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For a change of pace, we decided we'd have a bit of fun with this post (and several more to come). Starting with the 60+ male division, we'll be featuring the most crush-worthy actors and actresses of British television, then opening it up for a vote at the end of each post.
The only major criteria (aside from age) is that they be actors with extensive and mostly British TV experience. That means Sean Connery is out. If we missed your favorite, let us know in the comments – and don't forget, this is all in good fun. Oh, and they have to be alive to enjoy all the attention we're lavishing on them!
UPDATE: The winner was Michael Kitchen, with John Nettles as a close second.
It's doubtful that John Nettles needs any introduction amongst British TV fans. He's been an enormously popular actor for decades now, playing detective roles in much-loved shows like Midsomer Murders and Bergerac while also winning over theatre purists with his impressive Shakespearean performances. When this 74-year-old isn't acting, you might find him at home with his wife and considerable stable of animals – his household includes cats, chickens, a dog, and a donkey.
- Midsomer Murders – Nettles stars as DCI Tom Barnaby in this British mystery classic. Sadly, he left the series in 2011, but his years on the show are widely considered the best.
- Poldark – Nettles joined the cast of Poldark as Ray Penvenen in 2016, and while we wish he were still on Midsomer, we certainly can't blame him for wanting to spend a bit of time along the Cornish coast.
- Bergerac – Though many know him as Barnaby, Nettles played DS Jim Bergerac long before he moved to the murderous Midsomer region.
- The Liver Birds – John Nettles appeared in a number of episodes of this Liverpool-based single ladies comedy. He played the role of Paul, boyfriend to Nerys Hughes' character Sandra. Mollie Sugden (Are You Being Served?) was the other female lead.
Michael Kitchen is a classically-trained actor who graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts before going on to act consistently for decades before really gaining fame in Foyle's War. Outside of his acting career, this 69-year-old is a keen sailor who's been married since the late 1980s.
- Foyle's War – Kitchen spent more than a decade playing Christopher Foyle, a man determined to do his part on the homefront during WWII.
- The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (requires a region-free DVD player) – In a surprising change of pace after Foyle's War, Kitchen took on the role of John Farrow in this rather strange mockumentary about an aging prog rock star.
- Reckless (requires a region-free DVD player) – While many of Kitchen's older performances aren't available on DVD, you CAN see him act alongside Robson Green in this 1997 miniseries about an awkward sort of love triangle involving a young man, his boss, and his boss' wife.
If you like your men posh, it doesn't get much posher than this 70-year-old Londoner. Aside from the fact that his best-known role was as Lord Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, his real-life daughter is the god-daughter of Princess Anne. His wife since 1971 is famed heiress Georgina Simpson of the Simpsons of Piccadilly department store family. In addition to extensive TV work, he's also an accomplished stage actor. He was also the first choice for Remington Steele, but he turned it down and the role went to Pierce Brosnan.
- The Syndicate – Andrews starred as Lord Hazelwood in this series about what happens when a group of low-paid employees wins the lottery.
- Rosemary & Thyme (S2 E4) – Though it's just a single-episode role, we love Rosemary and Thyme too much not to mention his role in the episode about a teacher harpooned through the heart.
- Brideshead Revisited – Andrews plays the role of Post Sebastian Flyte in this series about two young men of different classes who befriend one another at Oxford.
- Danger UXB – Surprisingly, Andrews is quite convincing as a young WWII soldier in the unexploded bomb unit.
- The Pallisers – Andrews plays the Earl of Silverbridge in several episodes of this period drama based on the Anthony Trollope novel of the same name. (requires a region-free DVD player)
If you've got a thing for Scotsmen, Ralph Riach might be more your cup of tea. Born in Elgin, Scotland you'll frequently hear his native accent. He always seems to be playing Scots. One interesting bit of trivia about Ralph Riach: he didn't actually start acting until he was 45. He'd previously worked as an architectural draughtsman and self-employed upholsterer, and he was the oldest student in his acting class in Glasgow.
- Hamish MacBeth – Riach stars as sidekick and all-around good guy TV John McIver in this lighthearted Scottish Highlands mystery series.
- Mosley – Riach stars as Ramsay MacDonald in this account of British fascist Oswald Mosley's life between WWI and WWII.
- Monarch of the Glen – Don't blink or you'll miss him, but Riach stars in 2 episodes (S2E5 and S1E3) in this classic Highlands drama.
- Dr. Finlay – Mr. Riach plays the role of Dr. Gilmore in this post-WWII Scottish medical drama.
- Chancer – This show stars Clive Owen (not quite old enough to make this list) as a business advisor who tries to help his friends out of financial ruins while also dealing with a past that won't go away. Requires a region-free DVD player.
- Cloud Atlas – Riach plays a smaller role alongside some major Hollywood stars in this epic fantasy.
Prior to becoming an actor, this Isle of Wight-born actor considered a career as a veterinary surgeon. It's probably a good thing he didn't pursue that option, though, because women all over England might have been over-treating their pets in order to get a little face time with Doctor Irons.
Instead, Irons opted to become a classically-trained actor, starting at the Bristol Old Vic School and working stages around England until his leading role in Brideshead Revisited in 1981 established him as a rising heartthrob and romantic lead. Sadly for many ladies around the UK, he's been happily married since 1978.
- The Borgias – Mr. Irons stars in this epic Showtime series about the historic Borgias crime family.
- The Colour of Magic – This fantasy-adventure miniseries is based on Terry Pratchet's Discworld novels, and Jeremy Irons appears in parts 1 and 2 as a patrician.
- Brideshead Revisited – Starring opposite Anthony Andrews, this is perhaps Irons' most well-known role.
