Six Roles Featuring Damian Lewis’ British Accent

Damian Lewis staring down The Stig. (BBC America)

Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning actor Damian Lewis (Homeland) kicks off the season premiere of Top Gear tonight (February 4) at 9pm Eastern. We get to see him race, maneuver on black ice and, most importantly, speak in his fancy pants British accent!

He was born and raised in St. John’s Wood, northwest London to be exact, with his grandparents from Wales. Take a listen – how would you describe his accent? He definitely speaks “bloke” and fits right in on the Top Gear couch sitting opposite Jeremy Clarkson.

Here’s a peek at what to expect tonight! It’s a doozy of a course.

There are some Homeland viewers who didn’t even know Lewis was, in fact, British. But then they heard his acceptance speeches from the Emmys and Golden Globes, and all of a sudden fans were asking themselves, “What! Who? He is…?

It takes a moment to sink in. 

Now that you’ve gotten a good feel of his actual accent, check out Lewis performing various roles with various British accents, all of them fabulous.

1. Heart and Bones, 2000-2001
This soapy, Thirtysomething-esque drama — which also featured Sarah Parish, Dervla Kirwan, Amanda Holden, and The Full Monty‘s Hugo Speer — starred a fresh-faced Lewis as a teacher with a troubled young marriage.

2. The Forsyte Saga, 2002-2003
This wasn’t your grandmother’s Forsyte Sage: the modern update of the John Galsworthy novels, which were previously adapted into a heralded 1967 miniseries, featured Lewis as the villainous Soames Forsyte, a man capable of disturbing brutality.

3. Friends and Crocodiles, 2006
Lewis played a sort of British Jay Gatsby — an wealthy, eccentric bon vivant in 1980s Britain — in this Stephen Poliakoff drama that aired on BBC AMERICA. Perhaps Baz Luhrmann was taking notes for his upcoming Gatsby update?

4. The Baker, 2007
Before he wielded a gun in the quirky, short-lived U.S. series Life, Lewis played an assassin who goes into hiding in a small Welsh town and takes up a life as a baker. Yes, it’s a comedy, as evidenced by this memorable love scene.

5. Phineas and Ferb, 2009
Think Mr. Lewis would make a crackin’ 007? Well, at least we know he has the vocal delivery down. He provided voice-over for super-spy Agent Double-00 in this animated series.

6. The Sweeney, 2012
Right after ’80s cop drama 21 Jump Street became a blockbuster film in the U.S., Britain released their update of the popular ’70s crime series The Sweeney, which cast Lewis as a tough detective. Lewis’s appearances in this trailer are blink-and-you-missed-him, but you can see his full performance when the movie is released stateside March 1.

And as a bonus, this:

Damian Lewis does it Gangnam Style

So, do you believe that he’s a Brit now?

Kevin Wicks

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.

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