It has been over two decades since the BBC miniseries based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice captured the imaginations of millions. This begs the question: what are the actors and actresses behind these iconic characters doing today?
Jennifer Ehle – Elizabeth Bennet
It was Jennifer Ehle who played the main character of the classic tale – Elizabeth Bennet. The beating heart of the show was her growing relationship with Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy. As the title suggests, they sacrificed their “pride and prejudice” for each other.
Jennifer Ehle – Now
Although she might not be the most recognizable name on this list, there is no denying that Jennifer Ehle stayed relevant in the world of acting. Her reputation was so great after roles in Wilde and The King’s Speech that Ehle was even originally cast as Catelyn Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones. However, she turned down the role for personal reasons. Nevertheless, Ehle has gone on to have roles in hits such as the Fifty Shades of Grey film series and Zero Dark Thirty.
Colin Firth – Mr. Darcy
Quite simply: without Mr. Darcy, you don’t get Pride and Prejudice. So BBC needed to make sure that they had a strong actor for this co-lead role. The studio hit the jackpot when they landed the fantastic Colin Firth for the part. Mr. Fiztwilliam Darcy arrives at the village that the story is set in and immediately raises eyebrows due to his wealth. He is the embodiment of the “pride” that makes up half of the story’s title.
Colin Firth – Now
Without a doubt, Colin Firth is the cast member of BBC’s Pride and Prejudice who went on to achieve the most success, both critically and commercially. The actor managed to win the hearts of critics and fans alike with some showstopping performances. These include movies such as The English Patient and Bridget Jones’ Diary. In 2010, Firth took home the ultimate honor – the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as King George VI in the critically acclaimed The King’s Speech.
Emilia Fox – Georgiana Darcy
She may be one of the younger characters of Pride and Prejudice, but Georgiana Darcy is as integral to the story as characters such as Elizabeth Bennet and her brother Mr. Darcy! She is just 16 years of age at the start of the show and is considered to be an “accomplished woman,” at least, according to Caroline Bingley. Although it was officially her first professional acting job, Emilia Fox brought a maturity beyond her years to the role.
Emilia Fox – Now
Ever since making her on-screen debut on Pride and Prejudice all those years ago, Emilia Fox maintained a solid reputation as a gifted and talented actress. There is no doubt that fans will remember her best for her role as Dr. Nikki Alexander on fellow BBC show Silent Witness. Having joined the show back in 2004, Fox is one of the longest-serving performers on the crime drama. Other shows she appeared in include Merlin, which she starred as the character Morgause.
Polly Maberly – Kitty Bennet
She had a couple of minor roles on British TV beforehand, but it was Polly Maberly’s part as Kitty Bennet that truly kickstarted her career. The fourth Bennet daughter may be older than sister Lydia, but she is consistently overshadowed by her. Kitty’s envious ways often get in the way of her own progress. However, it seemed like life imitated art for Maberly even before landing the role of Kitty. In 1993, her younger sister, Kate Maberly, was the star of the hit movie The Secret Garden.
Polly Maberly – Now
Despite Polly Maberly’s sister Kate overshadowing her early on in her career, it seems like both sisters went on to have fairly similar levels of success as the years passed. Polly starred in a variety of famous British shows such as The Bill, The Royal, Doctors, and Holby City, to name a few. She has also maintained steady success in the world of theater, appearing in numerous stage productions such as The Tempest and When Harry Met Sally…
Crispin Bonham-Carter – Charles Bingley
In order to highlight the various aspects of Mr. Darcy’s personality, Jane Austen needed characters who did things a little differently to the main character. One fine example is Charles Bingley. Although he is also affluent like his friend, he doesn’t have the same sort of resolve. He is easily influenced by his contemporaries, which often gets him into awkward situations with his love interest, Jane. Helen Bonham-Carter’s third cousin Crispin was cast in the role.
Crispin Bonham-Carter – Now
The direction that Crispin Bonham-Carter’s career went in, compared to many other actors/actresses on this list, is unique, to say the least. Although the actor landed roles in movies such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and the James Bond classic Casino Royale, Crispin decided to rethink his career shortly after. In 2015, after a decade of soul-searching, Bonham-Carter decided to end his acting career in order to pursue life as a teacher. Since 2015, he has been teaching English and Classics at Alexandra Park School in London.
Lucy Davis – Maria Lucas
Maria Lucas is by no means one of the main characters of the original Pride and Prejudice novel. However, this didn’t stop the character from appearing in five out of six episodes in the BBC miniseries. What’s probably most interesting is less about the character and more about the actress who played her – Lucy Davis. Before landing the minor role, the young aspiring actress already had parts in shows such as The Detectives, Casualty and The Bill.
Lucy Davis – Now
It’s quite amazing when you consider some of the shows and movies that Lucy Davis has gone on to star in since her role as Maria Lucas back in 1995. Without a doubt, her breakout role came as Dawn in the original version of The Office. Since then, the actress seems to have crossed over into the American spotlight, having made guest appearances on shows such as Ugly Betty, Californication, and NCIS. She most recently had a role in DC’s blockbuster Wonder Woman.
