Top 10 contemporary underrated Actors and Actresses

I have decided to compile a list of actors and actresses whom I feel are very underrated. Now many of these performers I am sure you will recognize from somewhere, not perhaps by name, but you will have probably seen them in something, you’re favourite show, in a big film, hear their voice in a video game or you might even just have seen them in an advert.

Point is however none of them are what you would call household names and I feel that all of them deserve much more recognition than they currently have.

Its always nice when there is an actor you spend years as a fan of who suddenly lands their big breakthrough role and becomes a huge star. Naomie Harris was one such example. I had been a big fan of hers for years before she landed her role as Money Penny in “Skyfall” which has obviously seen her profile rise.

I only hope the same happens for all of the performers in this list. Many of them have already landed a big role in a prominent series and even have devoted fanbases, but obviously again among the general public they are still somewhat overlooked.

10/ Natalie Gumede

Natalie’s biggest role to date was as Kirsty Soames in Coronation Street. She has popped up in a few other things including the most recent Christmas special of Doctor Who “Last Christmas” and a recent episode of “Death in Paradise”.

She also took part in a series of Strictly Come Dancing as well.

Her star does seem to be on the rise, so I wasn’t sure about including her here, but still I think she could easily play a leading role in a series, rather than just prominent guest appearances.

She is a very versatile actress. This can be seen in her role as Kirsty alone. Kirsty I found to be one of the best villains in Coronation Street .

She was a somewhat more nuanced character who was genuinely damaged and scarred from her traumatic childhood where her father used to beat both her and her mother. The audience could and did have sympathy for her many times. However at the same time she was an abusive, violent, controlling sociopath who destroyed her boyfriends entire life and many of the scenes where she abused Tyronne including beating him to the floor, crushing his hand in a door, smacking him across the face with a spoon were among the most disturbing moments ever seen in the soap.

Gumede like all truly talented actors is able to make us feel a mix of different emotions through the character of Kirsty even within the same scene. One such moment is when she attacks her lover and smashes all of his belongings including a picture of Jack Duckworth, a man with whom he was very close, even when he begs her not to.

This scene is so intense thanks to Gumede’s performance. On the one hand yes it does make you hate Kirsty, as she destroys the person closest to hers belongings. However at the same time you can’t help but pity Kirsty because Gumede doesn’t just make her a raving lunatic. She makes the character seem more distressed in these moments than genuinely angry. You just wish she would stop not only for his sake, but her own as she is destroying the one chance at happiness she has simply because she can’t get over her own traumatic past. She is her own worst enemy. Its a truly heartbreaking moment all around, and its really thanks to Gumede’s performance that you look on Kirsty this way rather than just an out and out villain which she could easily be.

There are so many different types of roles Gumede could play. Obviously she makes a great villain, but she definitely has the charisma and screen presence for a strong heroic role too.

9/ Damien Molony

Now Molony is most famous for playing the Vampire Hal in the BBC three series “Being Human”. He was a main character in seasons 4 and 5. Sadly this has been Molony’s only major role so far on television. Though it should be noted he is at the very beginning of his career, and he has already landed a leading role on a major cult series. Perhaps he is not so underrated after all!

Still I would like to see Molony in more major roles. I actually preferred him to Aidan Turner who played the previous Vampire lead in the series and has since gone on to star in “The Hobbit” film series. I do like Aidan Turner don’t get me wrong, and I am glad that he has landed such a big role. Still I would also like to see Molony land bigger parts too.

Molony would make a great Doctor Who in my opinion. He has a natural eccentricity and larger than life presence that is needed for the Doctor.

Molony was actually rumored for the role of the 12th Doctor, and he was actually my favorite to win the role until Capaldi was announced.

Capaldi was definitely the way to go after Matt. Molony would have just been another weird and cooky young guy like Matt. I am not saying that I want Capaldi to leave any time soon either. I love Capaldi and I hope he stays on for 5 years. 3 years is in my opinion too short and I think its a shame that that has become the standard run for the Doctor. I hope Capaldi breaks it and we get 5 years of 12. 7 years like Tom is too long for any actor (even Tom!), but 5 I’d say is exactly right.

