@Suburban Hausfrau- OMG, Patrick Stewart isn't Canadian! I can't honestly remember how I came to think he was... Maybe something from when he starred in the movie "Dune" with all those other Canadians.

I also would like to add a vote for Ralph Fiennes, whom we have all overlooked. *sigh*

Liz said...

Poor Ralph Fiennes, he did such an amazing job of being creepy and horrifying in Schindler's List that I've never, ever been able to find him attractive. On a purely rational level, though, I can see how he should be added to Hot Guy Posse.

Camera Obscura said...

Okay, Liz, if Ralph weirds you out, mebbe you go for brother Joe?

I'm all up for a blog w/ a Brit / UK / Commonwealth Hunk-of-the-Day / Week. As long as we get to stretch the definition of "hunk" from "conventionally pretty" to "damned sexy, even if not in a plastic, Hollywood sense." Y'know, I don't see a damned thing wrong with calling Michael Caine sexy. *gives you the wary eye* And like Elimare, I have a serious thing for Phil Glenister.

Can we add Kevin R. McNally to the list? He doesn't really look like he did in PoC. And then if Tu£sday ever gets released on this side of the Pond, we can have a Simm / Glenister / McNally triple-treat celebration!

foreverastudent said...

This list (and most of the suggestions above) is the reason I will never be allowed to travel to the UK without my husband. I can't be trusted.

Elimare said...

Heh, glad to see I'm not the only one on the Gene Genie wagon. ;)

I was going to suggest Dom 'McNulty' West as well, and did someone already say Jamie Bamber?

Liz that vid from 'Blackpool' just slayed me.

Camera Obscura said...

Elimare, and all other Blackpool lovers --

Ready for a repeat pair-up this Christmas?

Oh, and do we have David Morrissey on our list? He definitely needs to be there. *nodnod*

Becka said...

Just a little fyi... its Gerard Butler, not Gerald :)

Liz said...

Becka, thanks for finding that typo! My brain knew it was Gerard, but my typing fingers disagreed. :)

Elimare said...

If nothing else this gives you fodder for the next two years of 'geek man of the month' :)

Aimless_Cynic said...

OMG! I have a huge thing for both British and Australian actors. I like some of the actors listed but the one I like more is Tom Hardy. That man just drives me crazy. I literally have to stop and take a break from watching movies he's in because I can't handle all that hottness at once. Sorry. I had to get that all out. Also adding to the Australian list: Ryan Kwanten and Alex O'Loughlin. Those two are super hot too. I feel like such a freaky nerdy girl. ^_^

Bethen said...

Wow, I actually didn't realise but compared to other countries American guys seem to be getting less hot... or the rest of the guys in the world are just getting hotter!

I have to admit though, there are still some quality Americans, but my 2 favourites are both british (Nicholas Hoult and Alex Pettyfer), and I wouldn't mind an aussie boy anyday (of course I'm not biased!)...

Anyway, great post!