The Brit: Born to two actors (Nigel Davenport and Maria Aitken), it was probably inevitable that Jack wouldn't fall far from the tree, but his rise was pretty rapid, with This Life , Ultraviolet and Coupling under his belt on British telly.
On the big screen, a supporting role in The Talented Mr Ripley paved the way for Pirates of the Caribbean , where he played Jack Sparrow's dullard nemesis Norrington.
The Hit: A swift one-two in little-seen swingers' drama Swingtown , followed by a major role as shifty Lloyd Simcoe opposite fellow emigrees Joseph Fiennes and Dominic Monaghan.
Future's Big or Small? Both were axed after a series, so it depends on whether Davenport believes in third time lucky. Meanwhile, there's always the film career to fall back on - he was most recently seen in The Boat That Rocked .
The Brit: Headey is one of the 'almost' stars of British film, racking up leading roles in Face , The Parole Officer and The Brothers Grimm without really getting noticed. Then came 300 , where her Queen Gorgo was arguably more of a hard-nut than screen hubby Gerard Butler.
The Hit: The daunting challenge of stepping into Linda Hamilton's shoes as the titular character in Terminator spin-off The Sarah Connor Chronicles .
A somewhat controversial choice with die-hard fans, although it cemented her as an unlikely action-heroine. The show was cancelled after two seasons but not before kickstarting the franchise.
Future's Big or Small? Film probably presents the best opportunities for Headey's reinvention as an ass-kicker, although apparently she's currently planning to write and direct a comedy.
The Brit: Scouser who essayed John Lennon in Backbeat , before becoming one of the most dependable character actors around, effortlessly switching from Ken Loach ( Land and Freedom ) to Harry Potter (he's dodgy Professor Quirrel in the first movie).
The Hit: Hart's intensity made him a natural for schizophrenic, pap Don Konkey, the guy who gets the Dirt for Courtney Cox's unscrupulous magazine editor.
Future's Big or Small? Hart has never been short of work in TV, film or stage, but interestingly his post- Dirt work has tended to focus on the small-screen, with performances in homegrown dramas Father and Son and Five Daughters .
The Brit: Bone-dry Scot whose piercing intensity played foil to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 2 ... but not X-Men , overruns on John Woo's action movie stopping him from playing Wolverine as originally planned.
The Hit: Missing out on one of the decade's biggest roles seemed to signal smaller films - Enigma , To Kill A King - but he was still a big coup for Desperate Housewives , where he played Teri Hatcher's millionaire love interest, Ian Hainsworth.
Future's Big or Small? A mix of TV ( Day of the Triffids , Father and Son ) and film, causing a stir as a sadistic hunter in New Town Killers or chasing Timothy Olyphant in Hitman .
The Brit: Acclaimed stage actor who played The Graduate 's Benjamin Braddock in the West End, but who served notice of big-screen ambitions as Jessica Lange's son in Titus and a WW1 soldier in Deathwatch .
The Hit: Rhys might not be the most obvious casting to be the gay brother of Calista Flockhart and Balthazar Getty, but Rhys' American accent proved so convincing most are shocked the first time they heard his Welsh accent.
Future's Big or Small? Rhys scored his biggest film role since the show, playing Welsh icon Dylan Thomas in a threeway with Kiera Knightley and Sienna Miller in The Edge of Love . Hard work, eh?
But Brothers and Sisters has proved an enduring success; its fifth season is about to start.
The Brit: Veteran 1970s star, best-known to audiences of the time as star of TV crime drama Callan , but his enduring legacy from the era is his lead role as tragic Neil Howie in The Wicker Man .
The Hit: The daddy of Brit crossovers, as Woodward put the frighteners on a generation in 80s vigilante show The Equalizer .
Future's Big or Small? Sadly, Woodward passed away in 2009, but not before affectionately sending-up his Wicker Man role in Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz .
The Brit: First noticed by most as the Stath's mate Tommy in Snatch , Stephen Graham has matured into one of the most compelling screen presences, whether over here ( This is England ) or in America ( Public Enemies ).
The Hit: Graham had a tiny role in Band of Brothers , but it's his recent successes that led Martin Scorsese to cast him as Al Capone in 2010's biggest TV project, the Prohibition drama Boardwalk Empire .