However whilst I am in no hurry to see Capaldi relinquish control of the TARDIS, it must be said that Doctor Who is definitely a role that Molony would be excellent in and I hope he is cast after Capaldi as 13.

8/ Phil Davis

I have actually only seen this actor in one thing. His role as Captain Hatch/The Devil in Being Human. Still it was such a brilliant performance that it was enough for him to make this list. Hatch is arguably the most loathsome and repulsive villain in the whole series. He is old, wretched, his teeth are rotting, he stinks and he enjoys torturing people and talking them into killing themselves. He is absolutely vile in every way and Davies is superb in the role, he really brings a lot of menace and repugnance to the character. I’d cast him as a villain in anything.

Here he is in action.

7/ Katie McGrath

Now this talented actress is most famous for her role as Morganna in the BBC series Merlin. Since then she has appeared in quite a few big productions. She even has a small role in the upcoming Jurassic World.

Still I think Katie could easily become a leading lady. She has a brilliant, captivating presence and stunning good looks. She is one of these people who is so beautiful she looks like she literally walked off of a comic book page.

She could easily play a role like Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, She Hulk (think of how excellent a She Hulk she would be!).

The fact that she is landing more roles in American productions gives me hope that she might land a major role soon.

The character of Morganna was not that well written, but McGrath really brought her to life in such an excellent way that she remains one of my favorite female villains.

6/ Christopher Heyerdahl

This talented actor has so far had a few prominent roles in some genre series, most notably as Alistair in Supernatural. Christopher for me is the perfect villain actor. His performances as Alistair was deeply chilling and unnerving. Whilst I am sure he could play many roles, I think he would be the ultimate villain actor and deserves higher profile badguy roles. Imagine him as a Marvel Cinematic Universe badguy, or a really crazy, sadistic Bond Villain or a terrifying Doctor Who alien. Its annoying how underused this guy is.

Even when he is the one being tortured he is still the scariest guy in the room.

5/ Jason Watkins

Now this character actor has had a very successful career on television and in theatre. Arguably his most famous role is as the Vampire and villain Herrick in Being Human. Though he has had a very steady career I don’t think he has gotten the recognition he is due yet. Also sadly he is often wasted such as in Doctor Who where he played the most minor of roles in Neil Gaiman’s ” Nightmare in Silver”. He should have been a main villain without doubt.

Watkins benefits from having a very strong, commanding and clear voice. Like many character actors he is probably better suited to villains, though he has also had success in more sympathetic roles too such as Christopher Jeffries. I could definitely see him in either a leading sympathetic or villainous role.

4/ Zawe Ashton

This talented actress has proven herself adept at both comedy and serious drama. Her favorite role of mine is Journey Blue in the Doctor Who episode “Into the Dalek”. She is able to really make any role regardless of how small it is memorable. Personally I would love to see her return to Doctor Who as I think she managed to create a very memorable character in Journey Blue who played well off of Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor.

3/ Pippa Bennett-Warner

This versatile young actress has sadly so far only really landed a few guest roles on a number of television series. Though she has still appeared in quite a few big series including “Death in Paradise” and “Doctor Who” in the episode “Time Heist”  as Saibra.

Whilst she seems to be establishing herself as quite a reliable character actress I think she could easily do a lot more. I could definitely see her as a regular in a series. Still its early days yet in her career and I hope to see a lot more of her in the years to come.

2/ Ingrid Oliver

Ingrid Oliver is both an actress and a comedienne. She is part of a comedy double act “Watson and Oliver” alongside her friend, the talented Lorna Watson. However she has also branched out and taken on more serious dramatic roles with arguably her most prominent being as the lovable Doctor fan girl Osgood in Doctor Who.

Oliver is definitely one of the most versatile actors on this list. There is virtually no part she can’t play. Just take a look at the videos below and you’ll see how she can do everything from a wimpy, crying damsel in distress to a butch, tomboy rapist to a shallow valley girl.

