Hugh Laurie’s impact on US television set is unmatched by any other talented Brit who decided to cross the Atlantic in the search of fame on the American small screen. It truly is all the more impressive that the star of the House medical crisis series, who is now 50, should have endangered leaving behind an effective profession in London in 2005 to play the irritated genius Dr Gregory Residence. My Mad Fat Diary
As being a comic actor Laurie had almost cornered the market in upper-class buffoons playing them in various roles in the Blackadder series and Bertie Wooster to Stephen Fry’s Jeeves.
The gamble has paid off so handsomely that Laurie is into his sixth series of Property and rumoured to be earning $400, 000 an episode. Already into over 120 episodes — with many more planned — and shown in around 70 countries, Laurie is judged as the biggest TV star on the globe.
Laurie adopts an real American accent unlike the majority of British actors when appearing in an US series. Like Alex Kingston in ER, they play Brits and have indeterminate features — Patrick Stewart (French in Star Trek), Edward cullen Woodward (The Equalizer), and Ian McShane (Deadwood). Empire stars Joan Collins and Stephanie Beecham were not called after showing their mastery of accents.
The same cannot be said for Frasier’s Daphne Moon phase. Jane Leeves was expected to be from Gatwick but her accent had not been much further adrift than Dick Van Dyke’s cockney in Mary Poppins. Nor Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman) nor Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) would have received prizes for their endeavors on American tones.
The Office was successfully designed for US screens but some British comedy shows — Benny Hill, Monty Python, and Mr Veggie — have to be viewed in the unusual original.
For personalities which may have duplicated their success in the US, Americans use the rough with the graceful — Simon Cowell (American Idol) and Kitten Deeley (So you think you can dance).