12 for 12: Radio Times’s rising stars

We turn a spotlight on the young actors expected to find fame this year

Seeing as it’s Twelfth Night, let us turn our attention to a bunch that RadioTimes.com predicts will, in the words of the mighty Malvolio, achieve greatness. (Those born great or who have it thrust upon them do not concern us here.) Some you will recognise off the tellybox already and some you soon will. In (almost) the words of the equally mighty Irene Cara, remember their names. *dons legwarmers*


Daniel Kaluuya (pictured above)

After appearing in one of last year’s boldest drama series – he played wise-cracking Mac in BBC3’s The Fades – Kaluuya made as much impact on screen as he had on stage, in Roy Williams’s Sucker Punch at the Royal Court in 2010. From Skins, on which he was also part of the writing team, through Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s Psychoville, to his role as Bing in Charlie Brooker’s Dark Mirror: 15 Million Merits, his rise has been assured and steady. This year will bring merits all its own.

Twitter: @Kaluuya

Rosamund Hanson

From Shane Meadows’s This Is England to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Life’s Too Short, 22-year-old Hanson brought wry, dry charm and warmth to two thoroughly contrasting projects and two totally different characters, while still managing to imbue each with her own, particular essence. No mean feat. 

Twitter: @RosamundHanson

Craig Roberts

After wowing filmgoers in Submarine, in which he more than held his own against grown-ups Paddy Considine and Sally Hawkins, Roberts breathed sulky new life into Being Human as vampire Adam, a middle-aged man stuck in a teenage body. This year brings movie roles in thriller Red Lights, alongside Robert De Niro, and in British heist flick Comes a Bright Day, with Timothy Spall.

Twitter: @CraigRoberts10

Zawe Ashton

The eagle-eyed will have spotted Ashton in BBC1’s Case Histories – as Jackson Brodie’s secretary, Deborah – but it was Channel 4’s superlative Fresh Meat that brought her widespread attention and, indeed, adoration. As Vod, she was by turns terrifying, hysterical and heartbreaking. As at home in broad comedy – in BBC1’s Lapland – as she is in thoughtful drama-documentary such as Dreams of a Life (in which she played Joyce Vincent, a north London woman who lay dead in her flat for three years), Ashton is a mesmerising screen presence.

Twitter: @ZaweAshton

Kari Corbett

Corbett’s last TV role was as sweet nurse Marian McKaig in cloyingly cosy drama The Royal. It’s a world away from Shameless’s Chatsworth estate, where she shortly appears as Ruby – “a post-lads’ mag ball of trouble [and] a fiery Celt”. In between times, she’s appeared in Brit flick You Instead, alongside Lip Service’s Ruta Gedmintas and Horrible Histories’s Matthew Baynton, and directed herself in If Only I Were Simone de Beauvoir. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Twitter: @KariCorbett

Jessica Raine

Having held her own against the luminous Lesley Sharp on stage at the National Theatre in Simon Stephens’s Harper Regan in 2009, Raine takes the lead in Call the Midwife, BBC1’s great hope for Sunday-night drama. Leading a cast that includes Pam Ferris, Jenny Agutter and Miranda Hart, Raine is in fine company. That she shines is testament to her star wattage.

Kayvan Novak

Last seen on TV as a scurrilous tabloid journalist impersonating Desmond Tutu in Channel 4’s Hacks, Novak has long carved a career on the more cult-y fringes of British telly – not least as the brains behind Channel 4’s Fonejacker and Facejacker – before moving more mainstream in paramedic comedy drama Sirens. The biggest of our rising stars, he won best comedy performance in a film at the 2011 British Comedy Awards for his role in Chris Morris’s Four Lions.

Twitter: @KayvanNovak

Kyle Soller

The striking Soller is yet to grace television but rest assured that his award-winning stage career ensures it’s only a matter of time. For his roles in The Faith Machine at the Royal Court, and The Government Inspector and The Glass Menagerie at the Young Vic, the Rada-trained American won Outstanding Newcomer at the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Awards. And he’ll shortly be seen in Joe “Atonement” Wright’s new take on Anna Karenina with Keira Knightley.

Damien Molony

Stepping into sultry Aidan Turner’s shoes on Toby Whithouse’s Being Human would be hard for anyone, but the fact that Damien Molony is a fellow Irishman makes comparisons all the more treacherous. Happily, Molony is such a sufficiently captivating actor in his own right that Turner’s turn will soon be but a distant memory to fans of BBC3’s fangtastic drama. (Sorry.) If you need further proof of Molony’s cojones, he appears in Nicholas Wright’s Travelling Light at the National Theatre from next week, directed by one Nicholas Hytner.

Twitter: @damienmolony

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

From BBC2’s The Night Watch to Sky1’s The Café, Waller-Bridge’s telly credentials are as impressive as they are different. Add roles in Abi Morgan’s Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady and in Albert Nobbs alongside Glenn Close and, on top of an enviable theatre CV, Waller-Bridge has a stonking foundation for an illustrious career.

Lauren O’Neil

A mere year after O’Neil graduated from drama school in 2009, she was on stage at the National in Thomas Middleton’s tragedy Women Beware Women with Harriet Walter, Great Expectations’s Vanessa Kirby and The History Boys’s Samuel Barnett (handling herself with aplomb, thank you for asking). Since then, she’s appeared in Doctors, Lewis, Being Human, and Law & Order: UK. Even greater things will surely follow.

Pippa Bennett-Warner

Currently playing Queen Isabel to Eddie Redmayne’s conniving king Richard II at the Donmar, Bennett-Warner is, at the ripe age of 23, an old hand when it comes to Shakespeare, having played Cordelia to Derek Jacobi’s King Lear. Proving that she’s nothing if not versatile, she’s also appeared in David Walliams and Matt Lucas’s Come Fly with Me.


Twitter: @pbennettwarner