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Top 10 British Actors You Forgot Were Child Stars

VO: Richard Bush
Written by Richard Bush Wait, haven't I seen them before? Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Child Actors. For this list, we’re focussing on the now-well-known British talents that you may not have realised started their acting career at a young age. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Celebs You Didn't Know Were Child Actors


Wait, haven't I seen them before? Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Child Actors.

For this list, we’re focussing on the now-well-known British talents that you may not have realised started their acting career at a young age.

#10: Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Popping up in the likes of “Game of Thrones” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, albeit for a brief cameo, Sangster’s got one of those faces that you know you’ve seen before but can’t quite place. His best-known early role was as Sam in "Love Actually", and he also played one of the kids in "Nanny McPhee". Before even that, Sangster was bagging other impressive gigs, including the lead in the tv film “Stig of the Dump” and the mini-series “Feather Boy”.

#9: Jamie Bell

Bell started his acting career with a bang, winning a BAFTA for his first ever film role at the age of just 14 in 2000’s “Billy Elliot”. In the same year, he also appeared in the tv drama “Close and True” and five years later he even appeared in a Green Day music video. Bell has struggled to hit the highs of his debut, but he’s still had some solid performances over the years, including parts in Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”, “Snowpiercer” and most notably in 2015’s “Fantastic Four”.

#8: Jack O'Connell

Though he boasts notable tv appearances in “The Bill” and “Skins”, the latter of which brought O’Connell’s face to a much wider audience, his early film roles really helped to launch his career. A spot in Shane Meadows’ “This is England” as the skinhead Pukey helped put O’Connell on the map - and other kid characters followed in films like “Eden Lake” and “Harry Brown”. He’s managed to shake those shackles though, with his critically-acclaimed outing in 2014’s “Unbroken” and his emotional rollercoaster of a performance in 2016’s “Money Monster”.

#7: Tom Holland

Bursting onto the A list after joining the MCU as Spider-Man in 2016, most of us wondered who the heck this guy was? Well, eagle-eyed cinemagoers will have spotted Holland in 2012’s “The Impossible” alongside Ewan McGregor, in an emotional role that he was unanimously applauded for. Prior to that, he was pretty much an unknown, mainly due to his commitment to stage acting in “Billy Elliot the Musical”. In fact, his well-honed choreography in “Billy Elliot” helped him bag the Spidey gig.

#6: Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Many of us will have seen Taylor-Johnson sporting his green scuba suit in 2010’s “Kick-Ass” and possibly the Lennon quiff in 2009’s “Nowhere Boy”, but his credits date back as far as the early 2000s. One of his most significant early roles was as young, mischievous Charlie Chaplin in 2003’s “Shanghai Knights”. He also appeared in 2006’s “The Illusionist” as a young Eisenheim and of course as heartthrob Robbie in 2008’s “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging”.

#5: Nicholas Hoult

Starring alongside everyone from Nicholas Cage to Colin Firth, Hoult’s earned some seriously impressive credits. After bagging roles on tv shows like “Casualty”, “The Bill” and “Holby CIty”, Hoult starred in his first major film role alongside Hugh Grant in 2002’s “About a Boy”. And the following years saw other early appearances in “Wah-Wah”, “The Weather Man” and “Kidulthood”. Since then, he’s climbed the ranks, starring as Tony in “Skins” and Hank ‘beast’ McCoy in the X-Men franchise.

#4: Freddie Highmore

This guy seemingly came from nowhere when he blew us all away with his performance in “Bates Motel” in 2013. And that’s mainly because most of his previous roles were in family films, and many were voice credits only. However, he did take on some big jobs during his early teens, including Charlie in Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” remake, Peter Llewelyn Davies in “Finding Neverland” and Robert in “Five Children and It." But he took his earliest role at just 6 years old, as Sam in “Women Talking Dirty”.

#3: Christian Bale

An actor well-known for tackling challenging and compelling roles - Bale doesn't do things by halves. And the same can be said for his breakout role, which was taken at the age of just 12, as Jim in Steven Spielberg's 1987 war epic “Empire of the Sun”. Before that, Bale also featured alongside Christopher Lee in “Mio in the Land of Faraway” and with Omar Sharif in the television film “Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna”. Not bad at all.

#2: Kate Winslet

For many of us, Winslet’s earliest role to memory is as Rose in 1997’s “Titanic”, or perhaps even Juliet in 1994’s “Heavenly Creatures”. A few years before however, she appeared in various tv shows, including a prominent role in the kids sci-fi serial “Dark Season” and the BAFTA-winning mini-series “Anglo-Saxon Attitudes”. Winslet also made an appearance in “Casualty” and in a sitcom called “Get Back” alongside Ray Winstone - how random is that?

#1: Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones’ popularity was fired into the stratosphere when she starred in “The Theory of Everything” and 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. But, just like many others, Jones started out on television in the 90s, appearing in the tv film “The Treasure Seekers” and prominently in the wizarding ITV series “The Worst Witch”, where she brilliantly portrayed the show’s mean-minded antagonist. It may have taken her some time to earn her A-list status, but she did it in style.
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