Lily James, who stars in Hulu’s Pam and Tommy, has starred in several other UK and US TV series, and here they are ranked worst to best. The British actress is perhaps best known to the public for her starring roles in Disney’s Cinderella and Mama Mia! Here we go again. But James’ career has its roots in British TV series before jumping to Hollywood and starting acting in big movies. Today, James, busy and in high demand, still splits her time between film and TV produced in Hollywood and the UK.
James graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and gained worldwide fame for playing Lady Rose MacClare in Downton Abbey. His big Hollywood break came when Disney cast James to play the title role in Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 live-action adaptation of Cinderella. James’ career alternates between starring in feature films with A-list directors like Joe Wright and Danny Boyle, but she also stars in and even produces smaller indie films and high-profile dramas that air on Netflix. However, James never let go of his TV roots even after achieving movie stardom. James starred in the 2016s War & Peace mini-series, 2021 The pursuit of loveand she turned into Pamela Anderson in Pam and Tommy.
Lily James’ film roles have proven to be eclectic and she is now beginning to show the same versatility in her television work. Most of James’ TV roles have featured her as a young British ingenue, but she also played a Russian in War & Peace and James portrayed Pam Anderson, one of the world’s most famous Canadian sex symbols in Pam and Tommy. James also excels in historical dramas, of which she has done several. Of the six TV series that Lily James starred in, let’s find out which one is the best.
6. Just William (2010)
Just William was Lily James’ first professional acting role when she was twenty. Just William was an adaptation of a series of children’s books written by Richmal Crompton, which are highly regarded in the UK. Just William aired on BBC One in December 2010 and consisted of four half-hour episodes. James played Ethel Brown, the flirtatious older sister of William Brown (Daniel Roche), the show’s young main character. Just William focused on the schoolboy misadventures of William and his group of friends, called the “Outlaws”. As Ethel, James played a memorable supporting role that could be seen as a warm-up for her future casting in Downton Abbey. Just William was an important step in the door to a bigger film and TV career yet to come for Lily James.
5. The Pursuit of Love (2021)
The pursuit of love was a 2021 BBC One miniseries that aired on Amazon Prime Video in the US that summer. Adapted from the novel by Nancy Mitford, The pursuit of lovewas directed by Emily Mortimer, who also had a recurring role as Bolter. James starred as Linda Radlett, the beautiful but flighty cousin of Fanny Logan, played by Emily Beecham. Set in England and Europe in the 1930s, James played a young woman who was uncompromising about finding love, and she was surrounded by an eclectic cast in The pursuit of love, including Dominic West as Linda’s rigid father and Andrew Scott as the eccentric Lord Merlin. As Linda, James pouts, struts, sucks and flaunts his considerable charms to great effect in this breezy but empty period drama.
4. Diary of a Call Girl (2011)
Lily James joined Diary of a call girl in Season 4, also his final season. Based on the books and blogs of Brooke Magnanti, whose pseudonym was Belle Du Jour, Diary of a call girl was a hit series on ITV 2 in the UK before airing on Showtime in the US, where it also became a hit. Diary of a call girl ran from 2007 to 2011 and played Billie Piper after he left Doctor Who. Piper played Belle, who secretly moonlighted as a high-class prostitute, opposite Iddo Goldberg from snowdrops and James D’Arcy of Marvel’s Agent Carter. James played Poppy, the daughter of Stephanie (Cherie Lunghi), Belle’s manager. James showed a new side of her talents as the disruptive and promiscuous Poppy and she stood out in Diary of a call girlis the last season.
3. Pam and Tommy (2022)
Lily James undergoes a remarkable transformation to become Pamela Anderson in Pam and Tommy. Starring Sebastian Stan as rocker Tommy Lee, Pam and Tommy tells the grim tale of how a sex tape of the Baywatch babe and the Motley Crüe drummer’s mid-1990s honeymoon was stolen by entrepreneur Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), who put it up for sale on the internet, and the fallout that destroyed the marriage of Anderson and Lee accordingly. An 8-episode Hulu miniseries, Pam and Tommy starts off as gangbusters but then settles into a standard made-for-TV drama that loses the trippy madness of its first three chapters. However, by becoming Pam Anderson and brilliantly capturing the cadences of the Playboy model, James proves himself to be a true chameleon by delivering a performance unparalleled in his career.
2. War and Peace (2016)
War & Peace was a 6-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel which aired on BBC One and on History, Lifetime and A&E in the US. Centered on Napoleon Bonaparte and France’s military campaigns from 1805 to 1812 against Russia and culminating in Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow, War & Peace boasted lavish production values and an international cast, which was headlined by Lily James as Natasha Rostova, Paul Dano, who plays the Riddler in The Batmanas Pierre Bezukhov, and James Norton as Andrei Bolkonski. War & Peace aspires to be an epic and succeeds in capturing the fate of Tolstoy’s tragic characters. James is ideal as Natasha, which taps into her ability to be romantic, impulsive and able to overcome great heartbreak. War & Peace was, in a way, an introduction to the lead role of James in The pursuit of love five years later.
1.Downton Abbey (2013-2016)
Lily James joined Downton Abbey in season 4 and his mission was daunting; As the Crawleys’ cousin, Lady Rose MacClare, James was essentially meant to replace Jessica Brown-Findlay’s popular Lady Sybil after the actress left the show and Sybil was killed off. James was charming in his challenge Downtown storylines, such as Lady Rose almost running away with Jack Ross (Gary Carr), an African-American jazz singer. As the rebel Lady Rose, James joined Downton Abbey at the height of the worldwide popularity of the BBC and PBS Masterpiece series, but she fit like a glove. Sure, Downton Abbey achieved legendary status and remains beloved after transitioning into a feature film franchise. James’ last appearance in Downton Abbey was in the series finale, but it’s a testament to her performance as Lady Rose and her meteoric Hollywood career that Lily James always misses whenever the Crawleys reunite in the Downton Abbey movies.
Next: Every Lily James Movie Ranked
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