Costume dramas ignited young performers' careers and benefited from the glow of established stars. Alex Kingston's Moll Flanders led her to ER, and Keira Knightley's Lara in Doctor Zhivago got Hollywood calling.


Yvette Lyons


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Episode complete credited cast:
Keeley Hawes ... Herself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gillian Anderson ... Lady Dedlock (archive footage)
Juliet Aubrey ... Herself
Ellen Baskin Ellen Baskin ... Herself
Sean Bean ... Himself
Andrew Billen Andrew Billen ... Himself
Daniela Denby-Ashe ... Herself
Kathryn Flett Kathryn Flett ... Herself
Barbara Flynn ... Herself
Robert Giddings Robert Giddings ... Himself (as Prof. Robert Giddings)
Robson Green ... Rory Connor (archive footage)
Frances Grey ... Herself
Andrew Grieve Andrew Grieve ... Himself
Ioan Gruffudd ... Commander Horatio Hornblower (archive footage)
David Haig ... Himself


The power of the genre to create new stars - or to spur existing stars on to create some of their most powerful performances. From Mansfield Park's Billie Piper to Helen Mirren in Elizabeth and My Boy Jack's Daniel Radcliffe to Keira Knightley's TV debut in Doctor Zhivago we speak to the stars themselves as well as their fellow actors about what it takes to create these iconic characters on screen - and the rigours of working on such demanding shows. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

2 December 2008 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


Keeley Hawes - Narrator: So what is it that sets a memorable leading actor above all others?
Nina Sosanya: A leading man has to be charming.
Charity Wakefield: I think he's got to be a little bit heroic.
Daniela Denby-Ashe: Having that moody, sort of dark, handsome look...
Charity Wakefield: Got to look good in tight trousers.
Sharon Marshall: Sean Bean - trousers on or off - fabulous.
See more »


Features My Boy Jack (2007) See more »

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