There is virtually no limit to the roles she can play. She looks like a completely different person in each of her different roles.

Following her performance in Doctor Who Oliver has received a lot more attention.

I am amazed that it has taken her so long to be honest as she really has everything going for her. She is versatile, gorgeous and has an absolutely lovely voice. Her accent is strong, but not overbearing, she is a very clear speaker and her voice is strong too.

However I still think she is a little bit underrated as I feel there are far more parts that she could play.

I was really annoyed when Steven Moffat killed her character off in the story “Dark Water/Death in Heaven”.

The role that I would most like to see Ingrid play is She Hulk. Now She Hulk is one of my favorite Comic Book characters and I would love to see her be made part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ingrid to me would just be the best possible choice for the role. She could play She Hulk’s human alter ego Jennifer Walters who is portrayed as a more shy, timid, geeky, character like Osgood brilliantly, however at the same time she could definitely play the harder, confident, strong willed, tomboy She Hulk just as well.

She would even be able to look like both of them and that I think is quite rare. Most actresses you see suggested for the character would only be good for either Jennifer or She Hulk. Either they’d look too small and geeky for She Hulk or too big and muscle bound for Jennifer. Ingrid however much like Christopher Reeve as Superman would be able to switch between the geekier and the more heroic personalities and really look like two totally different people.

Jennifer Walters

She Hulk

I really, really hope someone out there at Marvel casts Ingrid as She Hulk. One of my fave actresses as one of my fave characters would just be too good to be true!

Update: It has been announced that Ingrid Oliver will be returning in TWO stories for the upcoming series of Doctor Who as Osgood. Well don’t I look like a complete and utter moron. Apologies Moffat.

1/ Simon Templeman

Yeah I know big surprise as a follower of my blog Screensage (whose blog I highly recommend!) said I do have a bit of a man crush on Simon Templeman.

To me Templeman is the ultimate villain actor. His rich, strong and posh voice is just ideal for a villain of any kind. Templeman has had a very successful career as a character actor. I covered his career in Cult actors. He is mostly known for his voice work particularly in video games, with among his most prominent voice work being the Vampire Kain in “The Legacy of Kain” series, Loghain Mac in the “Dragon Age Origins” series, and Danik in “Dead Space 3”.

Whilst he has certainly carved out a niche for himself having become the go to guy for video game baddies, this guy seriously deserves to be a villain in something major. A comic book villain, a Bond villain, think of how awesome he would be in those types of roles! I would have loved to have seen him voice Smaug in “The Hobbit film series” Cumberbatch was good, but Simon’s voice coming through the Dragon would have just been glorious.

Here is the great man in action

The other big role I’d like to see Templeman play is that of his signature role Kain on the big screen. I really don’t know why there hasn’t at least been an animated series based on The Legacy of Kain franchise never  mind a film. Its such as excellent, complex and fascinating story its just waiting to be told on the big screen. With the way Vampires are being stripped of all their menace, just think how awesome Templemans Kain would be on the big screen!

Still at the very least there have been some fan edits of all the cut scenes and gameplay of the games in the series that have been pieced together as films on youtube which might give you some idea of what a film version of Kain would be like.

Simon Templeman is in my opinion one of the most underrated actors of all time. Whenever you see him you think “why hasn’t this guy been a Bond villain, or Dracula or The Master in Doctor Who?” Still at the very least through his many video game roles he has developed a very devoted cult following, but still I say the guy should be in way more things and the two roles I want to see him in more than any other are a big screen version of Kain and the Master in Doctor Who.

11 thoughts on “Top 10 contemporary underrated Actors and Actresses

  1. Burrunjor–

    Thank you for the run down! The actors I had seen, I was pleased to learn more of, and for the few I wasn’t familiar with at all, I’ll need to hunt down some more examples. You’ve got good taste.

    I appreciate that you pulled from many genre sources, not just mainstream roles.