- Life on Fire: Wildlife on the Volcano's Edge – Irons narrates this documentary series about creatures that manage to thrive in spite of the ongoing threat of volcanic activity.
- Love for Lydia – Irons plays the role of Alex Sanderson in this 1970s drama about an heiress who enjoys toying with men.
- The Pallisers (requires a region-free DVD player) – Irons appears in 6 episodes of this miniseries based on the Anthony Trollope Palliser novels. It also includes a young Susan Hampshire (Monarch of the Glen) in the lead role of Glencora.
At 60, Peter Capaldi is just barely old enough to find himself on this list. While he's not the most traditional beefcake, this Scottish actor has acquired a surprisingly large female following, even among much younger women – probably due to the Doctor Who factor. Then again, maybe it's because he was once lead singer of a punk rock band called Dreamboys (that also included Craig Ferguson).
- Doctor Who – Peter Capaldi is best known as the 12th doctor, but he also played a small guest role as Caecilius a few years prior to his debut as the main man (err, Timelord).
- The Hour – Capaldi shows up in six episodes of this Cold War-era espionage thriller. (Requires a region-free DVD player)
- The Thick of It – Capaldi played the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in this political comedy.
- The Musketeers – Capaldi played Cardinal Richelieu in this modern-but-not-modern take on the classic Musketeers story.
- Getting On – Capaldi appeared in several episodes of the British version of this dark comedy about life on an NHS geriatric ward.
- Torchwood – Somewhat strangely, he played Jack Frobisher in this Doctor Who spinoff.
- The Vicar of Dibley – Capaldi guest-starred in a couple episodes as Tristan Campbell.
75-year-old Ian McShane is one the many British actors who have successfully made the jump to American film and television. Everything about him screams rogue, rake, villain, or scoundrel – so if you're into bad boys, you'll definitely want to check out his body of work. Don't let the image fool you, though. Like several of the others on this list, McShane was classically trained at RADA.
- Lovejoy – For many British TV lovers, the role of Lovejoy was the first and most memorable exposure to Ian McShane. In this one, he played a rakish antiques wheeler and dealer who solved relatively light mysteries.
- American Gods – McShane plays the mysterious Mr. Wednesday in this Starz adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel by the same name.
- Deadwood – As Al Swearengen, McShane played the role of Old West pimp and “entertainment entrepreneur” quite convincingly for a British guy.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – In a role he was practically born for, McShane played Blackbeard in the 2011 entry into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
- Ray Donovan – In season 3, McShane came onto the series to play the role of Andrew Finney in this Showtime drama about a professional “fixer” for the rich and famous in LA.
- Dallas – McShane entered near the end of the series, playing Don Lockwood in 13 episodes in season 12.
- Young Charlie Chaplin – McShane plays Charlie Chaplin Senior in this short-lived 1980s TV series. (requires a region-free DVD player)
This 83-year-old might not be the most obvious choice for our list, but one need only watch him with his wife on Great Canal Journeys to find yourself thinking, “Goodness, if only every woman could be so lucky to have a husband as devoted as him.” Scales has Alzheimer's now, and even as her awareness is fading, he remains committed to making her remaining time as good as possible.
While West is perhaps best known for the role of King Edwards in Edward the Seventh, he's also been in over 100 episodes of EastEnders and he even had a small part in the recent TV series Shakespeare and Hathaway (one that will hopefully arrive on a major US streaming service soon).
- Bedtime – West starred in this early-2000s series about what husbands and wives talk about before bedtime and behind closed doors. (requires a region-free DVD player)
- Edward the Seventh – This BAFTA-winning series starred west as King Edwards, and it depicts the king over the course of many years of his life.
- Great Canal Journeys – On this documentary-style series, West travels the canals of the UK and beyond with his wife of 50+ years, Prunella Scales (of Fawlty Towers fame). (requires a region-free DVD player)
- Big Breadwinner Hog – This 1960s gang drama is definitely a bit dated now, but it was wildly ahead of its time. The show was actually pulled from the air due to violence and generally unsavoury behavior.
Danny Webb is one of those actors who's done an incredible amount of work without getting nearly as much recognition as he probably deserves. While he's technically too young to be on this list, his birthday's in June, so we decided to let it slide. Webb is another RADA-trained actor, and he's done extensive stage work in addition to his already extensive TV film and television work. We're not entirely sure he sleeps.
- Liar – Webb plays DS Rory Maxwell in this British thriller about a teacher who accuses a surgeon of rape.
- Humans – This series about ultra-realistic robot helpers features Webb in the role of Professor Hobb, an expert on artificial intelligence.
- Scott & Bailey – While not a regular through the entire series, Webb plays DC Chris Crowley in Series 4.
- Lightfields – Lightfields is the sequel to supernatural hit Marchlands, and it takes us back in time to a ghost story that started back in the 1940s. Webb plays the role of Barry Felwood.
- Land Girls – Webb plays the role of Sgt. Dennis Tucker in this WWII-era drama about four members of the Women's Land Army.
- Honest – In this rare starring role for Webb, he played criminal Mack Carter, head of a family of lowlifes. When he's sentenced to jail, his wife tries to clean up the family. Sadly, this one was cancelled after just one series.
- Life Begins – In this Caroline Quentin comedy about a woman whose husband leaves her while on holiday, Webb plays a recurring character named Paul.
Who's Your Favorite Sexy Senior?
We'll tally up the votes in a couple weeks and declare a winner.
After founding I Heart British TV in 2016 as a resource for her granny, Stefanie has grown I Heart British TV into a resource that serves millions of British TV fans every year. When not writing posts or editing contributions to the site, you can probably find her working on the latest print edition of the British TV Streaming Guide.