Meet the period drama dreamboats…the sexiest men in television period dramas. Hang on to your petticoats and fasten your corsets!
1. Colin Firth
Pride and Prejudice, 1995
Back in 1995, the BBC screened a six-part adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice. The show’s romantic hero, Mr Darcy, was played by actor Colin Firth. He had tousled locks, a smouldering gaze, and wore his cravat with effortless sex appeal. Mr Darcy was Mr Desirable.
Sexiest line: I would be very happy if you’d do me the honour of dancing with me, Miss Bennet.
2. Matthew McNulty
Jamaica Inn, 2014
As the horse-thief Jem Merlyn, actor Matthew McNulty moped and sulked his way through this most recent BBC adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 novel, Jamaica Inn. But he moped and sulked with charm, charisma and magnetism. No one could rock a leather hat and dirty old jacket like the handsome, dark-eyed Matthew.
Sexiest line: ‘He stole horses’ you’ll say to yourself, ‘and he didn’t care for women; and but for my pride I’d have been with him now’.
3. Aidan Turner
All Ross Poldark wanted was to run a successful tin mine. But that was no easy task in 18th century Cornwall, and his attempts to run his business smoothly were thwarted at every turn by smugglers and by his enemies. Throw unrequited love into the mix and it’s not hard to see why life was so tough for poor Ross. Enter actor Aidan Turner. In the role of Ross Poldark, Aidan couldn’t smoulder any more without setting himself on fire.
Sexiest line: One only has to taste her syllabubs to know their succulence.
4. Henry Cavill
The Tudors, 2007
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, was nothing if not flawed. He cheated on his first wife, he was lazy and he was headstrong. But he had a romantic soul, was highly principled in matters of state, and was fiercely loyal to his best friend, the king. In the role of the dashing duke was handsome Henry. And this wouldn’t be the last time the actor was required to wear man-tights. He had them on again when he played Superman in the 2013 film, Man of Steel.
Sexiest line: I’ve always been drawn to a phrase used by French peasants: Praise the God of all, drink the wine and let the world be the world.
5. Clive Standen
When the famous warrior Ragnor became king of the Vikings no one was happier than his brother, the bearded and hairy-chested Rollo. But as Ragnor’s power increased, so Rollo grew jealous. Should Rollo support his brother…or try to win the Viking crown for himself? Much of the first series of Vikings, aired in 2013, delves deep into the hearts and minds of these two men. But luckily for us, there was still plenty of time for Rollo, aka British actor Clive Standen, to whip his shirt off and wave his huge axe around.
Sexiest line: I wanted to step out of your shadow…but when I stepped out of the doors, there was no sunlight.
6. Jeremy Piven
Mr Selfridge, 2013
American actor Jeremy Piven plays Harry Selfridge in this ITV series about the founder of the famous London shop. And as the series is set in the early 1900s, Jeremy gets to wear all sorts of suits, hats, ties and cravats. All of which turn him into a very dapper looking gent. He’s a man you’d want to go shopping with.
Sexiest line: People, not figures, are the difference between success and failure.
7. François Arnaud
The Borgias, 2011
Cesare Borgia was handsome, dashing and chivalrous. And so he was the perfect part for actor François Arnaud when the Borgia family saga was turned into a telly series in 2011. François filled Cesare’s shoes well. And carried off the revealing medieval man-tights with aplomb. But beware! Behind Cesare’s cherubic cheeks and deep blue eyes was a vicious and ruthless streak. This was a man who’ll stop at nothing to protect his family’s honour.
Sexiest line: Is it murder to defend your mother’s honour?
8. James Norton
War and Peace, 2016
Prince Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky isn’t one to wear his heart on his sleeve. He’s a man of few words, but his feelings run deep. And so, when his heart is broken by the childish and easily-infatuated Natasha Rostova, he finds it hard to get over it. But how would anyone want to break the heart of a man as handsome as this?
Sexiest line: Nastasha, I love you too much. More than anything in the world.
9. Alexander Dreymon
The Last Kingdom, 2015
The warrior Uhtred knows his way around a sword. Which is a good thing, considering the amount of fighting he and his fellow Saxon warriors have on their hands against the invading Danes. But when he’s not hard at work fighting on the side of Alfred the Great, Uhtred enjoys the company of a woman…and the stronger a person she is, the better! What he looks for in a partner is that she has the ‘spirit of an eagle’. Best get flapping those wings, then.
Sexiest line: I am Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and I shall take what is mine!
And just for good measure…
Which of these period drama dreamboats is your fave?