It’s funny, I’d seen British actor James Norton in a MILLION things, but didn’t really recognize his talent until I saw him in modern-set Happy Valley. Now I go back and realize he’s been great in a million different frock flicks, and given strong performances in most of them. AND he’s frequently a (dirty) blonde, so more proof that I’m not an anti-blonde! (It’s a thing of which I have been accused).
Let’s run down Norton’s historical movie/TV resume:
An Education (2009)
His first screen credit is as “Student” in this 1960s-set film.
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012)
As the groom in this 1930s-set not so cheerful film about a wedding, opposite Felicity Jones.
A World War II spy story.
As Oliver Ashford, to whom Dido is engaged for a time, in this 18th century-set film based on a true story.
A late 1920s-set comedy adaptation of some P.G. Wodehouse novels; Norton is in one, pig-centric episode.
Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
He plays Henry Alveston, a lawyer in love with Georgiana Darcy, who helps out when Wickham gets into legal trouble.
Mr. Turner (2014)
He’s a clarinet player (why? I have no idea) in this biopic about artist J.M.W. Turner.
Northmen: A Viking Saga (2014)
I was initially hoping this was Norsemen, but no dice. This one is about an exiled group of Vikings stranded in Scotland. Turner plays Bjorn, which just makes me think of Björn Ulvaeus from Abba.
The Great War: The People’s Story (2014)
A British docu-drama about World War I.
A British detective story set in the 1950s, which I had no idea was period. Norton plays a vicar who solves crimes.
A supernatural thriller set in Victorian London; Norton plays “Harry.”
Life in Squares (2015)
HOW has Trystan not reviewed this BBC miniseries about the Bloomsbury Group? Norton plays painter and designer Duncan Grant (1885-1978).
To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters (2016)
Norton played the Duke of Wellington in this biopic about the Brontë sisters, but I think his (small) part may have been cut?
War and Peace (2016)
His character (Prince Andrei Bolkonsky) annoyed me in this BBC adaptation of the famous Napoleonic Wars/Russia novels, but I admit he looked great and his performance was strong.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2015)
As the disabled war veteran husband of the titular Lady Chatterley.
Little Women (2019)
As John Brooke, tutor to Laurie and eventual courter of Beth March, in Yet Another Adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel.
Mr. Jones (2019)
Norton plays a real life journalist who exposed a horrible famine going on in 1930s Ukraine.
The Trial of Christine Keeler (2019-20)
A miniseries about a major British political scandal in the 1960s. Norton plays a doctor who plays a pivotal role in getting things going.
The Nevers (2021)
A historically set (1890s) story about specially gifted (as in magical abilities) people living in London. Norton plays Hugo Swann, “an aristocratic pansexual young man, who owns a private club and specializes in extortion” (per Wikipedia).
What’s your favorite of James Norton’s frock flick roles?
As with Henry Cavill, I see James Norton, and a happy sigh immediately follows, along with a drop in my blood pressure.
Henry was ALL I saw in The Count of Monte Cristo, Guy Pearce be damned. I don’t apply the word “beautiful” to many men, but most assuredly I apply it to him.
He is unbelievably beautiful in Grantchester. My mother and I refer to that series as ‘Reverend Gorgeous’.
It’s those sleepy eyes with the sort of swollen under lids–possibly the ultimate bedroom eyes of our generation. Good actor, too–did anyone here see Norton playing against type in “Happy Valley”? A very scary gent, but still gorgeous.
He was gorgeous but creepy in “Happy Valley”..He said he used to get fan mail saying, “take me to your cellar”, which upset him as he was a murdering rapist and didn’t want to project that kind of appeal
I had to work out that he was the same actor in Grantchester as in Happy Valley, where he is just plain evil, as opposed to flawed and lovable.
Mind, Robson Green is also a Hottie McHottiepants..
Oddly enough, this was the only show my mother and I watch together. For… reasons.
aka “The Hot Vicar”
Wasn’t John Brooke the eventual courter and husband of Meg, rather than Beth?
Yes. Beth is too busy dying to be courted.
Andrei Bolkonsky annoys the heck out of me in the book, so it was perfectly right and proper fro him to do so in the series. Same with Natasha.) His green* infantry officer’s uniform was pretty good (not brilliantly tailored, but not done wrong); his white-and-silver one is pure fantasy. It’s actually a copy of a present-day full-dress British court and diplomatic uniform (the embroidery was introduced in 1820 by George IV, who modelled it on the uniforms of Napoleon’s marshal’s – Georgie Porgie adored French military fashion) but done in silver on white instead of gold on navy blue.
