Critics quickly ran out of superlatives with which to praise State of Play, a tense six-part political thriller from 2003 that begins a run on BBC Americas Dramaville, starting tonight (December 7) at 10/9c. It’s not to be missed, not only for its smartly written portrayal of British politics and the journalists who cover it, but for its astonishing collection of fine UK actors, many of whom had their breakthrough performances on the series. Take a look back at State of Play cast, who they played on the show, and what they’re up to now.
His State of Play character: Intrepid reporter Cal McCaffrey.
What’s he up to now?: After leaping to British TV stardom in two timey-wimey roles – Life on Mars cop Sam Tyler and Doctor Who villain The Master – he most recently appeared (alongside State of Play co-stars Phil Glenister and Marc Warren) in the testosterone-fueled Mad Dogs and as a disaffected journalist alongside Jim Broadbent in Exile.
His State of Play character: Sardonic news editor Cameron Foster.
What’s he’s up to now? What isn’t he up to? After winning a BAFTA for his hilarious turn on State of Play, he appeared in a slew of films including the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He can currently be heard in theaters in the new movie Arthur Christmas. (Rex Features via AP Images)
His State of Play character: Troubled, philandering politician Stephen Collins
What’s he up to now? This year, he appeared in the BBC miniseries South Riding and the Jason Statham thriller Blitz. He was also seen on stage, with a full beard, in London as Macbeth. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/PictureGroup)
Her State of Play character: Quietly fierce crack reporter Della Smith
What’s she up to now? Faking an Irish accent (she’s Scottish) and scoring Emmy nominations as Margaret Schroeder on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
His State of Play character: The wily but talented tabloid upstart Dan Foster
What’s he up to now? The flirtatious sexiness McAvoy displayed in State of Play translated very well to the big screen. His impressive stretch of films in the last eight years – including Last King of Scotland, Wanted, Atonement, and this past summer’s X Men: First Class – solidified him as a go-to young movie star. Most recently, he voiced the title character in Arthur Christmas. (AP)
His State of Play character: Belligerent, intimidating copper DCI Bell
What’s he up to now? He’s played variations on the burly police officer in several of his post-State of Play projects, most notably as Gene Hunt on Life on Mars (alongside State co-star John Simm) and its sequel Ashes To Ashes. This year, he starred in another TV series fraught with political intrigue, BBC’s four-part drama Hidden. (Press Association via AP Images)
His State of Play character: Flamboyantly dressed and uber-sketchy Dominic Foy.
What’s he up to now? After fronting Hustle, the BBC’s hit series about con artists, Warren has appeared in British TV dramas like the darkly comic Mutual Friends and Mad Dogs (with Simm and Glenister). He is currently on stage in London in Cool Hand Luke. (Press Association via AP Images)
Her State of Play character: Stephen Collins’s bitter, betrayed wife Anne.
What’s she up to now? The plummy beauty made a huge international splash as the vicious Atia on HBO’s Rome and later appeared as Clarice on the short-lived Battlestar Galactica sequel, Caprica. Most recently, she played Malcolm McDowell’s assistant in the sixth season premiere of USA’s Psych. (Psych photo via NBC Universal)
Her State of Play character: Stephen Collins’s assistant Greer Thornton
What’s she up to now? A character actress with a vivid face, she turned up as Miss Tomkinson in Cranford (see above) and Denise in Torchwood: Children of Earth. Now you can hear her voice in — you guessed it — Arthur Christmas.
Her State of Play character: Quick-witted Herald reporter Helen Preger
What’s she up to now? As adept in comedy as she is in drama, the Alan Partridge alum followed up State of Play with a role in the very dark sitcom Suburban Shootout, a regular part of Caroline in Ashes To Ashes, and a well-received performance on Broadway in The Norman Conquests (with Jessica Hynes, Ben Miles, and Stephen Mangan). She now plays DCI Gill on the Cagney & Lacey-esque crime drama, Scott & Bailey, starring Suranne “Idris” Jones and Lesley Sharp. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself—he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri—he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.