MCM: Harry Hadden-Paton


He’s not exactly “candy,” but when I saw Harry Hadden-Paton in My Fair Lady on stage this spring, I was quite impressed. Having previously just seen him in bit parts in a lot of frock flicks, he seemed credible but just another character actor. But his training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art really shines through in the theater where he’s been nominated for a Tony Award and has performed in productions of Shakespeare and Wilde, as well as musicals. Still, we don’t review theater here, it’s not our jam, so let’s acknowledge the onscreen work he does to pay the bills!


Doug Davis in La Vie en Rose (2007)

Harry Hadden-Paton, La Vie en Rose (2007)

Davis was an American artist who accompanied Edith Piaf in the 1950s, & there are a bunch of pix of the pair exiting an airplane like this — so I’m guessing that’s Hadden-Paton as Davis on the stairs.

Harry Hadden-Paton, La Vie en Rose (2007)

Again, guessing this is Piaf & Davis since it’s in New York. Sorry, I haven’t seen this one, & he has a small role!


Jackie Jackson in The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

Harry Hadden-Paton, The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

The look Harry Hadden-Paton is giving Tom Hiddleston is HI-LAR-IOUS!

Harry Hadden-Paton, The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

Fun guys!


Sir Henry Green in The Hollow Crown: Richard II (2012)

Harry Hadden-Paton, The Hollow Crown: Richard II (2012)

As one of the king’s councillors who gets beheaded, alas.


Bertie Pelham in Downton Abbey (2014-15)

Harry Hadden-Paton, Downton Abbey (2014-15)

Twu wuv with Edith!

Harry Hadden-Paton, Downton Abbey (2014-15)

Thanks to Bertie, she gets to be a Marchioness & outranks her bitchy sister!


Gaston de Foix in Versailles (2017)

Harry Hadden-Paton, Versailles (2017)

Hadden-Paton has a degree in French from Durham University, which helped him both get into this role & communicate with staff on set.

Harry Hadden-Paton, Versailles (2017)

He played a small part in the Affair of the Poisons storyline & got a bit of romance too.


Martin Charteris in The Crown (2016-17)

Harry Hadden-Paton, The Crown (2016-17)

Charteris was a real person who started as Private Secretary to Princess Elizabeth, then was Assistant Private Secretary when she became Queen.


Bertie Hexham in Downton Abbey: The Movie (2019)

Harry Hadden-Paton, Downton Abbey: The Movie (2019)

Bertie’s possible royal assignment gave this couple a tiny bit of plot for this movie.


Bertie Hexham in Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022)

Harry Hadden-Paton, Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022)

They had no particular reason to visit the Dowager Countess’s new villa in this flick, except they’d look good in ’20s sportswear.

Harry Hadden-Paton - Getty Images

But I gotta note how awesome Harry Hadden-Paton dressed for the red carpet premiere of the Downton movie sequel! Photo via Getty Images.


Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (2022)

Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady (2022)

He starred in the 2018 Broadway revival and was nominated for a Tony. The same staging came to London in 2022, & I think he’s a better singer than Rex Harrison!



What’s your favorite frock flick role of Harry Hadden-Paton’s?

17 Responses

  1. Gail

    He was a great Higgins, especially to Laura Benanti’s Eliza (yes I saw it more than once…). He has great stage acting chops. And a much better singer than Rex Harrison … he made the role his own.

  2. Moriah

    I thought he was great as Higgins – I saw the production three times! I hope they eventually release a filmed version of his My Fair Lady. (Pretty PBS showed The King and I, which was also in that same theater in Lincoln Center, so it’s possible).

  3. M.E. Lawrence

    All the “Downton” suitors kind of run together in my mind, but HH-P was fine in “The Crown.” More important, he knows how to wear a fedora! And tennis whites.

  4. hsc

    “I think he’s a better singer than Rex Harrison!”

    Wow. This is practically a dictionary definition of “damning with faint praise.”

