14 British Soap Stars Who Went On To Have Careers In The States

14 British Soap Stars Who Went On To Have Careers In The States

Because you can’t stay on Albert Square forever, can you?


Before Ben Hardy starred in the award-winning Bohemian Rhapsody, he played Ian Beale’s son, Peter.

BBC / 20th Century Fox

He was the sixth actor to play the character, and he left the role in 2015 to pursue his Hollywood dreams. It paid off – before playing Queen’s drummer, he appeared in X-Men: Apocalypse, which I’m sure you know is a pretty big deal.


Most of us will Recognise Martine McCutcheon as Natalie from Love Actually, but your mum probably knows her as Tiffany Mitchell from Eastenders.

BBC / Universal Pictures

Martine was part of Eastenders during an era that some might call the golden years – 1995-99, and she was one of the most famous faces on the square. Tiffany was married to Grant Mitchell, and was besties with Bianca, until she was killed off in a car crash on New Year’s Eve.


Before everyone fell in love with Missandei in Game of Thrones, Nathalie Emmanuel played the troubled teen that was Sasha Valentine in Hollyoaks.

E4 / HBO

Nathalie’s storylines were pretty dramatic – Sasha started off the show as a schoolgirl with family troubles, went through a heroin addiction, prostitution, and dated the resident gangster Warren fox, until she left after four years in 2010.


And then there was Sasha’s brother Calvin Valentine, played by Ricky Whittle, who you might recognise as Lincoln from The 100.

E4 / The CW

The two characters have eerie similarities – both Lincoln and Calvin face their demise because of love, and they both get shot! It’s almost like the writer of The 100 were taking notes from Hollyoaks. Calvin’s murder was shown in a flash-forward and was one of the soap’s biggest whodunnits at the time! If you’re an Amazon Prime watcher, you might recognise Ricky from American Gods.


Sam Strike is probably Eastenders’ most recent export – he played Johnny Carter until 2014, and went on to star in the The Texas Chain Saw Massacre prequel Leatherface.

BBC / Lionsgate Films

Sam received high praise for how he portrayed his character’s coming out story, and if that performance was anything to go by, he’ll probably become a familiar face in Hollywood. As well as starring as the titular character in Leatherface, he’s had guest roles in Timeless and Mindhunter.


Eastenders fans will know Rob Kazinsky as bad boy Sean Slater, but vampire fans will know him as Macklyn from True Blood.


You might also recognise him from his appearance in Captain Marvel. But before he went stateside, he was Stacey’s troubled brother, who was a main character from 2006-2009, and he reprised the role in 2019 when Jean, his on-screen mum was diagnosed with cancer.


Rachel Shenton is another Hollyoaks alum, and she went on to win an Oscar!

E4 / Slick Films

Rachel played fictional celeb Mitzeee Minniver from 2010-2013, but after leaving the show, she turned her hand to writing, and her short film The Silent Child won an Academy Award in 2017. The film, which she also starred in, followed the journey of a profoundly deaf girl who learns sign language, and was based on Rachel’s own experiences of having a deaf parent.


If you saw Yesterday, you probably didn’t realise that Himesh Patel, AKA Jack, also played Tamwar on Eastenders.

BBC / Universal Pictures

Probably of Albert Square’s funniest characters, Himesh left the show back in 2016, and ahead of taking on the lead role in Yesterday, he also starred in The Aeronauts, and has more projects in the works.


While he’s technically not a Brit, Irish actor Emmett J. Scanlan is another soap star who had a Marvel moment – as the head riot guard in Guardians of the Galaxy. But to Hollyoaks fans, he will always be Brendan Brady.

E4 /

Brendan was a bad boy in the worst way possible – his biggest storylines centred around his internalised homophobia and domestic violence. As well as appearing in movies, Emmett has been in a ton of TV shows, including Peaky Blinders.


Long before Reece Noi played Mossador in Game of Thrones, he was wreaking havoc in Waterloo Road.


Reece played Earl, the most troublesome son in the notorious Kelly family. In one of the show’s most dramatic moments, Earl ended up shooting his ex-girlfriend. In 2019, Reece played Matias Reyes in Ava DuVernay’s powerful series When They See us.


Jenna Coleman’s pretty much a household name, and although she was in Connie in Captain America: The First Avenger, to some, she will always be Jasmine Thomas, a regular in Emmerdale.

ITV / Marvel

If you didn’t recognise Jenna as Jasmin or Connie, you’ll probably know her from Waterloo Road, Doctor Who, Victoria, or Me Before You – she’s been on our screens a lot.


Another soap star turned Game of Thrones-er here. Roxanne Mckee better know as Louise from Hollyoaks ahead of her days as Doreah.

E4 / HBO

She was on the soap for three years, until she was murdered by her fiancé on her wedding day – a true Hollyoaks departure. By a weird coincidence, both her and her GOT costar Nathalie Emmanuel’s characters dated Warren Fox on the soap.


You might know him for playing the hilarious token Brit, Earl Grey, in Scream Queens, Lucien Laviscount was Ben from Coronation Street.


Lucien also had a stint in Waterloo Road, and he loves a spin-of –he was in the TV reboot of Snatch, and he currently stars in Katy Keene, a which is set in the same universe as Riverdale.


And finally, Sean Maguire, who had a year-long stint on Eastenders in the ’90s, but is now better known as Robin Hood from Once Upon a Time.


Sean’s first big break was in the kid’s drama Grange Hill, but started working in the states since around 2001. If you’re not into OUAT, you might recognise him as Donovan from Eve, or Kyle from The Class.

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