Future's Big or Small? Early days yet, so it's unclear how big a part in the show Capone will play.
In the meantime, Graham is so in demand he's going from reprising Combo in This is England '86 to a role in next year's Pirates of the Caribbean reboot On Stranger Tides .
The Brit: Jobbing TV actress (blink, and you might miss seeing her in The Day Today ), who achieved a rapid rise in movies after appearing in Bond comeback Goldeneye .
Sleepers , Grosse Pointe Blank and her Oscar-nommed performance in Good Will Hunting followed in quick succession.
The Hit: The right roles didn't really happen in subsequent years, but a fiery guest spot as Karen's nemesis Lorraine Finster on Will and Grace helped to secure her the role of conwoman Dahlia Malloy opposite Eddie Izzard in The Riches .
Future's Big or Small? Judging from her recent leading role in undersea claustrocore drama The Deep , it appears Driver has given up on rekindling her big-screen glory days in the 1990s.
The Brit: Stand-up comic of his generation, whose refusal to dilute his act by doing a TV show ensured his near-mythical status in the 1990s.
Then, remarkably, he clocked up a second career as a screen actor of substance, mixing mainstream fare ( Ocean's 12 & 13 ) with serious roles like his acclaimed take on Charlie Chaplin in The Cat's Meow .
The Hit: Cast opposite fellow Brit Minnie Driver as Wayne Malloy in The Riches , Izzard also co-wrote the pilot episode.
Future's Big or Small? Izzard's curved illogic will find a way of fitting big inside small.
In between sell-out stadium tours and running 43 marathons for charity, he was one of the few actors praised for his work in Valkyrie , while he's about to be seen in a recurring guest role opposite Toni Collette in The United States of Tara .
The Brit: The rapid rise of Ralph's kid brother was sealed by 1998's tights-and-ruffs one/two, Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love . But poor choices ( Killing Me Softly ? really?) squandered his potential.
The Hit: The lead in ABC's Flashforward , the most intriguing (and blatant) spin-off from Lost 's huge success. The show got canned after a series, but not through any fault of Fiennes.
Future's Big or Small? Looks like Joe knows where the better roles are for him, having signed up to play Merlin in the forthcoming TV series, Camelot .
The Brit: A generation's teenage crush as Brookside 's Beth Jordache, where she locked lips in British soap's first lesbian kiss and buried her abusive dad under the patio. Movie success, however, eluded her in also-rans The Land Girls , Rogue Trader and Goal !
The Hit: Friel radiated feelgood vibes as kooky Chuck Charles in the Amelie -riffing Pushing Daisies . The show was cancelled mid-way through its second series, although a fond cult following has settled on the show.
Future's Big or Small? Land of the Lost proved that the transition to blockbusters might not be as easy as she'd hoped.
However, playing Colin Farrell's sister in London Boulevard , the hotly anticipated directorial debut of The Departed screenwriter William Monahan, should reignite her movie career.
The Brit: Eton educated Shakespearian thesp who first achieved recognition as a conflicted U.N. peacekeeper in the BBC's hard-hitting Bosnian drama Warriors .
The Hit: Band of Brothers , where as Major Richard Winters, Lewis is the anchor around which much of the drama unfolds. Steven Spielberg allegedly hand-picked Lewis after seeing him kill Ralph Fiennes' Hamlet on the London stage.
Future's Big or Small? Lewis has tended to stick to the small screen, notably as Charlie Crews, the ex-con detective in the short-lived drama Life .
However, his dependability secured him supporting roles in Dreamcatcher , Stormbreaker and The Escapist , while his titular performance as the mentally disturbed Keane is one of the most underrated leading man turns of recent years.
The Brit: Moyer's big break should have come in 1997 when he played the titular Prince Valiant opposite then equally unknown Katherine Heigl. But nobody watched it.
Instead, aside from a small but pivotal role in Quills , Moyer became a Brit TV veteran in Ultraviolet and NY-LON .
The Hit: It's only recently that Moyer has been his True calling, as cordial Civil War vet turned vampire Bill Compton in True Blood . Smouldering up the screen with real-life wife Anna Paquin, he's become a teen award winning heartthrob at the age of 40.
