8 British Soap Stars Who Tried Their Luck In Hollywood

The United Kingdom is a nation that loves its soap operas, so it’s fair to say that the next few months of reduced output from the likes of EastEnders and Coronation Street are going to hit us extremely hard.

Many TV soap stars become like extended members of our own family, so not being able to see what they’re up to every single weekday like we’re used to is going to be a little bit strange to say the least.

There are many actors who have made a whole career out of appearing in soaps, some even playing the same character in the same show for decades, and in our opinion, spending your life acting in such shows is definitely nothing to be ashamed of.

But whilst the likes of Coronation Street’s William Roache appear content to act in the same show for the entirety of their acting career, over the years a large number of actors have made the decision to cut ties and set sail for the bright, alluring lights of Hollywood.

Many of these intrepid explorers returned to the UK with their tail between their legs, but a large number did pretty well for themselves, and one or two are now even household names across the pond.

But today isn’t about judging the perceived success of the soap stars who decided to aim their sights a little bit higher, it’s about celebrating those Brits who were brave enough to step outside their comfort zones and try something a bit different.

So without further ado, let us present 8 British soap stars who left their respective TV shows to try their luck in La La Land.

8. Nathalie Emmanuel

She began her career playing Sasha Valentine in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, but Nathalie Emmanuel went on to find fame over in the United States.

Whilst Emmanuel may not yet be a name that everyone is aware of, she has appeared in a number of big budget films like Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, as well as massive TV shows such as Game of Thrones, in which she played the interpreter Missandei.

7. Ben Hardy

Here we have another actor who has done rather well for himself since he left EastEnders and made the long trip over the pond. Ben Hardy played Peter Beale in the soap for two whole years, and he has since appeared in a massive superhero blockbuster, as well as an Oscar-winning biopic.

Hardy played Warren Worthington in X-Men: Apocalypse, and went on to play Queen drummer Roger Taylor in the Academy Award-winning Bohemian Rhapsody. Other films Hardy has appeared in include Mary Shelley, Only the Brave, and most recently the Netflix exclusive 6 Underground, in which he starred alongside Ryan Reynolds.

6. Michelle Ryan

An example of a Hollywood career that was over almost as quickly as it began, Michelle Ryan ended her five-year stint playing Zoe Slater in EastEnders in 2005, and in 2007 was handed the plum role of the Bionic Woman in the big budget US TV series of the same name.

Unfortunately, Bionic Woman was cancelled after only eight episodes, so Ryan has since returned to the UK to appear in shows such as Death in Paradise and Merlin.

5. Robert Kazinsky

Formerly a member of EastEnders, a show in which he played Sean Slater from 2006 until 2009, Robert Kazinsky could definitely now be considered a Hollywood star.

After appearing in the US TV shows True Blood and Second Chance, Kazinsky has been seen in an increasing number of massive Hollywood films, including Pacific Rim, Warcraft and Captain Marvel.

4. Jenna Coleman

After starring as Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale between 2005 and 2009, Jenna Coleman continued an extremely successful career in the UK, starring in shows such as Doctor Who, in which she played the Doctor’s assistant Clara Oswald.

Coleman is now beginning to make something of a name for herself in Hollywood, where she has landed roles in Captain America: The First Avenger and the 2016 romantic drama Me Before You.

3. Ricky Whittle

Ricky Whittle starred as Calvin Valentine in Hollyoaks for five years before heading to the US, where he found moderate success in shows such as Single Ladies and The 100.

But it is his lead role as Shadow Moon in the popular big budget series American Gods that has edged Whittle up towards the mainstream. Whittle also recently appeared in Netflix’s romantic comedy Nappily Ever After.

2. Anna Friel

She was already a household name in the UK after her Brookside character Beth Jordache engaged in the first same sex kiss between two women before the 9pm British watershed, but it’s fair to say that Anna Friel will be remembered for more than just being a controversial soap star.

The talented actress has gone on to receive critical acclaim for her performances in the UK TV shows Marcella and Broken, and was also something of a success in the US after starring in Pushing Daisies and more recently The Girlfriend Experience.

1. Emmett J. Scanlan

Emmett J. Scanlan is an Irish actor who played Brendan Brady in Hollyoaks, before being seen in a number of other British TV shows, including The Fall and Peaky Blinders.

But Scanlan is also doing rather well for himself as a US film actor, even appearing as the Head Riot Guard in the 2014 Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy.