Britain's Top 10 Underrated Actors

Frequently, our best TV actors are overlooked for lead roles, awards and gossip column coverage. It's no wonder more and more of them are defecting to the US. Before we lose any more talent to Hollywood, it's time to big up our best under-appreciated small-screen performers.

10. Ruth Wilson
It seemed like she might take over the world when Wilson got to play Jane Eyre in 2006. But only recently has it started to look like she might go far, with roles in Luther and The Prisoner. Let's not let this one get away.

9. Hannah Murray
As mad, floaty Cassie from Skins series one and two, the impish actress looked like she was in business. But so far, she's not been one of Skins' breakaway stars. It's not too late--someone please, give a girl a break.

8. Tanya Franks
Best-known for playing messy drunk Karen in the BBC's brilliant but, alas, cancelled sitcom Pulling. It's strange that Franks hasn’t been picked up and plonked in a show that’ll make her a proper star.

7. Dexter Fletcher
As American kid journalist Spike in Press Gang, it looked like the talented mock Yank would go far. Then his career stalled until he was cast as Tony in Hotel Babylon. That he's yet to land a grownup lead is a travesty.

6. Paul Kaye
The comedian crops up now and then, but his Dennis Pennis period did nothing to cement his career, even in light of MTV’s spin-off Strutter. But it’s not too late and we think he re-proved his comedy chops as Karen’s druggie on-off fella in Pulling.

5. Ashley Walters
You may know him as Asher D from So Solid Crew. But music isn't the only string to this boy's bow. Ash also acts. Most recently he played Jamal in the fabulous Five Days. We predict his career is about to boom.

4. Kris Marshall
Alas, the young actor got his big break in the BBC's drabbest ever sitcom, My Family. It got him known but we can't help thinking his link to THAT show scuppered what could have been a dazzling comedy acting career. Perhaps Fox's new show Mixed Signal can recover him from those BT ads.

3. Claudie Blakley
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, or whatever the equivalent proverb is for actors; that's how Blakley's career has gone thus far. She’s got her niche right (period drama) but badly needs to be bumped up the credits.

2. Stephen Mangan
We first took notice of the kid with classic comedy-geek looks in 2001 when he played Adrian Mole. Later, in Green Wing & Free Agents, Mangan continued to crack us up. But now he’s dropped off our radar & we want him back.

1. Rebecca Ryan
Someone needs to give the sparky Shameless actress a new, regular part. She's been a Gallagher since 2004 and it’s time to see what else she can do. We suspect there’s much more to come from young Ryan.