Future's Big or Small? Moyer's ratcheting up the film shoots, having completed horror film The Caller , and Paul Bettany vehicle Priest . But since True Blood is still on air, it's unclear what the future holds.
The Brit: A trajectory from minor roles on telly at home to female lead in some of the most memorable, if varied, films of the late 90s: box-office bomb The Postman , cult hit Rushmore , and mainstream sensation The Sixth Sense .
The Hit: After dividing her time between Britain and America, stage and screen, a slot on a US TV show was probably inevitable.
As the fearsome, amoral Adelle DeWitt in Dollhouse , Joss Whedon gave Williams (often miscast as a wan observer) a part that truly tested her range. Shame the show got cancelled, really.
Future's Big or Small? Bigger than it's been since The Sixth Sense , as Williams' last two roles - Carey Mulligan's teacher in An Education and as Pierce Brosnan's Cherie Blair-a-like wife in The Ghost Writer - garnered real acclaim.
The Brit: A true rebel icon, largely in part to his early, career-defining roles as Mick in If... and Alex in A Clockwork Orange .
His villainous air has long been sought-after by Hollywood casting agents, notably in mid-90s double-whammy as the bad guys of Tank Girl and Star Trek: Generations .
The Hit: Something of a long-service award, as McDowell ratcheted up guest slots in dozens of US TV series.
However, his presence on this list owes mainly to two recurring roles: hard-as-nails agent Terence McQuewick in Entourage, and Heroes ' first big bad, Mr Linderman.
Future's Big or Small? McDowell is so hard working he'll do pretty much anything, although of late his film choices - Bolt , The Book of Eli and the forthcoming Easy A - are at least films you've heard of.
The Brit: Anglo-Indian Andrews who made his name baring all in BBC mini-series The Buddha of Suburbia , although his best-known early role is as Kip, Juliette Binoche's love interest in The English Patient .
The Hit: If you don't know, you must have been stuck on an island the past six years.
Naveen was Sayid, the Iraqi torture expert turned Oceanic 815 survivor in Lost; one of the few characters to play a leading role from beginning to end.
Future's Big or Small? After a public custody battle with long-term ex Barbara Hershey, he's probably taking a breather.
Lost casts a sizeable telly-shaped shadow, but Andrews returned to cinema in Robert Rodgriuez's Grindhouse entry, Planet Terror , so it could go either way.
The Brit: A few telly bit-parts led to a rapid rise in the late-90s, with memorable roles in The Devil's Own , Ronin and The Truman Show . However, poor box office left her excellent performance in Solaris relatively unnoticed.
The Hit: As Californication 's Karen, the long-suffering, on-off girlfriend of Hank Moody (David Duchovny), McElhone became the wryly amused moral center of one of the most refreshingly debauched shows around.
Future's Big or Small? Californication is still going, but other projects have been minimal - understandably, given the tragic death of her husband in 2008.
The Brit: One of Britain's leading Asian actresses, Panjabi appeared in East is East and Bend It Like Beckham , as well as smaller roles in the likes of The Constant Gardener and A Mighty Heart.
The Hit: Offbeat legal drama The Good Wife , ostensibly a vehicle for Julianna Margulies, but comprehensively stolen by Panjabi as cynical legal investigator Kalinda Sharma, a role which won her an Emmy in August.
Future's Big or Small? While Panjabi remains highly valued by movie casting agents (she plays Omad Djalli's wife in The Infidel ) The Good Wife should keep her on the small-screen for the foreseeable future.
And don't forget, she continues to do voice work for Postman Pat !
The Brit: Versatile actor seen in everything from Spice World to The Phantom Menace , but who seemed confined to bit-parts in bad movies.
The Hit: As The Wire 's Jimmy McNulty, West showcased a faultless Baltimore accent and became the show's poster-boy, although in the show's ensemble he was often a supporting character, confirming his range and depth.
Future's Big or Small? West is slowly accruing a rep on the big-screen, with noticeable parts in Mona Lisa Smile , 300 and Centurion . Andrew Stanton's eagerly anticipated John Carter of Mars will underline his switch to movies.
