The British invasion: U.K. actresses cross the pond for American TV


Whenever I turn on my TV these
days, I get the strange urge to pull a Paul Revere in my living room
and start screaming, “The British are coming! The British are coming!”
Until I realize, oh wait, they’re already here. This season a brigade
of British actresses are breaking out their best American accents to
star in new prime-time shows. Among them are a bionic woman, an undead girl,
a Terminator fighter and a vampire helper. Here’s a look at the U.K. actresses
making time on American TV screens.

I think you’ve already met

Bionic Woman Michelle Ryan and her abs. In the last episode, they put her
real accent to good use undercover as a British exchange student. An
Englishwoman playing an American girl pretending to be a British student?
It was like Victor/Victoria with accents instead of gender.

Another actress who needs no
introduction here is Lena Headey. For Terminator: The Sarah
Connor Chronicles
, she drops her English accent and picks up some big guns. Accent, no accent. Gun, no guns.
I’m not picky: I’ll take my Lena any way I can get her.

On the other hand, I had no
idea the adorable Anna Friel
from Pushing Daisies was British. This is probably because
I had no idea who Anna Friel was, period. I do now, which is officially
reason 3,000,001 I am happy I own a television.

I did recognize Sophia Myles
from Moonlight. But her role in the new vampire drama gave
me pause. Seems she has a thing for the blood suckers. She played
one in Underworld and Underworld: Evolution. She has played
one of their victims in the U.K. TV adaptation of Dracula. And
now she is playing a reporter working with (and falling for) a vampire.
Someone check to see if she has an aversion to garlic and crosses —
I’m starting to worry.

And two more actresses from
across the pond: Anastasia Griffith, Katie from Damages,
and Zuleikha Robinson, from the mid-season replacement
New Amsterdam

So, why all the outsourced
talent this season? And why hire a Brit only to make her talk like a
Yank? And, more important, would any of these lovely ladies read to
me in their original accents? The newspaper, a phonebook, anything —
like I said, I’m not picky.

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