At first I was mystified by this fantasy Prince Charming outfit; the costume designers clearly knew what Andrei’s uniform was, so why? But finally I think I figured it out. Natasha’s ‘love’ for Andrei is actually an infatuation for a Prince Charming who exists purely in her imagination, who she identifies, absurdly, with this grumpy, straitlaced, father-dominated, provincial soldier. This vision in silver and white isn’t the real him, but how she sees him when he rescues her from her wallflowerhood on the edge of the ballroom and whirls her on to the floor at her first-ever grand ball.
*Random fun fact: during the Occupation of Paris by the Allies after the fall of Napoleon, the Parisians called the Russians ‘les cornichons’ on account of their gherkin-green coats.
Grantchester, unequivocally. A hot vicar who runs along the river, scythes the churchyard shirtless, strips down to his swim trunks, and enjoys sex? What the dickens?!
MCMom…I totally second everything you wrote and am now thinking, “WHY wasn’t that the tagline for the series?!?!”
I’m the opposite. I found his character on Grantchester annoying and unlikeable, and I’ve never found James Norton to be particularly attractive (thought I am dying to watch Mr. Smith). The new guy, Will Davenport, is the only hot vicar I need.
Joni, yes, the new vicar is also a total SNACK. My cousin and I are Grantchester fans and by Sidney’s last episode she was totally outdone with him and over it. I get why he doesn’t appeal to all. Alas, he still appealed to me–which probably had as much to do with James Norton’s overwhelming hotness as the character of Sidney Chambers.
That picture of him sleeveless in Northmen, with his arms showing…are there any others like that? And the one of him in the navy trunks is nice too. Thank you. fans myself, fans the rest of the readers
I know this blog is dedicated to nitpicking costumes, not vehicles, but I have to point out that NO WAY is that a 1930s bus in the second Mr Jones picture. Try 1950s.
I’ve only seen one episode of Grantchester; wasn’t thrilled. I quite liked Life In Squares.
First of all, James Norton is one of the most GORGEOUS men on planet earth!!!! Thanks for this Man Candy Monday feature. I’ve been a fan of his since season one of Grantchester and have seen a good bit of his work, but there are several things here that I’d never heard of. For me, my favorite of his Frock Flick roles is a tie between Sidney Chambers in Grantchester and, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Lord Hugo Swan in The Nevers (a show I learned of on this blog).
To Kendra: Just a heads up–Mr. Jones is VERY slow and EXTREMELY bleak. Ditto for Life in Squares (of which I could only make it through one episode). Also, I’m 97% sure that the second picture you posted for Northmen: A Viking Saga is of Tom Hooper (who is also a hottie), not of James Norton.
Ok, now I’m off to add more James Norton pics to my queue. Awesome way to start the week!
Do you know, I wondered that when the photo came up! I haven’t seen Northmen, but I mused, that looks like the guy from Black Sails! I hadn’t realized how alike they look.
First saw him in Happy Valley. Great performance, but, alas, not a frock flick. RE Life in Squares – on my watch list. I think his pants are baggy because he is an artsy type, but then there are Oxford Bags — https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/oxford-bags-pants.
The first thing I saw him in was Happy Valley. I had real trouble getting into Grantchester because I couldn’t shake off the heebie jeebies from him in Happy Valley. I eventually did, and happily so. I did see Death Comes to Pemberley but I don’t remember much about it. I guess it was fine? I remember liking Anna Maxwell Martin’s hats.
Re: Walk Invisible
His part’s not cut, but it is a bit of a blink and you’ll miss it.
It’s right at the beginning, where they’re playing with the ‘toy soldiers’ – and writing their first stories about Gondal etc.
(That really weird bit where the Bronte children are depicted with flames above their heads’.
Late to the party here, but I HATED his performances in Grantchester and War & Peace. I thought he was SO bland in War & Peace in particular (and it didn’t help that Paul Dano was in it as well, and I have an irrational turn-off from that guy). I almost didn’t watch The Nevers because I thought he played a larger part. As it turns out, he doesn’t have as prominent a role there, and it’s a shame, because he’s really great. Not to mention he gets some of the best costuming because he’s both a member of the aristocracy and the founder and organizer of an underground sex club. So terribly disappointed that they got hit by the COVID hiatus and we have to wait for Part 2 of the Season 1 Finale. I really got sucked into that show even though it’s typical Joss Whedon mind-f**kery and will likely get canceled soon.
YES! Him as Hugo Swann in Nevers was yummy. Shame he was kind of a douche.