14 top talents to watch out for in 2017 – as chosen by current TV stars

Who do Cillian Murphy, Dawn French, Jon Snow, Russell T Davies, Harry Hill and Ron Howard and Phoebe Waller-Bridge tip for the top?

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1. Jason Forbes

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26, Comedian

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You might recognise me from

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm with Harry Hill.

Early days

Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in Bristol. I got a scholarship and then went to Cambridge. 

First time on stage

In Footlights you write and perform an hour-long new comedy show every fortnight. It’s brilliant because you can go up to Edinburgh after you graduate with a fully formed show you’ve tested in front of thousands of people, but I often hid the fact I went to Cambridge because people presume you’re privileged and haven’t worked as hard.

Role model

I used to copy Michael Crawford by throwing myself down the stairs and pretending to be dead. My mum didn’t find it funny. 

Coming up in…

The year after I graduated, George Fouracres, Phil Wang and I formed a comedy troupe called Daphne. We’re currently writing the second series of our show Daphne Sounds Expensive for Radio 4. I’m also in a film called Borg vs McEnroe.

Harry Hill says

“Jason has a brilliantly inventive mind and a great understated way of selling a gag. He’s a pleasure to work with and has a very bright future.”


2. Samantha Colley

27, Actor

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First job

My nan ran an old people’s home, so my first job was helping her sell sweets to the old ladies. 

First time on stage

The Crucible at the Old Vic in 2014. It was the last term of drama school [Colley attended the Oxford School of Drama] and we did our showcase. I signed with my agent on the Monday and on the Wednesday I was playing Abigail Williams.

Coming up in…

Genius on Nat Geo, directed by Ron Howard, about Albert Einstein. I’m ashamed of it now, but I didn’t actually know who Mileva Maric [a physicist, and Einstein’s first wife] was. I read the script and thought, “Oh, they’ve made up a love interest for Einstein…” Some think that Mileva helped Einstein with his theory of relativity.

Role models

 Helen McCrory and Ruth Wilson. I love actresses who can hold their own on TV and on stage — that’s what I’d love to do. They demand respect.

Ron Howard says

“Everybody knows Albert Einstein – or think they know him – but Mileva Maric was one of very few people to truly know him and challenge him. Samantha Colley plays his first wife in “Genius” with a vivid, layered and passionate performance.

She brings this brilliant, almost forgotten woman to life, running the gamut from bitterly lonely to exhilaratingly in love, to exasperated and heartbroken in a toxic relationship. She has such great range as she plays this character, aging through several decades.”


3. Tom Glynn-Carney

22, Actor

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Early days

I was quite frustrated by school and found solace in going to the drama studio, doing stupid voices and being an idiot. I then went to Guildhall School of Music and Drama and signed with a great agent in my third year. 

Role models

When Tom Hanks is in a film, you know it’s going to be good. And Mark Rylance — when I worked with him on Dunkirk [directed by Christopher Nolan and out later this year] he was the most gentle man I’ve ever met. Cillian Murphy is another actor I look at and think, “If I could be anywhere as good as you…” 

Coming up in…

I play the lead in Dunkirk, a part I was absolutely gagging for! I’m also in The Last Post [written by Peter Moffat and coming soon on BBC1] where I play a military police officer who goes to Yemen in the 60s and falls in love with a local girl. I get myself into a lot of trouble. 

Dream job

I want to do everything and be greedy in that way — film, TV, radio, theatre. If it’s juicy work, I want it!

Peter Moffat says

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“Tom has astonishing acting range, deep emotional intelligence and an absolutely natural integrity. The fact that he looks like a young Leonardo DiCaprio shouldn’t hold him back too much!”