      • Burrunjor–

        You had several from Doctor Who, actually, five of them. And I’m with you on Templeman! A very different direction from Gomez, and a much richer one, I think. I had seen Malony and McGrath, although I didn’t know their names. It would have been a different Series 8 indeed if they had gone with Malony and not Capaldi. He might be right in the future, though, post-Capaldi.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry I can’t reply directly again UGH. That’s part of what has bugged me the most about the last year of Doctor Who. A bad year I can hack. Hell normally I don’t give a toss, but its the wasted potential. I really do think that story with Missy as the time lord version of Clara from NOTD regenerated into a new form downloading the souls of the people 12 failed to save and even had to kill like the half face man into a virtual heaven she had created with the Matrix. That would have been a great twist, and it would have been an excellent sequel to the Impossible Girl arc from series 7 and it would have been a great twist that for once the villain though they were helping the Doctor.

    Added to that the potential of Osgood as a character and Ingrid Oliver as an actress to develop that character was tossed aside for the stupidest of reasons. UGH.

    And finally the Masters return was ruined by a complete miscast. The Master has been away for almost 5 years. Imagine if he came back as Simon Templeman next year. Its too predictable to bring him back in the first year anyway.

    Imagine if it was Templeman next year when people wouldn’t be expecting it and if he was written like the Master a calm, restrained and dignified genius. Imagine him and Capaldi on the screen together.

    You’d have The Doctor in his gruff Scots accent and the Master in his posh, refined voice it would be a brilliant contrast.

    I am so annoyed with Capaldi’s first year for squandering that potential, which is why its probably the year that bugs me the most in Who’s 51 year history. Its not the worst, but just the most wasted.

    Its funny I think fandom has ruined Doctor Who in some ways. Fandom was always a thing of course, but its become too overbearing in some ways. I mean look at the way Moffat has been called a misogynist homophobe etc. New Who now feels like its written for fans. It feels like its written so that it can trend on Twitter like Missy’s reveal and Osgood’s death. Both of those moments IMO are just designed to get fans going “OH MY GOD!” on twitter or do a reaction video on Youtube rather than because they have any real purpose.

    Again sorry to go on a rant about this AGAIN obviously I just feel strongly about it, and I am so annoyed Templeman wasn’t given the role of the Master.

    I said to him on Twitter actually that he should be the Master and he got back to me saying thanks, and that he loved Doctor Who. He even remembered the fact that they showed William Hartnells first episode twice!

    Its even more annoying to think he would have done it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Burrunjor–

    I love the idea of having made Missy, Clara. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.

    How interesting that you feel this season has the most wasted potential of the entire series! That’s a pretty bold statement. More so than the criminal under use of Nissa for her entire tenure? Or the 5th Doctor in general, for that matter? Or the loss of Liz Shaw so early in the 3rd Doctor’s run? Or the cancellation of McCoy and Classic Who, driven to the ground in large part by Turner and not the talent of the creative team? (Okay, okay, I’m baiting you with the last one–but my point is that you’re making an awfully big claim.)

    I enjoy strong opinions, by the way, so I’m not complaining. Just shaking the structure to see if it stands.

    Yes, Templeman would be brilliant, and I wouldn’t discount him from the running in the future. I have a feeling Missy’s days may be over, or at the very least she won’t survive long after Moffat.

    Perceptive, about fandom’s double-edged sword. There’s a reason I don’t venture out into choppier waters, especially with the widespread hatred of my favorite show runner. I think I’d become a bitter old hag after a single day of it. I know what you mean about certain reveals having some kind of sensational aspect to them. I don’t care for that either. On the other hand, without fan interest I doubt we would have had The Night of the Doctor, nor Billie Piper return for the 50th, or even Tom Baker’s small role in the whole affair. Often, surprises in Doctor Who can be good. Not always, and not Missy, but with enough regularity that I don’t resent the powers that be.

    Thanks again for an engaging conversation.



    • No problem. Thank you for the engaging discussion.

      Yes I think this is a bigger waste of potential than the other things you listed.

