MCM: Hugh Dancy


For a while there, British actor Hugh Dancy was a mainstay of period film and TV, starring in productions like Daniel Deronda and Elizabeth I. But he hasn’t done a period film since 2015, and I miss him! So I was glad to see that he’s going to be in the second Downton Abbey movie, currently filming. Let’s take a look back at Dancy’s many frock flick roles!


The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1998)

Filmed in Lithuania, in the same vein as Xena: Warrior Princess, you get the drill. Dancy plays “Kyle,” which, LOL.

1998 The New Adventures of Robin Hood


1998 The New Adventures of Robin Hood

Although I have no idea what’s going on here, and neither does he, it appears.


David Copperfield (2000)

As the titular David Copperfield in this Charles Dickens adaptation.

2000 David Copperfield

Good lord, that floppy hair and that cravat!

2000 David Copperfield

You just KNOW he was contractually obligated to keep that hair!

2000 David Copperfield



Madame Bovary (2000)

As “Leon” — maybe Madame’s lover? It’s been a while since I’ve seen a version — opposite Frances O’Connor in this BBC adaptation.

2000 Madame Bovary

One look at that bonnet and I’m out.


Young Blades (2001)

A young-cast version of The Three Musketeers. Looks like Snark Week fodder! Dancy plays D’Artagnan.

2001 Young Blades

Buckle your swashes, ladies and gents.

2001 Young Blades

Aw, he’s trying to grow some peach fuzz!

2001 Young Blades


Daniel Deronda (2002)

As the title character, an illegitimate aristocrat torn between two women.

2002 Daniel Deronda

He’s dapper!

2002 Daniel Deronda

He’s kind!

Daniel Deronda (2002), Hugh Dancy as Daniel Deronda

He wants to save ALL THE LAY-DEEZE!


The Sleeping Dictionary (2003)

Per IMDB: “a young Englishman who is sent to Sarawak [Malaysia] in the 1930s to become part of the British colonial government. There he encounters some unorthodox local traditions, and finds himself faced with tough decisions of the heart involving a beautiful young local woman [played by Jessica Alba HA] who becomes the object of his affections.” Sounds atrocious.

2003 The Sleeping Dictionary

Shorter hair, still cute!

2003 The Sleeping Dictionary

Alba is of very mixed ancestry, but she’s not Asian in the least.


Ella Enchanted (2004)

Total fantasy, but I’m including it nonetheless. Hugh plays the romantic lead, Prince Charmont.

2004 Ella Enchanted

That’s a TERRIBLE vest.

2004 Ella Enchanted

But it’s fantasy, so.


King Arthur (2004)

I have zero memory of Dancy being in this, but it was a deeply shitty movie, so. He played Galahad.

2004 King Arthur

Trying for gritty!

2004 King Arthur

oooo knee!

2004 King Arthur

Don’t panic, this is behind the scenes. Actors gotta hydrate.


Elizabeth I (2005)

As the real-life nitwit the Earl of Essex, who was one of Queen Elizabeth I’s major flirtations, in the Helen Mirren miniseries.

2005 Elizabeth I

Okay, I’d flirt with him too.

2005 Elizabeth I

Softly brush those curls out of his eyes…

2005 Elizabeth I

But it’s important to remember WHO IS THE QUEEN

Mike O'Neill - Elizabeth I (2005)

Essex was the son of the Earl of Leicester, here played by Jeremy Irons.


Evening (2007)

Dancy plays “Buddy” (I think the groom?) in the 1950s wedding flashback scenes of this Made for Your Mom film.

Evening 2007 Evening 2007


Hysteria (2011)

As a young doctor trying to treat female “hysteria” with vibrators in this late Victorian comedy.

2011 Hysteria

That, my friends, is the equivalent of a man giving a hand job.

2011 Hysteria

Being cute with Rupert Everett!

2011 Hysteria

Starch that collar!

2011 Hysteria


Deadline Gallipoli (2015)

The Gallipoli campaign during World War I from the perspective of several real-life journalists, including Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett (Dancy).

2015 Deadline Gallipoli

War is serious business!

2015 Deadline Gallipoli


2015 Deadline Gallipoli

So growed up with that perfectly-of-the-period mustache.


Downton Abbey 2 (coming soon)

Dancy is joining the cast, but we don’t yet know who he’s playing!

Downton Abbey 2

He’s dressed very grandfatherly… this doesn’t bode well.



Which is your favorite of Hugh Dancy’s frock flick roles? No, Hannibal doesn’t count!

12 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Essex wasn’t Robert Dudley’s son, but step-son. Essex’s mom was Lettice Knollts, a cousin of Elizabeth I.
    My favourites are Daniel Deronda and Elizabeth.

    • Roxana

      As near as I can tell the only reason to watch that turkey is to eat the manly eye candy!

      • Hooley

        There’s a lot of it — Clive Owen, Mads Mikelson, Ioan Gruffudd, Mr. Dancy, Stephen Dillane, and more, but despite all of that, all I can remember from that turkey was the stupidity of Keira Knightly’s character, costume, and performance. So I wouldn’t watch it.

    • Coco

      Mads Mikkelsen was suggested by Dancy to play Hannibal Lecter, because they met on the King Arthur set.

  2. Natasha Rubin

    I have a lot of love for Daniel Deronda, not just because it’s a great story with great costumes, but because it’s so dang rare to see positive portrayals of Jews in period dramas and classic lit. And Hugh Dancy was great (and ridiculously pretty!) in it.

    Ella Enchanted on the other hand is a travesty of an adaptation that is best forgotten by the universe. But that’s not Dancy’s fault, of course.

  3. Constance

    I loved him in Hysteria, which is a pretty good if light-hearted movie…and then you get Rupert as well.

  4. Lily Lotus Rose

    Ok, I must be one of twelve people who liked King Arthur. It was a fun romp, and the cast was chock-full of fine men. That said, I have no memory of Hugh Dancy in it. He’s definitely dreamy-ish. He’s in one of my favorite movies–not a FrockFlick–The Jane Austen Book Club. He’s absolutely adorable in it. I’m SOOO EXCITED for more Downton Abbey!!!