The Brit: Twice-Oscar-nommed Hollywood actress who ranged from The Manchurian Candidate 's scheming Mrs Iselin to the lovable Eglantine Price of Bedknobs and Broomsticks .
The Hit: Murder, She Wrote , of course. 12 years as Jessica Fletcher solved all of America's highbrow crimes, and earnt Lansbury four Golden Globes, and the most ever Emmy nominations (12 in consecutive years) without ever winning.
Future's Big or Small? Well, she is 84. However, this doesn't appear to have dented her youtful vigour. She's still a huge draw on Broadway, as well as an occasional movie presence, most recently in Nanny McPhee .
The Brit: Veteran thesp who racked up dozens of credits in movies before making a real name, in his 40s, as antiques wheeler-dealer Lovejoy.
His most notable big-screen role came as Teddy Bass, the gangland boss who wants Ray Winstone out of retirement in Sexy Beast .
The Hit: McShane was far from an unknown in American telly, familiar from scene-stealing guest spots in Magnum, P.I. and Dallas . But it wasn't until 2004 that he achieved legendary status as the aptly-named Al Swearingen in masterful Western Deadwood .
A Golden Globe probably came second to being the mouthpiece for some of the most inventive profanity ever filmed.
Future's Big or Small? Deadwood 's premature cancellation has freed up McShane's schedule to become the go-to guy for older villains, in The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Kung Fu Panda and 44 Inch Chest .
Now in his mid-60s, McShane is about to reach his biggest audience yet as Blackbeard to Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides .
The Brit: Parminder Nagra was a reputable stage actress who seemed consigned to guest spots on Casualty or Goodness Gracious Me .
One person changed that: David Beckham. Specifically, Bend It Like Beckham , the crowd-pleasing women's footie comedy in which Nagra (aged 25, playing 18) scored her breakthrough.
The Hit: Nagra barely had time to acclimatise to her new-found fame, before quickly parachuted into E.R. as Dr Neela Rasgotra. In terms of audience reach and episode numbers (129), Nagra's one of the successful Transatlantic travellers of the past decade.
Future's Big or Small? Looks like she's currently having time off after her seven-year hospital shift, but having made only one high-profile movie ( Ella Enchanted ) during her E.R. stint, it's highly likely that the small-screen will be her natural home.
The Brit: Diminutive Mancunian whose performance in easy-going Britcrime series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates got him noticed by Peter Jackson, who cast him as Merry in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Hit: Freed from Middle Earth, Monaghan boarded Oceanic Flight 815 and ended up as a regular in Lost playing drug-addicted Britpop guitarist Charlie Pace.
Memorably killed off at the series' mid-point, he confirmed his US TV chops as baddie Simon Campos in the short-lived Flashforward .
Future's Big or Small? Monaghan fitted in a supporting role as Bolt in X-Men Origins: Wolverine before FlashForward , which suggests he isn't quite ready to give up the cinema career yet. That said, it'll be hard to escape the shadow of Lost .
The Brit: Londoner who made his name in Channel 4's vampire series Ultraviolet , alongside fellow future emigrees Jack Davenport and Stephen Moyer.
The Hit: It was in America, as The Wire 's ruthless-but-intellectual crime lord Stringer Bell, that Elba truly received recognition, both for blowing apart drug dealer cliches and for his convincing accent. His dramatic departure from the show remains a high watermark for the celebrated series.
Future's Big or Small? Elba's film career has ignited in Rockunrolla , Obsessed and The Losers , with his casting as Norse deity Heimdall in next year's Thor courting controversy from comic-book purists.
However, it's worth pointing out that his best opportunities might still be in television, both in the States (where he played Steve Carell's boss in The Office ) and back home (as BBC 'tec Luther ).
The Brit: Scottish lass who first got noticed boffing Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting , before showing her range as a maid in Gosford Park , a journo in the original mini-series of State of Play and a Texan housewife in No Country For Old Men .
The Hit: Centre-stage in Martin Scorsese's new HBO show, Boardwalk Empire . Early buzz for the just-debuted show is great, and MacDonald should stand out as the major female presence in the predominantly male cast.