    Though given the general regard for Harrison’s overall performance in the role, I guess it’s not quite as bad as “a better singer than William Shatner!” or “a better singer than Lee Marvin!” ;-)

    • Trystan L. Bass

      The role doesn’t ask for much actual singing, & Harrison is widely praised for what he did do with it. I was honestly impressed that Hadden-Paton improved on the original (also, looking at HHP’s resume, I don’t see a ton of singing roles, so it’s not like he’s best known for musical theater).

      • hsc

        “The role doesn’t ask for much actual singing, & Harrison is widely praised for what he did do with it.”

        First of all, note the “wink-smile” emoji at the end of my comment. Not saying that you intended to criticize HH-P’s performance, and you don’t need to defend him.

        But actually, Harrison is widely known as a non-singer who has a minute vocal range that required him to perform the role in a Sprechstimme voice– rhythmically reciting the lyrics in sync with the melody.

        And Harrison is also notable for having been unable to perform the lyrics the same way twice, requiring both MFL and the subsequent musical DOCTOR DOOLITTLE (1967) to shoot his numbers live on set, rather than post-synching the vocals as is usually done. It created major hassles on both films.

        So while Rex Harrison is widely praised for his theater and film performances as Henry Higgins– and I completely agree– he’s also notorious as a non-singer who talked his way through musical numbers, and therefore a very low bar to improve on purely in singing ability.

        And all that said, I’d love to see Harry Hadden-Paton’s take on the role.

  5. Lily Lotus Rose

    Oh, dear. Trystan, was it fair to begin his post with, “He’s not exactly ‘candy'”? Can we let him have his sexy moment without that caveat–a caveat I think applies to about 5-7% of the MCM choices without outright saying so?** Anyway, I think he’s got a little something, something (and that little bit is definitely augmented in my opinion by his francophone skills). Beyond his looks, he’s definitely a good actor. I loved him in The Crown and all the iterations of Downton Abbey thus far–and yes, he and the whole cast looked lovely in tennis whites. As someone else noted, saying his singing voice is better than Rex Harrison’s, well…that’s not saying much. I didn’t know about his role in My Fair Lady on stage, and I, too, hope PBS will air a Great Performances episode of it. Also, I now want to see him the film with Tom Hiddleston; it looks fun. Thanks for including the red carpet photo. He looks so sassy. I love sassy. Good MCM choice!

    **I feel like I already know your answer to this one! “It’s my opinion, and I’ll say what I want!” ;)

  6. MrsC (Maryanne)

    Oh wish I could get to London to see this. For a start he’s not creepily much older than Eliza, there’s no reason for HH to be in his 50s or 60s, he’s just curmudgeonly.

    • hsc

      Leslie Howard’s performance as Higgins in the pre-MFL adaptation of Shaw’s original play PYGMALION (1938) is a bit closer to HH-P in the role, age/looks-wise– he was 44 or 45 at the time, compared to HH-P at 38 and 41.

      (Oddly, while Howard’s Eliza, Wendy Hiller, was only 25 or 26 when she did the role, she had a sort of odd “maturity” to her features that made the 19-year age difference less glaring than that of Harrison with either Andrews or Hepburn.)

      Harrison was 48 when he first did MFL on stage, and 55 or 56 when he did the film– and 73 when he did the role in a 1981 B’way revival!

      All this said, we should recognize that age doesn’t automatically diminish attractiveness in either sex.

      But the constant one-way film pairing of older male/younger female romantic leads with almost no examples of the reverse– to say nothing of the resultant putting of still-attractive actresses “out to pasture” after age 40– is beyond exasperating.

      • Karen K.

        100% about women losing roles after 40. I saw an article about Anne Heche last week and her role in the HBO series Hung. There was a quote from the co-creator about how it was “incredibly difficult to find beautiful, talented, funny women over 35.” What. The. Hell. And this was a FEMALE creator!

  7. Karen K.

    I also saw this on stage in 2018, HHP was wonderful, such a great production. I also loved him in DA, so nice that Edith was happy. I still haven’t watched the sequel but they do look fabulous in those 1920s outfits!