The Very Best Of

Best actor from every EIHL city (Part II)

Best TV/movie actor from every EIHL city in England
Greater Manchester’s Robert James-Collier was on a winning team via Downton Abbey for the better part of this decade. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: This is the second half of our series selecting the most successful contemporary actor from each EIHL city. Last week’s look at the cities in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can be found here. All filmography and award information is according to the Internet Movie Database.

Coventry: Alice Lowe
As both co-screenwriter and lead female in 2012’s Sightseers, Lowe made the British Independent Film Awards ballot in both categories. She would win the former, sharing the honor with colleagues Amy Jump and Steve Oram.

Four years later, she was considered for another one of the guild’s acting honors after playing Ruth in Prevenge.

In between, as one of her more mainstream roles, Lowe made a cameo in 2014’s Paddington.

Guildford: Lily Collins
The daughter of music legend Phil Collins first appeared (uncredited) on BBC’s Growing Pains as a toddler. She later started acting in earnest in Los Angeles, where her mother helmed the Beverly Hills Women’s Club.

In her career’s formative years, Collins performed on 90210 and in The Blind Side. She then turned heads as the protagonist in Mirror Mirror, a 2012 adaptation of Snow White, opposite Julia Roberts’ jealous sorceress. Four years after she won a Young Hollywood Award, that project gained her consideration for a Teen Choice Award.

At age 27, Collins worked opposite Warren Beatty in 2016’s Rules Don’t Apply. For her part, she garnered a Golden Globe nomination for best musical- or comedy-film actress. On a smaller scale, the same project yielded a New Hollywood Award in her name.

Most recently, Collins put in four appearances as Fantine on a Les Miserables miniseries. Upcoming roles include that of J.R.R. Tolkien’s wife, Edith Bratt, in the author’s biopic.

Manchester: Robert James-Collier
Since the Storm play in the suburb of Altrincham, this pool extends to all of Greater Manchester. Within that realm, Salford is the most impressive acting hotbed.

On this continent, James-Collier may be best known as part of the five-time Screen Actors’ Guild-nominated ensemble on Downton Abbey. The cast took home the prize in 2013 and 2015.

Before that, James-Collier stood out in his homeland during a stint on Coronation Street. Set in his native metropolis, the 58-year-old soap opera cast him as Liam Connor from 2006 to 2008. He won a British Soap Award after each of his three seasons, culminating in the distinction of best exit.

Milton Keynes: Emily Bergl
After spending most of her upbringing in Illinois, Bergl broke into show business the year she turned 24. Her first film role, in The Rage: Carrie 2, garnered consideration for a 2000 Saturn Award. Three years later, the sci-fi/fantasy/horror guild put her back on its ballot for the miniseries, Taken.

Alhough she has yet to hug any hardware, Bergl has since carved a niche as an in-demand guest performer. She made a smattering of appearances on Gilmore Girls early in her career, then returned for the reboot.

Among the laundry items on her one-off list, recent examples include Elementary, Law & Order: SVU and Scandal. In between, she enjoyed another recurring part in the fourth and fifth seasons of Shameless.

Nottingham: Samantha Morton
Fellow Nottingham native Lennie James has won an OFTA and earned Fangoria Chainsaw and Gold Derby nominations for his part on The Walking Dead. This coming season, Morton will bring her ornate resume to the AMC series as Alpha.

How ornate is that resume of hers? Morton’s portrayal of Myra Hindley in the 2006 film, Longford, won her a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. The latter came in 2010, making her third nomination the charm at her nation’s premier award show.

Before and since, Morton has garnered one other Golden Globe nod plus one Emmy nomination and two Oscar candidacies. In addition, she won a 2003 Saturn for playing Agatha Lively in Minority Report.

Sheffield: Dominic West
Michael Palin has had a legendary career with Monty Python and beyond, but is past his peak. At the other end, Elizabeth Henstridge shows promise, but is still up-and-coming at this point.

With that said, Sheffield has strong representation in the here and how, and West typifies that. Since 2012 alone, he has been nominated for a pair of Golden Globes and BAFTAs, all for a different role.

At home, he prevailed as a leading actor for his part in the 2011 miniseries, Appropriate Adult. That same year, another miniseries, The Hour, yielded consideration in the same category at the subsequent Golden Globes.

He nearly won another BAFTA for another leading role, that of Richard Burton in Burton and Taylor. The next year he returned to the Golden Globes for his part on The Affair.

West’s mainstream career arguably took flight via Chicago, which fetched five ensemble nominations, including a SAG victory. He has long since branched out to embolden his individual name and Sheffield’s rich acting roots.

On that note, an honorable mention is in order for Sean Bean. This year the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones veteran won his first BAFTA for Broken.

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Al Daniel

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