2021’s most popular British period drama actress revealed – as voted by you!

2021 gave us some captivating British period drama performances.

Following numerous postponed releases and filming delays in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, an amazing selection of movies and TV series finally landed on our screens last year.

Period drama icons like Claire Foy, Emma Thompson, Caitriona Balfe, and Judi Dench were back with roles in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, Cruella, Belfast, and Six Minutes to Midnight.

Younger stars like Rachel Shenton, Lily James, and Elle Fanning continued to shine in All Creatures Great and Small, The Pursuit of Love, and The Great.

Meanwhile, newcomers Megan Cusack, Agnes O’Casey, and Sabrina Bartlett wowed us in Call the Midwife, Ridley Road, and The Larkins, and period drama stalwarts like Tessa Peake-Jones and Keeley Hawes were reliable as ever in Grantchester and It’s a Sin.

(For a full a recap, take a look back at our complete guide to the year’s British period drama movies and our list of all the year’s British period drama TV series.)

As 2021 came to a close, we asked BritishPeriodDramas.com readers to let us know which of these performances they enjoyed the most.

With the thousands of votes now counted, we can now reveal the Top 10 most popular period drama actresses of the past year!


10. Carey Mulligan as Edith in ‘The Dig’

The Dig is available to watch on Netflix.


9. Elle Fanning as Catherine in ‘The Great’

The Great is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.


8. Emma Thompson as Baroness Von Hellman in ‘Cruella’

Cruella is available on DVD on Amazon.


7. Megan Cusack as Nancy in ‘Call the Midwife’

Call the Midwife is available on DVD on Amazon.


6. Keeley Hawes as Valerie in ‘It’s a Sin’

It’s a Sin is available on DVD on Amazon.


5. Lily James as Linda Radlett in ‘The Pursuit of Love’

The Pursuit of Love is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.


4. Judi Dench as Miss Rocholl in ‘Six Minutes to Midnight’

Six Minutes to Midnight is available on DVD on Amazon.


3. Rachel Shenton as Helen in ‘All Creatures Great and Small’

All Creatures Great and Small is available on DVD on Amazon.


2. Tessa Peake-Jones as Mrc C in ‘Grantchester’

Grantchester is available on DVD on Amazon.


1. Caitriona Balfe as Ma in ‘Belfast’

Belfast is available on DVD on Amazon.