Julia Sawalha – Lydia Bennet
It was Julia Sawalha who landed the role of Lydia Bennet, the youngest of the Bennet sisters. Although she comes from an upstanding family, Lydia loves nothing more than socializing and getting into mischief. She eventually gets involved in a romantic fling with George Wickham. Despite still being in her early-20s at the time, Sawalha already established herself as a talented British actress. She already starred in shows such as Press Gang, Second Thoughts and Absolutely Fabulous.
Julia Sawalha – Now
Shortly after her role as Lydia Bennet, Julia Sawalha landed the role of The Jailer’s Daughter in a film remake of the classic tale The Wind in the Willows. However, starring alongside the likes of Steve Coogan and John Cleese couldn’t stop the movie from failing to make back its budget. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stop Sawalha from having success elsewhere. She also had a voice role in the successful animated movie Chicken Run. In 2016, she reprised her role as Saffron in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Adrian Lukis – Mr. Wickham
Arguably the main antagonist of the story, George Wickham is a complex, two-faced character who has been portrayed differently by a variety of actors over the years. However, when Adrian Lukis took on the role in the BBC remake of Pride and Prejudice, he would seamlessly switch from charming to menacing in a matter of seconds. Lukis brought a ton of acting experience to the show, especially after notable roles on shows such as Chandler & Co.
Adrian Lukis – Now
It wasn’t just Adrian Lukis’s time before Pride and Prejudice that saw him have much success on TV. After his role as Mr. Wickham came to an end, Lukis starred in numerous shows such as The Bill and Judge John Deed. In more recent times, the actor has had equal success both on screen and on stage. In 2015, he starred as Laurence Olivier in the play Orson’s Shadow. Just a year later, Lukis had a role in the critically acclaimed Black Mirror.
Anna Chancellor – Caroline Bingley
Not necessarily an antagonist, but Caroline Bingley is certainly one of the less uplifting characters in the story. She isn’t only disapproving of her brother Charles’s admiration for Jane Bennet, but she also had a complex relationship with her sister Louisa. Anna Chancellor turned out to be the perfect person to portray the role of Caroline, having already established herself in the show Jupiter Moon as well as movies such as Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Anna Chancellor – Caroline Bingley
It’s not just TV that Anna Chancellor has done well in over the years. She also had a successful career as a stage actress. Chancellor has continued to impress fans and critics alike with a number of powerful performances. In 2011, she was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lix Storm in The Hour. Most recently, she has had notable roles in shows such as Downton Abbey, Penny Dreadful, and The Crown.
Lucy Briers – Mary Bennet
After making appearances in a number of popular shows such as Red Dwarf and Boon, Lucy Briers landed her most notable role at the time, portraying middle Bennet sister Mary. Often the source of levity due to her deadpan style, Lucy Briers’ Mary was clever and cynical and was often quick to be vocal about her talents and abilities. It was shortly after the show’s end that Briers starred once again with Crispin Bonham-Carter and Victoria Hamilton in the play As You Like It.
Lucy Briers – Now
While Lucy Briers has continued to be a successful actress, primarily on stage, this hasn’t stopped her from appearing on a number of notable TV shows. Since Pride and Prejudice, she has guest-starred in shows such as The Bill, Silent Witness, and Doctors, to name a few. Her most high-profile project came in 2006 when she had a minor role as a TV reporter in the hit movie Children of Men. One of her most recent roles came in BBC Four’s Twenty Twelve in 2011.
David Bamber – Mr. Collins
If there was one character in Pride and Prejudice who truly epitomized the concept of “loyalty,” then it has to be Mr. William Collins. Depicted in the novel as an overtly loyal servant to the patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh, it was David Bamber who brought Mr. Collins to life. With a couple of roles under his belt in movies such as High Hopes and Year of the Comet, there was no doubt that Pride and Prejudice was Bamber’s most high-profile project to date.
David Bamber – Now
It seemed like Pride and Prejudice was just the start of a beautiful career for David Bamber. The talented actor has been involved in an impressive string of movies such as Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, The Bourne Identity, and The King’s Speech, to name a few. His most recent role came in Silent Witness. Moreover, Bamber is also part of a talented family, being married to actress Julia Swift. He also has a son who played for the England U19 cricket team.
Lucy Robinson – Mrs. Hurst
Lucy Robinson’s first acting role pretty much came in Pride and Prejudice as Louisa Hurst. Although she is not as prominent, either in the novel or on the miniseries, as sister Caroline Bingley, Louisa is just as selfish and vain. The sisters had a very complex relationship and would often team up to sabotage the lives of others for their own personal benefits. As entitled as each other, Louisa and Caroline both spent more than they could afford.
Lucy Robinson – Now
Pride and Prejudice wasn’t the only Jane Austen show that the talented Lucy Robinson starred in. Just a year later, she played Mrs. Elton in the TV adaptation of Emma. The actress would go on to star in three seasons of the popular sitcom Cold Feet. That wasn’t all though. She also made an appearance on popular Sci-Fi show Doctor Who. Movies that she starred in include Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Victoria Hamilton – Mrs. Forster
Although Mrs. Forster was another one of the more minor characters of Pride and Prejudice, every character needs to be effectively brought to life when the story is adapted for the screen. The casting team probably didn’t realize that they could have cast Victoria Hamilton in a more prominent role. The young actress only had two other roles under her belt beforehand; one in TV film Cone Zone, the other in the fellow Jane Austen-based movie, Persuasion.
