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The British rising stars to watch in 2024

By Swingers

From Netflix stars to indie darlings, here are the emerging British actors on our watchlist for 2024 and beyond. 

The British rising stars to watch in 2024

The UK has always been a global hotspot for acting talent and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. From Netflix stars to indie darlings, here is a list of the most up-and-coming British actors on our watchlist for 2024 and beyond. 

Mia McKenna-Bruce

Who else could kick off this list but Mia McKenna-Bruce? The recently-crowned BAFTA Rising Star 2024 winner beat out household names like Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dyvenor and Saltburn’s Jacob Elordi to win the coveted award, which is voted for by the public. Previous winners include the likes of Kristen Stewart, Daniel Kaluuya and Tom Holland, implying big things to come for McKenna-Bruce.

While you might recognise her from Netflix’s Persuasion, where she played the hypochondriac younger sister of Dakota Johnson’s Anne Eliot, McKenna-Bruce’s breakout role was as Tara in How to Have Sex, a coming-of-age story about a group of friends on a girls’ trip to Crete that takes a horrible turn after a sexual assault. The film won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes Film Festival in 2023 and has earned McKenna-Bruce a string of accolades for her performance.

Ambika Mod

After losing out on multiple acting roles at university Ambika Mod became a comedian, working by day and doing improv and stand-up gigs by night. Her first mainstream role was as junior doctor Shruti in This is Going to Hurt, where she received rave reviews from critics and fans. Now Mod is winning hearts as Emma in the Netflix adaptation of the bestselling book One Day by David Nicholls — a role first made famous by Anne Hathaway, who starred in the 2011 film adaptation. With the series proving a massive hit, it’s clear that Mod has more than filled Hathaway’s impressive shoes, despite her initial “trepidation” about accepting the part. 

Archie Madekwe

2003 was a stellar year for Archie Madekwe, who starred in two very different films: Gran Turismo — the true story of British teenager Jann Mardenborough (played by Madekwe), a teenage Gran Turismo player who became a professional racing car driver — and Saltburn, the now infamous, internet-breaking thriller from director and writer Emerald Fennell. In the latter, Madekwe’s role as savvy and sardonic cousin Farleigh saw him more than hold his own against the likes of Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi and Rosamund Pike. Trained at the BRIT School and LAMDA, Madekwe got his start with minor roles in projects like Midsommar — but after the year he’s had, it seems unlikely he’ll need to fight for speaking parts anytime soon. 

Lauryn Ajufo

In Boiling Point, rising star Lauryn Ajufo played alongside acting veteran Stephen Graham as Andrea, a waitress who encounters racism from a customer. Despite only having limited screen time, Ajufo’s powerful performance earned her strong praise from Graham, as well as a BIFA nomination. Another BRIT School graduate, Ajufo stars in Luther: The Fallen Sun (a feature-length drama that picks up where the BBC TV series left off) and is set to appear in Netflix series The F*ck It Bucket, where she’ll play Becca, the best friend of protagonist Mia Polanco (Sophie Wilde). 

Rosy McEwen

Rosy McEwen took the 2022 film festival circuit by storm as the lead in Blue Jean, the directorial debut of British writer/director George Oakley. In the film, McEwen plays Jean, a lesbian PE teacher at a secondary school in 1980s Newcastle — a role which earned her plentiful praise for her powerful performance. She has since played Desdemona in Othello at the National Theatre, opposite Hamilton star Giles Terera, and is next set to join Dev Patel in psychological horror film Rabbit Trap, as well as signing on for a number of other high-profile projects as an up-and-coming lead actor. 

Yasmin Finney

Yasmin Finney first built a community on TikTok back in 2019, when she began documenting her trans journey. After being cast in Netflix show Heartbreaker as trans teenager Elle, Finney reached a whole new global audience. In Heartbreaker, Elle is one of a number of queer teens figuring out their identity, and finding love and friendship along the way — and Finney’s performance has become a fan favourite. Despite being only 20 years old, she’s already had a noteworthy part in cult show Doctor Who and is reportedly booked and busy on a number of upcoming projects.

Louis Partridge

As the dashing Viscount Tewkesbury in the Enola Holmes films on Netflix, Louis Partridge’s charming performance — not to mention his chemistry with co-star Millie Bobby Brown — led to him becoming an instant teen heartthrob and gaining over nine million Instagram followers. He’s since smashed up the nice boy image by playing Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in TV mini-series Vicious, as well as taking on a role in starry blockbuster Argylle. With upcoming projects including TV mini-series Disclaimer, starring Cate Blanchett, Partridge’s career shows no signs of slowing down. Check out his newest TV miniseries  ‘Disclaimer’ co-starring Sasha Baron Cohen and Cate Blanchett.

Dionne Brown

You might not have heard of Dionne Brown yet but we guarantee that’s all about to change. Brown has been cast as the titular character in Channel 4’s Queenie, a show based on the bestselling novel by Candice Carty-Williams. Slated to be released in June 2024, Queenie follows a 25-year-old Jamaican-British woman straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. After parts in Criminal Record and The Walk-In, Queenie is Brown’s breakout role — and we can’t wait to see her smash it, keep an eye out for her!

Bella Maclean

Bella Maclean earned a role in Spring Awakening at London’s Almeida Theatre shortly out of drama school but young viewers are most likely to recognise her as Jem, the riding instructor who helps Adam Groff to find his confidence in the fourth and final season of Netflix’s Sex Education. Maclean is now set to become a household name after scoring the lead role of Taggie O’Hara in Disney’s adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s 1980s romp Rivals, alongside an all-star cast including David Tennant and Aidan Turner.

Vivian Oparah

Rye Lane became one of the standout indie films of 2023 and marked a fresh new take on the classic rom-com formula. As central character Yas, Vivian Oparah’s engaging performance earned her a BAFTA nomination for Leading Actress (something which, in true British fashion, she first dismissed as “some sort of sick joke” before realising that it was really true). Oparah — who is also a talented musician — was previously known for her work in theatre and in BBC Three Doctor Who spin-off Class, before winning the part of Yas. As well as taking on new acting roles, Oparah has also been writing her own projects, so watch this space. 

Guy Remmers

Bristol-born actor Guy Remmers spent his early twenties working as a model before winning the highly-competitive part of Theo, Duke of Tintagel in Apple TV+’s The Buccaneers. Theo first emerges on the scene as an eligible marriage suitor for the main heroine, Nan St George, before becoming part of a tense love triangle with his best friend, Guy. The many fans around the world who fell for Remmers’ charismatic performance will be delighted that the Buccaneers has been confirmed for a second series, meaning we’ll be seeing much more of him in 2024 and beyond. 

Marisa Abela

HBO’s Industry — which follows a group of graduates working at elite firm Pierpoint & Co — was an instant hit and the ensemble cast, including Marisa Abela as the ambitious Yasmin, won international attention. Now, Abela has landed the role of a lifetime: the lead in Back to Black, the upcoming Amy Winehouse biopic directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. As well as mastering Winehouse’s distinctive accent and mannerisms, Abela had to learn to sing from scratch and play the guitar for the role. Come the film’s release in April, all eyes will be on her.

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