WCW: Jessie Buckley


British actress Jessie Buckley is a rising star and an impressively talented actress. To me, however, she will always be a contestant on I’d Do Anything (2008), the American Idol-style singing contest show in which actresses competed in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber to star in his forthcoming production of Oliver! The show was excellent entertainment for dorks like me, although nothing will top How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?, the predecessor that cast Maria for The Sound of Music (Team Connie all the way! Who I had the joy of then seeing on stage in the role in London the following year). Shockingly, Buckley DIDN’T win, but she did come close. Since then, she’s done a number of stage and screen performances that are getting rave reviews. Let’s take a look at her historical costume roles!


2008 I'd Do Anything

Oh the terrible Nancy costumes in I’d Do Anything

2008 I'd Do Anything

She came second. Blame the frizz?


Endeavour (2012)

Set in the 1960s and 1970s, this is a prequel to the Inspector Morse series. Buckley played “Kitty Batten” in one episode.

2012 Endeavour


Amadeus (2014)

A stage production, but she looks good as Constanze!

2014 Amadeus

Cute ruches, even if there’s a lot of them!


The Tempest (2014)

As Miranda in the Shakespeare Globe production, which was televised.

2014 The Tempest



Branagh Theatre Live: The Winter’s Tale (2015)

More live televised theater, more Shakespeare! Buckley plays Perdita.

2015 Branagh Theatre Live- The Winter's Tale

Bucolic Edwardian setting, I assume?

2015 Branagh Theatre Live- The Winter's Tale

You just KNOW there were Morris dancers in this.


War & Peace (2016)

Performance-wise, she was great as kind Marya in the famous 1800s-10s set Russian story. Her costumes were tragic, however (not her fault).

2016 War and Peace ep 4

I’m still not over the elastic nylon lace and the mitts.

War and Peace (2016)

The world’s limpest bust.

War and Peace (2016)

Occasionally things improved!

2016 War and Peace ep 3

But then they went back to sad trombone.


Taboo (2017)

As actress Lorna Bow in this gritty Regency story.

Taboo (2017)

It’s all very dark, but Lorna’s costumes were intricate (if hard to see).

Taboo (2017)

One of those shows that LOVES backlighting.

Taboo (2017)

Random pig-man!

Taboo (2017)

Nice outerwear.


The Last Post (2017)

Set during the Aden Emergency/Radfan Uprising in 1963-67 South Arabia. Buckley plays the wife of a British army officer.

2017 The Last Post

Cute prints!

2017 The Last Post

Very Grace Kelly.

2017 The Last Post


The Woman in White (2018)

An adaptation of the 1860 ghost story by Wilkie Collins. Buckley plays Marian Halcombe.

2018 The Woman in White

I’m getting a strong independent woman vibe here? (C) Origin Pictures

2018 The Woman in White

Or artist? I don’t know, haven’t seen/read it!

2018 The Woman in White

VERY menswear-inspired.


Chernobyl (2019)

Not a frock flick, but Buckley was stunning as a real-life Russian woman who’s husband is exposed to radiation during the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

2019 Chernobyl


Fargo (2020)

This season was set in 1950 as two crime syndicates vie for control. Buckley plays “Oraetta Mayflower, a deceptively cheerful nurse” per Wikipedia.

2020 Fargo 2020 Fargo


Misbehaviour (2020)

Feminists protest the 1970 Miss America contest. Buckley plays one of them.

2020 Misbehaviour

Yep, that’s Ruby Bentall of Poldark in the middle!

2020 Misbehaviour

Getting our hippie dippie on!


The Courier (2020)

Based on the true story of Greville Wynne, a British businessman (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is recruited to spy against the Russians. Buckley plays his smart and long-suffering wife.

2020 The Courier 2020 The Courier



What’s your favorite of Jessie Buckley’s frock flick roles?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

12 Responses

  1. Desire Shea

    Marian in the woman in white is the independent woman sort of character. They main male hero, though, is an artist.

  2. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    I loved “I’d Do Anything,” and I thought the actress who won was great, but I’m happy to see both Jessie Buckley and Samantha Barks thriving. The Courier was interesting, although I’m not sure why they made Rachel Brosnahan’s character an American.

  3. William Bailie

    I think that Chernobyl is worthy of being an exception to your cut-off date for reviews. The designers put a great deal of work into getting the look and feel of 1980s USSR, and as you’ve mentioned elsewhere (WCW for Emily Watson) it is a very good and important miniseries.

    And I know it’s definitely not a Frock Flick, but I was very impressed with Jessie Buckley’s performance in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

  4. Melanie

    Agreed, Chernobyl is an exceptional series. I first saw Jessie in War & Peace (which I still love even though the costumes are cringe), and I was so happy to see her getting a lot more roles after her wonderful performance!

    Sadly, The Woman in White goes off the rails when they introduce sexual tension between Marian and Count Fosco, who is supposed to be MUCH older and definitely not a hottie.

  5. Lily Lotus Rose

    I’m binging Endeavour now and just watched her episode a few nights ago. She was good. She was also good in what I saw of the Woman and White – I only caught some of it on live TV. Gotta see the whole thing, but she was good in that too. I really want to see Misbehaviour. The score to the film (available through Hoopla) is awesome. Will it be released in the States?

    I don’t know why exactly but this line tickles my soul: “You just KNOW there were Morris dancers in this.” YES. I agree!!