Victoria Hamilton – Now
Less than a decade after her role in Pride and Prejudice would see Victoria Hamilton land her first ever role on Broadway. The talented actress ended up being nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the play A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Before that incredible achievement, Hamilton had locked down another Jane Austen role, in the 1999 movie Mansfield Park. Most recently, the actress has starred as The Queen Mother in the critically acclaimed Netflix series The Crown.
Rupert Vansittart – Mr. Hurst
Make no mistake about it: Rupert Vansittart is a living legend in the world of acting. Even before landing the role of Mr. Hurst on BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, the talented actor had numerous roles to his name. He already starred in movies such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Braveheart. Just a year after the latter came out, Vansittart appeared on the Jane Austen miniseries as Mr. Hurst, the brother-in-law of Caroline and Charles Bingley.
Rupert Vansittart – Now
For Ruper Vansittart, Pride and Prejudice was nothing more than a diversion from his more regular role in the popular police series Heartbeat, which he starred in from 1992 to 2009. The actor has starred in many notable shows/movies, including Doctor Who, Doctors, and The Iron Lady. He recently took his career to another level, starring in HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones as Lord Yohn Royce. He has been a recurring character in seasons four, five, six, and seven.
Lucy Scott – Charlotte Lucas
Charlotte Lucas is a fascinating character on Pride and Prejudice as during the era the story is set in, she is way past marriage age. At just 27 years old, Charlotte was still desperate to get married and ends up tying the knot with Mr. Collins for financial reasons. It was actress Lucy Scott who was cast in the role, having only appeared in Micky Love two years prior. Ultimately, the Jane Austen miniseries is the project that Scott is most famous for.
Lucy Scott – Now
Although Lucy Scott will be best remembered for her role as Charlotte Lucas, she has worked on other projects since then. Unfortunately, it took over seven years for Scott to land her next role; as Bernadette in a 2002 episode of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. You can count the rest of Scott’s appearances on TV on one hand. Since then, she has appeared in shows such as Rosemary & Thyme and Spooks. Scott is married to actor Alistair Petrie, who recently starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Susannah Harker – Jane Bennet
Some people are just destined for a career in acting. Susannah Harker seems to be one of them, especially since coming from a family of actors. Not only is she the daughter of Just William-star Polly Adams, but Harker’s sister Caroline is also a talented performer, with roles in shows such as A Touch of Frost. Harker plays Jane Bennet, a character with a pure heart, who is considered to be the most beautiful lady in the village and ultimately falls in love with Charles Bingley.
Susannah Harker – Now
Five years before landing the role of Jane Bennet, and long before the Netflix remake starring Kevin Spacey, Susannah Harker impressed critics with her role as Mattie Storin on the political drama House of Cards. Since Pride and Prejudice, the actress has appeared on shows such as Waking the Dead and Midsomer Murders. Her personal life is also eventful, having been married to Jorah Mormont himself, Iain Glen, from 1993 to 2004. She was also seeing Doctor Who‘s Paul McGann between 2006 and 2008.
Benjamin Whitrow – Mr. Bennet
One of the older, more experienced actors to work on Pride and Prejudice; Benjamin Whitrow played Mr. Bennet. The patriarch of the Bennet family, with five unmarried daughters to his name, Mr. Bennet is a man in considerable financial trouble. After notable roles in movies such as Quadrophenia and Personal Services, Whitrow had proven long before that he would guarantee a big performance in the BBC miniseries. He was even nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor.
Benjamin Whitrow – Now
Five years after playing the role of Mr. Bennet, Benjamin Whitrow played the voice of Fowler in the animated movie Chicken Run. Sadly, the actor died in on September 28, 2017, at 80 years of age. Just a few months beforehand, Whitrow had starred in the critically acclaimed Darkest Hour, which Gary Oldman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Winston Churchill. Whitrow was survived by his children Hannah Mary, Thomas George and actor Angus Imrie.
Alison Steadman – Mrs. Bennet
Naturally, Mr. Bennet was married to Mrs. Bennet, who was just as determined as him to marry off her five daughters to some rich men. One of her most defining characteristics was being a hypochondriac, often having negative reactions when things weren’t going her way. Alison Steadman is one of the most experienced performers to appear on Pride and Prejudice, having made her TV debut over 20 years prior, starring in shows such as Z Cars and Gone To Seed.
Alison Steadman – Now
One thing is for sure, Alison Steadman hasn’t slowed down since portraying Mrs. Bennet on Pride and Prejudice. The Liverpool actress had notable roles on shows such as Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years, Fat Friends, and Gavin & Stacey, to name a few. In 2007, British actors voted Steadman as No. 42 in Channel 4’s 50 Greatest Actors. In recent times, Steadman has been in a relationship with fellow actor Michael Elwyn and since 2016, she has been an ambassador for London Wildlife Trust.