This week’s Mr Feelgood cover star has earned a deserved reputation as one of Britain’s best character actors, bringing an impressive authenticity to every part he plays. Among Daniel Mays’ many notable TV roles include Sergeant Danny Waldron in the award-winning BBC crime procedural Line of Duty, and his latest turn as grieving husband Sydney Jackson in ITV miniseries The Long Shadow, a forensic seven-parter exploring the five-year manhunt for serial killer Peter Sutcliffe. The Essex-born actor’s movie credits include Atonement with director Joe Wright, The Adventures of Tintin helmed by Steven Spielberg, and 1917 with Sam Mendes. In our interview he describes what he’s learned from working with these legendary filmmakers.
Toby Jones also appears in The Long Shadow as DCS Dennis Hoban, the detective who initially led the investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper’s killings. Across the last three decades, the Londoner has appeared in TV classics from Doctor Who to Sherlock. And his filmography makes for similarly impressive reading, with roles in more than 80 movies including The Hunger Games, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and as the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter films.
Thanks to his powerhouse performance as media mogul Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession, the whole world now knows about Brian Cox’s formidable talent. The Scotsman recently noted how the relative anonymity of a career spent primarily on stage, or as a character actor on TV and film, has been blown apart by the iconic role — turning him into a very reluctant superstar. But he remains a character actor at heart.
Imelda Staunton embraces the label ‘character actor’, and believes that Brits’ theater background is what helps them stand out in a wide range of unusual and interesting roles. Staunton trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, before earning a series of awards for her work on stage. Among dozens of notable TV roles is her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown on Netflix. And a highlight of her film work was playing the title role in Mike Leigh’s 2004 film Vera Drake (alongside Daniel Mays) for which she earned an Oscar nomination.