December 15, 2011

Article by Catherine Lawson Damian Lewis, Eton College And American TV’s Upper-Crust British Invasion

(Extract – for full article please click here.)

Here’s a trivia question that’s bound to stump all but the most accomplished students of high-brow TV: What do Dr. Gregory House, Det. Jimmy McNulty and Sgt. Nicholas Brody all have in common?

Give up? All three of these red-blooded Americans are portrayed by actors who were educated at Eton College, one of the oldest and most venerable training grounds for blue-blooded Brits.

Old Etonian (or, for those in the know, "O.E.") actors have been slumming it on the small screen in the U.S. ever since Patrick MacNee first unfurled his lethal umbrella in "The Avengers." Now, a new crop of alumni — including Tom Hiddleston ("Wallander"), Eddie Redmayne ("The Pillars of the Earth"), Harry Lloyd ("Game of Thrones"), Simon Woods ("Rome") and Max Pirkis ("Rome") — is making it harder than ever to dismiss the school as an incubator for the elite.

Old Etonians who have found fame on U.S. television include Jeremy Brett ("The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"), Christopher Cazenove ("Dynasty") and Charles Shaughnessy ("The Nanny"). But none of those actors achieved the kind of iconic, all-American status now enjoyed by fellow alumni Hugh Laurie, Dominic West and Damian Lewis.

So, who will be the next big acting talent to emerge from Eton’s drama program? One figure to watch is 19-year-old Oxford University undergraduate Henry Faber, who’s already carved out an impressive theatrical resume, including 14 productions from his time at Eton.