10 Roles Where Hugh Laurie Calls on His Native English Accent
If you were introduced to Hugh Laurie in the title role of the medical drama House (2004-2012), then you may have initially assumed he was American. But, spoiler alert, he is... not.
Laurie was born and raised in Oxford, England. And from there, went onto Eton College, followed by Cambridge University, where he met friend and future collaborator Stephen Fry.
While we highly enjoy him as the brilliant, yet precocious, Dr. Gregory House, let's put a spotlight on some of his (very British) standout roles:
1. Alfresco (1983-1984)
Speaking of Fry, Laurie and his university chum came up with a comedy variety show called Alfresco. The series spoofs pop culture from the 1980s. You can also look for other familiar faces like Emma Thompson, Ben Elton, Siobhan Redmond and Robbie Coltrane. It was one of the first times a sketch comedy series was shot on location versus in a studio. The Guardian describes the series as having a "joyful, post-Python 'anything goes' spirit."
2. Blackadder II (1986)
The historical comedy Blackadder kicked off in 1982, with Rowan Atkinson in the lead as Edmund, Lord Blackadder. Laurie joined the cast for the follow-up series Blackadder II. He also returned for Blackadder the Third in 1987 and Blackadder Goes Fourth in 1989. You can look for the TV shorts Blackadder: The Cavalier Years and Blackadder's Christmas Carol, both airing in 1988.
3. A Bit of Fry and Laurie (1987-1995)
It appears Fry and Laurie really like working together, as they created yet another sketch comedy series, naming it... after themselves. The two wrote and starred in the series, coming up with memorable characters like the sketch where they both play hard-drinking, loud-talking bishops (seen in the clip above). The actors would sometimes break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience.
4. Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1993)
Jeeves and Wooster — yep, you guessed it, starring both Laurie and Fry — is a comedy series set in the 1920s. Laurie takes on the role of Bertram Wooster, who is as much lazy as he is wealthy. His loyal companion and valet Jeeves (Fry) looks out for him, getting him out of trouble when needed.
5. The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
In 1998, Laurie jumped up onto the big screen, joining Leonardo DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask. DiCaprio portrays King Louis XIV of France, who has imprisoned his twin brother (also played by DiCaprio), keeping him a secret from the rest of the kingdom. Laurie takes on the role of the King's advisor. If you're worried about Louis' brother, the four musketeers are on hand to look out for him, played by Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu and Gabriel Byrne.
6. Friends (1998)
Remember that time when Laurie popped up on Friends? If not, we have a clip of the scene above. It's the episode when Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) impulsively hops on a plane to meet-up with Monica and the gang in London. She plans to tell Ross (David Schwimmer) that she loves him. We should mention, Ross is about to get married.
Laurie's character gets stuck sitting next to an overly-excited Rachel and gets an earful. He very honestly, and bluntly, tells her, "I just want to say... you... are a horrible, horrible person." And then he's the one to give her an earful about ruining the potentially happiest day of Ross's life.
7. Fortysomething (2003)
In 2003, Laurie teamed up with Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral) for the family comedy Fortysomething. The two play a married couple with three rambunctious sons, who all have sex on the brain. The parents seem to be thinking about sex a lot too, and the fact that they're not having any. Laurie's character is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis. His wife tries to be accommodating, but she has worries of her own.
8. The Night Manager (2016)
In 2016, Laurie joined the AMC family, starring in the TV adaptation of John le Carré's The Night Manager. Laurie takes on the role of Richard Roper, a very wanted and very dangerous arms dealer. When making a pit stop at a high-profile hotel in the Swiss alps, Roper crosses paths with a former British solider (Tom Hiddleston), now hotel staffer, who is recruited to infiltrate Roper's inner circle. You can also look for Anglo favorite Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, The Favourite).
9. The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)
Just last year, Laurie starred in the big screen adaptation of Charles Dickens' The Personal History of David Copperfield, directed by Armando Iannucci. The story is deemed fiction, but has autobiographical elements, revolving around an orphaned boy who strives to become a success as an adult (Dev Patel). Laurie takes on the role of a man named Mr. Dick, who suffered childhood trauma and still struggles with the long-lasting impacts of abuse. He and Copperfield become close friends, which helps Mr. Dick in his daily life.
Laurie and Iannucci worked together previously on the political comedy Veep. And just recently, the two collaborated on Avenue 5 (2020), where Laurie plays a captain of a space cruise ship.
10. Roadkill (2020)
And, finally, Laurie has a new project coming out. We can look for him in 2020's Roadkill, premiering on BBC One in the U.K. and PBS in the U.S. We can look for him as a not-so-honest politician named Peter Laurence. According to the description, his personal life is falling apart and he’s caught up in some sort of scandal. But, he shows no remorse and is more interested in pursuing his quest to advance his political career. Laurie stars opposite Helen McRory, who takes on the role of his nemesis PM Dawn Ellison. You can look for the four-part series out later in this year.
If you have a favorite role that isn't mentioned here, can you please add in the comments?