      It was a shame to see Liz go after one year, but Jo her replacement was excellent so I have no real complaints. Who knows maybe Jo was better. Jo was kind of a prototype for Rose in some ways. She was not academic by any stretch of the imagination, but she was still smart and brave. She never gave up even when things looked beyond hope like in Planet of the Daleks and that was actually at that point a more fresh dynamic than Liz who was kind of another genius companion like Vicki or Zoe her immediate predecessor.

      Nyssa I am not sure was ever that great a companion. I know she was in the audios, brilliant in the audios, but that’s different that’s years later when she is on her own, which she never was in the show. She always had to share the screen with two other companions.

      And I am sorry but I do not blame JNT for the cancellation of Doctor Who I did an article about the cancellation of Doctor Who called 6 ways the BBC killed Doctor Who Whilst JNT made mistakes IMO it was the BBC who killed it.

      Yes there was lost potential in it being axed in McCoy’s time but IMO it was lost simply because the show was axed. So its not like you can say the show went in a wrong direction and they didn’t do this right, it was taken out of their hands which was a shame, but that’s not the same thing IMO.

      This last year however its a shame because there were the ingredients there for a great year. They have one of the best Doctors of all, a great pool of supporting characters, the possibility to make the Master a legitimate menace again in the show, but they just tossed it aside and its annoying.

      Yes it can be good to give fans what they want sometimes, but I often find that its the more bullying side of fandom that gets its way.

      Like with Missy. Now obviously I am not saying that anyone who wants a female Doctor is like this. Obviously you are not, you debate reasonably and intelligently, but there are a lot of others who were calling Moffat a sexist and rapist practically for not casting a woman as the Doctor. Seriously!

      At the same time the bullies on the No Female Doctor side were just as loud and obnoxious. Thus I think we got Missy as a compromise to both sides. The No female Doctor bullies don’t get a female Doctor, but the yes Female Doctors bullies get a female time lord and the possibility of a female Doctor and sadly I think that wasted the potential of a great Master comeback and its annoying.

      You are wise to keep out of these fandom things. They can get so worked up calling for Moffat to resign before he has even started LOL and all of these battles between fandoms it can get very tedious and I think because it has become such a huge thing now its affecting lots of shows.

      Like Supernatural. Its a show that has been completely destroyed by its fandom IMO. They have killed hundreds of characters off before they even get a chance to develop because they don’t like them coming between the brothers, stuck in hundreds of stupid meta episodes just to pander to them.

      I am starting to hate fandom LOL. Sorry to sound grumpy, but its just getting a bit too much now and Moffat to me is one of the writers to suffer from the double edged sword of fandom most of all.

      Anyway glad you agree with me about Templeman. He just seems tailor made for the Master.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Burrunjor–

        I totally agree with your evaluation of Jo–she’s my favorite under sung heroine of Classic Who. I hadn’t made the connection between her and Rose, but you’re right, they have very similar strengths. That improves both of them in my book–Jo picks up the importance to the Doctor, and Rose picks up a bit of credibility.

        I wasn’t trying to argue away from Jo, only to purpose that Liz was very underutilized. She didn’t need to be a Zoe clone. With a little more time, she could have evolved into a much fuller character.

        Nyssa’s a big one to me, and your comment points out why there was wasted potential there. Always being under shadow of brilliant Adric and needy Tegan, Nyssa was fully competent scientifically, well grounded emotionally, and altruistic, and yet they never made her into what she could have been. In the best of all possible worlds, we could have sacrificed either Adric or Tegan earlier to have gotten some character development time for Nyssa.

        I enjoyed your article on the BBC’s culpability in Doctor Who being taken off the air.

        Fandom can really seem like the whole world, but it’s possible to engage fans selectively and largely avoid the madness. Like you and Screensage, for example. Hello! *waves* Nobody here but us chickens. (Referring to a fox in a hen house, not us being afraid of anything.)

        The debate between the pro female Doctor folks and the against a female Doctor folks drives me nutty too, and I’m far away from the frontlines. I think the concept makes me uncomfortable, or at least the baggage on each side. Not with you at all, but often folks on either side of the battle are showing more of their personal prejudices (for and against women, for and against men) than dealing with the implications of gender swapping among Time Lords.

