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Which British Actors Have the Best American Accents on TV?

Acording to a poll conducted by RadioTimes, (a kind of UK TV Guide) Hugh Laurie of House is the Brit who does the best American accent on TV. In second place is Anna Friel from Pushing Daisies, followed by Michelle Ryan of the ill-fated Bionic Woman. Damian Lewis takes the fourth spot for his work on Band of Brothers, and the stars of The Riches, Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard are at the fifth and sixth spots, respectively.

Who do you think does the best American accents on TV? And who does the worst? For the full list of the top 20 best American accents on TV according to the RadioTimes poll,


  1. Hugh Laurie (House)
  2. Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies)
  3. Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman)
  4. Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers)
  5. Minnie Driver (The Riches)
  6. Eddie Izzard (The Riches)
  7. Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck)
  8. Ian McShane (Deadwood)
  9. Louise Lombard (CSI)
  10. Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace)
  11. Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)
  12. Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica)
  13. Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters)
  14. Dominic West (The Wire)
  15. Lennie James (Jericho)
  16. Sean Maguire (The Class)
  17. Idris Elba (The Wire)
  18. Sophia Myles (Moonlight)
  19. Other
  20. Kevin McKidd (Journeyman)

House photo courtesy of Fox
Pushing Daisies photo copyright 2008 ABC, Inc.

Join The Conversation
teegaall teegaall 7 years
I had no idea Matthew Rhys and Idris Elba were British until I saw their interview clips.
kaleyna kaleyna 8 years
I know the thread is getting cold but I have a new contender for the lsit - Charlie Hunnam on Sons of Anarchy.
kellylouise kellylouise 8 years
Hugh Laurie and Ed Westwick, definitely. I also had no idea Sophia Myles was British, so she must be good at it, too.
larisa5656 larisa5656 9 years
Hugh Laurie won me over in the first season of House, when he faked a British accent. It takes a lot for an actor to be British playing an American pretending to be British. Kudos!
hanncoll hanncoll 9 years
Ewan McGregor used to have a not-so-great American accent, but he's apparently worked at it, because he's much better now...though I still prefer his Scottish accent.
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
I also agree that Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver don't exactly have great American accents. I'm surprised those polled put them so high on the list! Mind you, I think a Southern American accent is a bit more difficult to pull off than the "Standard American" accent (that's the technical acting term for it) that most Brits on TV use.
ldekosky ldekosky 9 years
I think Joely Richardson's accent is absolutely awful, I'm surprised she marked so high!
northofantastic northofantastic 9 years
I had NO idea Hugh Laurie or Anna Friel weren't American until I later saw them speak in interviews. I was shocked. :D
Nitachequita Nitachequita 9 years
Matthew Rhys is #13?!?! I'd put him first or second. Definitely better than Louise, Minnie and Joely, whose accents aren't quite on target.
sunny1intucson sunny1intucson 9 years
hugh laurie's accent is spot on. no hint of british in it.
Susanna Susanna 9 years
Why is Louise Lombard so high up? Her accent used to slip at least once every episode!
LOVErickii LOVErickii 9 years
Hugh and Ed are amazing. i only found out when i watched interviews they did.
Bisque Bisque 9 years
I really was surprised to hear Hugh Laurie's accent when interviewed by Jay Leno I think, he's really good at masking that thick accent. As for Louise Lombard, I don't know, somehow I hear her slip every now and then in CSI.
Evalla Evalla 9 years
My bad -- they missed out. Though come to think of it, the UK just started airing GG, so perhaps they haven't noticed the convincing American accent from Ed Westwick.
Belle17 Belle17 9 years
Eddie Izzard? Is that a joke?! His American accent is terrible IMO! I think Matthew Rhys should be higher up, I had no idea he wasn't American until I saw an interview where he was talking normally with a really thick accent. Anna Friel's is good, every once and awhile she'll saying a word where you can tell she isn't from here but overall really good. And like everyone else said Ed Westwick is also good. They should follow this up by polling Americans on who we think actually sounds like us.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
Hugh Laurie, Anna Friel, Ed Westwick, and Minnie Driver all do great American accents. Eddie Izzard's (Southern) American accent on The Riches is not so good, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, though, I love Eddie Izzard.
lizlee89 lizlee89 9 years
Hugh Laurie and Ed Westwick are the best because not only do they nail the American accent, but they bring so much personality and sarcasm to it. Minnie Driver excells too, not just in The Riches, but in general. Not until 2005 when Phantom of the Opera came out and I saw her on Jay Leno did I realize that the exusitely charming American (or so I thought) comdeian who I had grown up watching (and loving)in Grosse Pointe Blank, Return to Me, and so many others was actually British! I couldn't believe it - but now I know that British actors can do anything - I even read that Ben Barnes, the actor who played Prince Caspian in the new Chronicles of Narnia with a more than convincing (and very sexy) Spanish accent, is also British! All, I know is, if it weren't for masters like Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep, the British (and many other foreign artists) would rule Hollywood and the movies...
bsglrok132 bsglrok132 9 years
I had no idea House was British! And I agree that Ed Westwick is great. I almost don't buy it when he speaks with his real accent because I'm so used to hearing it the other way.
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