This month's British actor is none other than
Now, I, like many PBS-watching Americans, first noticed Simm in Doctor Who, where he occasionally guest-stars as the latest incarnation of the Doctor's arch-nemesis the Master. Simm plays this fellow renegade Time Lord more unhinged than his predecessors (Well, most of them, anyway, but we don't talk about Eric Roberts.), but, oddly enough, his hair-brained schemes seem a bit less hair-brained. Seriously, the Doctor had to pull a Tinkerbell!Jesus ex machina to defeat him in "The Last of the Time Lords." Simm brings a certain degree of mad humor to the role that made him an excellent foil for Tennant's Doctor, and hopefully we'll get to see him again the next time these old rivals' paths cross.
However, Simm first came to the attention of Doctor Who's producers through his starring role in the BBC series Life on Mars. Simm plays Sam Tyler, a Manchester police detective who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. Is he crazy? In a coma dream? Or has he really travelled back in time? The show (At least what I've seen of it so far. I'm on Series 2, episode 4, so no spoilers, please! Unless you're going to tell me whether or not Ashes to Ashes is also awesome.) leaves this pretty ambiguous. In fact, at the end of the first series, I thought I had it figured out, but then they did something in the series two opener that's left me guessing. The show is totally worth checking out, if only to see Simm struggle to figure out his predicament and new surroundings and to bring a little compassion and justice to the retro police force. Also, the soundtrack rocks.