The Allure Of British Men In Literary Fiction And Our Favourite 9 On-Screen Portrayals of Them

British Men

Is it just me or does everyone want to escape this killjoy of a heatwave and travel through a portal to Jane Austen book-worthy cloudy weather or live in a Queen Charlotte episode? Imagine enjoying a hot cuppa tea living like a main character in a novel where the plots centered around solving a mystery or yearning—yearning for a man with a stiff upper lip, chiseled jawline, and charming accent—but what exactly is it about the British men in the literature that has everyone collapsing into gushing heaps? British men’s faces are everywhere on the internet and we blame the hype on Farmer George – he literally was the main plot of Queen Charlotte.


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From The Old School Romantics To Spys

I venture a few guesses about the allure of British men. I would hold the writers responsible for creating the most memorable bounders, buffoons, and charmers to ever grace the pages of prose. The ability to change, frequently in tandem with the heroine, is a recurring theme among most British-based book heroes. They cannot achieve happiness or realize their own enlightenment unless they are able to let go of their macho superiority. Sigh.

no.1 party anthem — Pride & Prejudice (2005)

An ability to recognize and comprehend their shortcomings, putting aside their pride to beg for pardon is a common trait that all of them possess. These characters cannot find happiness with a love interest until they’re able to get past pride and haughtiness, and when they do- it’s an endorphin high.

It’s a tale as old as time but we have to admit that Mr. Darcy wasn’t very charming at the start of the book or the movie based on it. But what we all fell for was his character arc, from going from an uncaring, arrogant rich man to everyone’s romance god.

e-ripley - Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes in ENOLA HOLMES (2020)


So, if these heavilya-accented, swoon-worthy British men are your fiction favourites, here are our 9 favourite representations of them on our screens:

1. King George from Queen Charlotte

British Men

The latest addition to the list is King George, aka Farmer George, from Queen Charlotte, played by Corey Mylchreest, who has taken over Bookstagram, Booktok, and most popularly, Twitter. This Bridgerton spin-off with a marriage of convenience trope gave us the backstory of Queen Charlotte and King George. The biggest chunk of this character’s success goes to Mylchreest, who portrays a king who is slowly slipping into insanity in the most authentic way possible; he didn’t make it melodramatic or uncomfortable for the viewers.

2. Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes originated in 19th-century Victorian England.  But the majority of the traits that endear him to fans are ageless. Holmes is incredibly charming and clever, but he is also likeable. No matter which actor portrays him on screen, Sherlock Holmes continues to be the most well-known fictional British detective in pop culture history.

3. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Darcy, played by Matthew Macfadye, has to be the first person to come to your mind when you think of British men in fiction. He continues to be admired and adored by women all around the world. Not bad for a man who is more than 200 years old on ink; he continues to be one of the most beloved romantic heroes of all time.

4. Simon Bassett from Bridgeton Season 1

Let’s talk about representation in this list, Regé-Jean Page plays Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings who made the viewers burn for him. In this fake dating trope saga, we witness his character develop from a charming bad boy to a vulnerable mature man who finally accepts his imperfections and works on them.

5. Tommy Shelby from Peaky Blinders

Tommy is a class anti-hero, one in a long line of modern television played by Cillian Murphy. Tommy has a distinct coldness about him. His calm demeanour frequently grants him a higher stature or power in a situation. He acts without regret; if something needs to be done, it will be done.

6. Anthony Bridgerton from Bridgerton Season 2

When it was revealed that first-season star Rege Jean Page, who portrayed the broody Duke of Hastings, would not be returning to the show for a second season, many people were unhappy. However, Jonathan Bailey’s portrayal of Anthony Bridgerton and his on-screen chemistry with Kate Sharma with an enemies-to-lovers trope became the center of attention for all the right reasons.

7. Mr. Kneighly from Emma

Played by Johnny Flynn, Mr. Knightley is another Jane Austen fictional jewel for us. Unlike Mr. Darcy, he is incredibly kind and knows how to make proposals without insulting their lover (a green flag). Brownie points to him for dancing with Harriet when no one offered to dance with her at the ball, like a true gentleman.

8. Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility

Even after all this time we can’t help but admire late actor Alan Rickmen‘s portrayal of Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility. A slow-burn, angst-filled love story penned by Jane Austen makes us tear up at every watch. His character is unexpectedly struck by love and the rest of the world falls away is always a delight to witness.

9. James Bond

Very few of you might know that pop culture’s beloved spy is a literary character written by British author Ian Fleming. Published in 1953, the book paved the way for a further eleven novels and two short story collections by Fleming, followed by numerous continuation classic Bond novels by other authors. There are numerous reasons why we love Bond so much: he is charming, classy, has sexual confidence, depth of knowledge, and sophistication. This character is every male actor’s dream role.

Special mention to Lord Tewkesbury played by Louis Partridge in Enola Holmes.

movie gifs — zanephillips: LOUIS PARTRIDGE Enola Holmes 2...

Also, read Loved Queen Charlotte? Here Are 6 Period Romance Books In The Same Vein

- Digital Writer


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