Rupert Giles, played by British actor and musician Tony Head, is one of the original core four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Giles is not your typical high school librarian. Well, he is, but he is also a vampire slayer trainer called a Watcher. He’s faithful ’til the end, but eventually has to leave to let Buffy grow up and start handling life on her own. He is friends with another British Watcher called Ethan Rayne, played by the recently departed Robin Sachs.
Wesley Wyndom-Price (Brit, Alexis Denisof) joined Angel in season two, perhaps as a desperate attempt to drag some of the Buffy fans over to the spin-off. Because everybody knows that taking the two most obnoxious characters–Cordelia and Wesley–from the first show and moving them over to the spin-off is a good reason to switch over. Luckily, the writers were clever enough to give both Cordy and Wesley deeper, more human traits, and both of them, surprisingly, wind up being decent people you want to tune in to watch.
Badger, a favorite of the bunch, is a petty criminal in Firefly, fancies himself a gentleman with his very fine hat. He’s one of the few enemies that pops up in more than one episode, making his debut in the Serenity pilot, and returning to hold the crew captive in Shindig. River describes him as “a sad little king of a sad little hill.” Originally, Whedon himself was set for the role, but (luckily, in my opinion) they found Englishman Mark Sheppard to take it on.
After a few pointers on how to do a British accent from Tony Head, American James Marsters stepped in to the role of Spike, the Buffyverse’s Billy Idol-esque vampire with a conscience ever in flux. He arrives on the scene with crazy Dru on his arm, gets abandoned, has a short stint with Harmony and stealing a magic ring, and ultimately winds up in love with Buffy and tamed by a chip in his head that prevents violence.
Drusilla, or Dru, is Spike’s nutcase of a vampiric girlfriend, who is scarier than the rest of the vampire quartet (Angelus, Darla, and Spike) just by virtue of being so unhinged. Played by LA-born Juliet Landau, daughter of Martin Landau, Dru manages to survive the series simply by being scarce when warranted…except when conjured by evil law firm Wolfram and Hart to re-sire a reanimated Darla, but even then, she’s smart enough not to hang around for long.
Doyle, or Alan Francis Doyle as we learn from his wife, is half Irishman half demon. He has a soft spot for the ex-cheerleading airhead with good intentions, Cordelia Chase, but of course they don’t share their first kiss until right before he sacrifices himself to save others. Doyle’s always brought to mind the character from Angel’s past, Whistler, and perhaps was originally meant to be. Sadly, actor Glenn Quinn passed away not long after he left the show. In a much later season, Angel did a little tribute moment to the character to commemorate the actor’s death.
Angry that we missed your favorite British or Irish character in the Whedonverse? Complain in comments!
If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not read That Guy’s article on Spike?