        Please excuse my slow pace in keeping up with your posts, by the way. I’m adjusting to different demands in my schedule and haven’t quite found the balance yet.


        Liked by 1 person

  4. No need to apologize Ilana I am glad anyone responds to my rambling posts never mind someone who is as good a debater as yourself.

    I guess I still see Missy not being Clara as more of wasted potential. Moffat really hit upon an excellent idea with the story of someone creating an artificial afterlife. Its just such a shame it ended up being another dull invasion earth storyline.

    Yeah the female Doctor debate is awful, regardless of whatever side you are on as its completely overshadowing Capaldi’s time in the role. However to be fair its Moffat to blame for that.

    He just will not let it go. He keeps sticking in little bits that make the fandom go “oh my god that means the Doctor can change” and then the people who don’t want it go “oh but he can’t” If he’d just go one year without throwing in a stupid little moment that will cause this to happen like The Corsair, “Man or Woman” in The Night of the Doctor, “I could go back a Queen” in Death in Heaven or Missy then maybe it would die down for now and Capaldi could just be thought of as the current Doctor, rather than having to endure all of this nonsense about who his successor will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Burrunjor–

    Posts where a good thinker is free to ramble are often the best kind.

    I’m with you on the wasted potential of the artificial afterlife premise. It’s sad because the premise is so specific, they’ll never be able to come at it again with a different take on it–such an episode would seem too derivative. Earth invasions are disappointing to me, too. Pertwee kind of did them all. Certainly by the time we made it to the New Who, we didn’t need much in the way of additional invasion story lines.

    Poor Moffat. I swear, the man is going to be hit by the swarming army around him, or else from friendly fire on the sidelines. I don’t think he has many actual defenders, although I would count myself in that dwindling number. Look, if Moffat DIDN’T put in those small hints about where he and his creative team were going, don’t you think there would be rioting in the streets if the day ever came–whether or not he was the show runner at the time–for a female Doctor? While it’s a possibility, he’s pretty well bound to acknowledge that to 1) tame the fans, and 2) pave the way to where the choice must be made.

    If he or someone else in the future reverses this decision, at least they’ll have a finite number of arguments to address. That show runner can say “it was possible for the sisterhood, but not for Time Lords normally,” and “The Queen line was a throw away joke,” and “Missy was a product of a botched job being brought back to life, and the Master’s genetic code was altered as a one-time thing–” the exact excuses are unimportant, but you can see that it would be beneficial for a writer to have to address only a handful of possibilities, rather than the thousands that fans could concoct. So you could argue that he’s doing a favor to anyone who might definitively want to establish that the Doctor can only be male.

    But frankly, I do not think the series is headed in that direction, in which case Moffat is attempting to ease us in rather than dunk us when that regeneration comes around. I don’t know whether he’ll give us anything other than a white male Doctor, and like you, I don’t really care too much. I’m much more concerned with the programs being put out now, as I find Capaldi truly masterful. I would ask you to see the reason behind his putting in those little moments in a positive light. True, he might want a war in the fandom . . . but he’s a fan himself. Do you really think he resents other people who love the show that much? I don’t. He can be evil towards his characters, but that’s dramatic license. I don’t think he’d ever wish an ounce of bad blood between the fans, Who or Sherlock.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think Moffat is doing it to cause fandom wars, but I think he is just laying down the possibility of a female Doctor as he thinks its a good idea and wants t see it happen one day. However in doing so he is unknowingly making sure the argument stays at the forefront which is overshadowing Capaldi’s time on the show.

      The way I see it doesn’t matter if he is laying the ground work for it. Its a contradiction to what we have seen before. So if someone really wants a female Doctor they’ll just do it regardless of whether or not there has been a precedent.

      IMO for Capaldi’s sake the best thing to do is just to leave it all together. Sadly though like I said I don’t think Moff can let this one go and so next year there will probably be more little lines that will be intended by Moffat to pave the way for a female Doctor.

      I’ll go back a Queen was absolutely intended to do that, there’s no doubt about that.


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