With the news that Gillian Anderson would be starring in the role of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming fourth season of Netflix original series The Crown, we got to thinking about some of the best characters the incredible actor has taken on in the past.
No matter where she appears, Anderson’s versatility as a performer ensures that she excels with whatever role is thrown her way. We’re sure that her time playing Thatcher will be no different.
Bearing that in mind, here are our seven most memorable performances from Gillian Anderson…
7. Miss Havisham in Great Expectations
There have been plenty of adaptations when it comes to Great Expectations, but one of the best was the BBC mini-series that starred Anderson as Miss Havisham, across three episodes.
Getting the chance to play an eccentric villain was obviously right up Anderson's street, as she gave a masterclass on how to deliver a performance as a crazed and volatile wolf in sheep’s clothing.
If you get the opportunity to watch this series, don’t pass it up! It’s a fantastic ride.
6. Media in American Gods
Despite leaving the series following its first season, Anderson’s performance as Media in American Gods is one that will stick with us for the foreseeable.
Getting the opportunity to don some of her most luxurious on screen outfits to-date - including a wonderful David Bowie-inspired look - we get a whole series of different characters and personalities in just one season of a show!
As the mouthpiece for the New Gods in the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel, she takes the form of various celebrities and lives off of the public’s worship.
There’s nobody better suited for so many transformations in such a small amount of time!
5. Lady Dedlock in Bleak House
Another Dickensian drama came with Bleak House, where Anderson played another mysterious and cold character, this time Lady Dedlock.
Though she hadn’t read many classics before stepping into them for her work, she hits it out of the park.
Despite the name, the series is actually a riveting watch from start to end and, with this 15-part adaptation in particular, new life is breathed into the story that many literature fans may feel is too familiar to return to.
4. Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson in The Fall
Set in Northern Ireland, The Fall is one of the most intense and realistic crime dramas we've ever seen.
Starring alongside Jamie Dornan, who plays serial killer Paul Spector, Anderson engages in a game of cat-and-mouse as Detective Inspector Stella Gibson.
Once again, Anderson has broken down otherwise preset barriers in playing a role that, the majority of the time, will go to a man. She's not a prissy, stereotypical woman, but somebody who is incredible at what she does and enjoys sex in her free time.
As for her personal life? It’s a mess; and utterly relatable.
3. Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in Hannibal
Yes, we're still mad that Hannibal was brought to an end without much warning. Will it get another shot in the distant future? We sure hope so. If it does make a return however, we're going to want to see Anderson front-and-centre!
As the psychologist and colleague to the show’s infamous titular villain, she’s someone who’s constantly skating with danger. Still, she manages to navigate the strange world in which she is plunged with an incredible charm.
A stony exterior is key to Dr. Maurier’s persona, very rarely allowing any highly-emotive thoughts or feelings to bubble over to the surface.
2. Jean Milburn in Sex Education
We’re two seasons deep and this brilliant Netflix original has proven to be one of the funniest and most relatable of all time.
Jean Milburn may embarrass her son Otis (Asa Butterfield) because of her job as a sex therapist, but that’s nothing compared to the shame he feels when she joins the faculty at his school.
The two share an unconventional mother-son relationship, but it’s one that’s primarily built on love and friendship, alongside a mutual respect for one another, underneath all of the grumpy brooding.
Spend a long weekend binging Sex Education if you’ve never seen it before, and you’ll soon be spouting off the brilliant one-liners often afforded to Anderson’s character.
1. Special Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files
Of course, Anderson’s most iconic role is that of Special Agent Dana Scully, who’s been at the front of investigations into otherworldly beings in The X-Files.
Scully was one of the very first female characters on television to do away with convention and tear up the rulebook.
She was a feminist hero from day one, running the show and becoming an instant favourite amongst those watching. Rather than being defined by her looks, she was a fully-fleshed out character with a complex history.
Having been an inspiration for an entire generation in this role, it’s very fitting that it’s the one that will undoubtedly define her career.
With Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) now the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the country is more divided than Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman) can ever remember... READ MORE
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