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Gillian Anderson's most dramatic TV transformations - from Emily Maitlis to Margaret Thatcher

There's a reason she has an OBE for her services to drama...

Gillian Anderson stars in SCOOP
Orion Scott
Fashion Features Writer
21 March 2024
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If there’s one famed face who can shapeshift like no one else it's American-born actress (though we claim her as our own) Gillian Anderson

Known for her stand-out roles as sex-positive therapist in Netflix’s Sex Education and Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, Gillian takes her on-screen roles very seriously, often morphing into character so well she becomes somewhat unrecognizable. 

In honour of Gillian Anderson’s dedication to the silver screen, we take a look at her most dramatic TV transformations from over the years. 

Eleanor Roosevelt, The First Lady

Gillian Anderson playing Eleanor Roosevelt in 'The First Lady'© The First Lady - Showtime
Gillian Anderson playing Eleanor Roosevelt in 'The First Lady'
Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941© Getty
Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941

In the 2022 drama series The First Lady Gillian plays the role of Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady of the United States. Gillian embodies the role perfectly, donning Eleanor’s signature curl pinup hairstyle and respectable demeanour. On screen, she is joined by the likes of Viola Davis, who plays Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, resulting in a star-studded affair of powerful women playing powerful women. 

Margret Thatcher, The Crown

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in 'The Crown'© Netflix 2020, Inc
Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in 'The Crown'
Margaret Thatcher outside 10 Downing Street in 1979© Getty
Margaret Thatcher outside 10 Downing Street in 1979

One of the actress' most outstanding transformations was when she played the United Kingdom's former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Netflix’s The Crown. Gillian, who is known for her convincing British accent despite returning to the US when she was 11 years old, effortlessly took the role to all-new heights. Throughout the series, Gillian dresses in exact replicas of Margaret's iconic two-piece suit and silk scarf ensembles. 

Emily Maitlis, Scoop

Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis© Netflix
Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis
Emily Maitlis, broadcaster, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019 on October 5, 2019 in Cheltenham, England© Getty
Emily Maitlis in 2019

As we wait in anticipation for the show to drop on April 5th, sneak previews of Netflix’s new drama series Scoop show Gillian take on the role of British journalist Emily Maitlist. The new flick tells the story of that notorious Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew that made headlines in 2019. This role is Gillian's latest transformation and is the first time she has embodied a persona that is still alive in the real world. In the trailer, Gillian can be seen donning the same red dress and dog-shaped pendant necklace Emily Maitlist wore to interview the royal.

It's become very clear that there's a reason Gillian has an OBE for her services to drama...

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