Future's Big or Small? MacDonald remains surprisingly unsung, perhaps because her low-key versatility is equally at home on movies or TV. After adding Scorsese to her list of heavyweight directors (Boyle, Altman, the Coens) she can pretty much do anything she chooses.
The Brit: The bad boy of 80s Brit drama in Made in England and The Hit who jumped into U.S. movie history as Mr Orange in Reservoir Dogs .
The Hit: After nearly two decades as a Hollywood bad guy ( Planet of the Apes , The Incredible Hulk ), Roth switched to network telly as Lie To Me 's Dr Cal Lightman, the body language expert who can tell when a crime suspect is fibbing.
Future's Big or Small? Roth's in no rush: Lie To Me is still going strong, with a third season imminent.
It seems inevitable that his movie career will continue to flourish, unless opportunities arise on TV for him to step behind the camera, something he hasn't done since his harrowing 1999 directorial debut The War Zone .
The Brit: OK, technically he's Irish, but he's one of the British Isles' most reliable acting exports, moving from homegrown fare like Excalibur and Defence of the Realm to US indie icon in Miller's Crossing and The Usual Suspects .
The Hit: A recent small-screen crossover, as Dr Paul Weston in ambitious In Treatment , the remake of the hit Israeli drama about a psychiatrist's working week.
Byrne appears in every single-episode despite each season comprising an exhausting 43 episode run. His reward? A Golden Globe and two Emmy noms.
Future's Big or Small? Provided he's not too knackered after the third season of In Treatment , Byrne can pick and choose from the best of both media. That said, like contemporary Glenn Close he might decide that TV nowadays offers better roles for a man of his age.
The Brit: Unarguably the leading British actress of her generation, with The Reader 's Oscar capping a record-breaking six noms by the age of 34.
The Hit: Todd Hayne's forthcoming mini-series Mildred Pierce , a new version of the James M. Cain novel that bagged Joan Crawford an Oscar in the 1940s.
The project is Winslet's first TV work since her teens, when she played the lead role in future Doctor Who bringer-backer Russell T. Davies' Dark Season .
Future's Big or Small? Massive: only a classic source material and a challenging director could pull Winslet to tellyville. Her long-term prospects will be on the cinema screen.
The Brit: Leading Shakespearian actor who found fame in classic BBC Roman serial I, Clavdivs , before making his entrance into movies via John Boorman's Excalibur and David Lynch's Dune .
The Hit: Stewart landed the biggest gig in 80s sci-fi, replacing William Shatner at the helm of the Enterprise, as Star Trek: The Next Generation 's Captain Picard.
Arguably, Stewart did more than anybody else to popularise the Brit accent on network shows and prove how lucrative crossing the Atlantic could be.
Future's Big or Small? Picard got promoted to the big-screen in Star Trek: Generations , the first of four movie outings for the Next Gen cast.
He underlined his status as Professor X in the X-Men trilogy, although his first love remains the stage, having recently played Claudius to David Tennant's Hamlet.
The Brit: What ho, chaps! He was the Prince Regent in Blackadder 3 , the quintessential Bertie Wooster, one of Kenneth Branagh's Oxbridge chums in Peter's Friends and half of A bit of Fry and Laurie . Could the man be any more English?
The Hit: Apparently... yes. So convincing is his portrayal of genius misanthrope (and American) Gregory House, MD, that even the show pilot's director, Bryan Singer, was fooled.
With the sixth season about to be released on DVD and (in a series first) Blu-ray, the format remains unassailable. House spits out world-class insults, totters along on his cane and solves inexplicable medical maladies, and we can't get enough of his hangdog charm.
The fact that House is the most watched TV show in the world should insulate Laurie against the fact that, criminally, he's yet to win an Emmy despite five nominations.
Future's Big or Small? Ironically, Laurie was cast as House straight from working on The Flight of the Phoenix, prematurely ending a occasional film career that ranged from Sense and Sensibility to Stuart Little.
His biggest movie role of recent years was voicing Dr Cockroach in Monsters vs Aliens , but next year's May-to-December rom-com The Oranges will give him his first, long-awaited, leading role in a movie.