11 Roles You'd Probably Forgotten That Josh O'Connor Played Before Challengers

As well as God's Own Country and The Crown, the Emmy winner has appeared in a host of other shows and films.
Josh O'Connor as Patrick in Challengers
Josh O'Connor as Patrick in Challengers
Warner Bros

If you can’t stop thinking about Josh O’Connor after Challengers, you’re definitely not alone.

The British actor delivered an unforgettable performance opposite Zendaya and Mike Faist in Luca Guadagnino’s thrilling new movie about a love triangle among three skilled tennis players.

Josh was already very much on the rise after his Emmy-winning performance as a young King Charles in The Crown – along with memorable roles in films like Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, and the romantic drama God’s Own Country.

However, while Challengers is sending Josh’s popularity to new heights, he has actually been on the scene for longer than you might realise.

Here are just some of his past roles that you’d probably forgotten seeing him in…

Doctor Who (2013)

Josh O'Connor in Doctor Who in the early years of his career
Josh O'Connor in Doctor Who in the early years of his career
BBC

Doctor Who fans might remember that Josh made an appearance in the much-loved sci-fi show during Matt Smith’s tenure as the Time Lord. Josh would’ve been around 23 in the season seven episode Cold War, in which he plays a soldier called Piotr on board a Soviet submarine.

And, in a very kismet casting choice, Josh even shared the screen with Tobias Menzies, who went on to play his on-screen dad Prince Philip in seasons three and four of The Crown.

Ripper Street (2014)

Josh in the BBC drama Ripper Street
Josh in the BBC drama Ripper Street
BBC

A year later, he also appeared in eight episodes of the Bafta-nominated Ripper Street, about the officers trying to maintain law and order in the Whitechapel streets where Jack The Ripper used to stalk his victims.

Josh plays PC Bobby Grace in season three, alongside an impressive ensemble cast that included Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen, Game Of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn and Ozark’s Adam Rothenberg.

Peaky Blinders (2014)

Josh shared the screen with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders
Josh shared the screen with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders
BBC

Josh had a short stint in three episodes of Peaky Blinders back in 2014. Appearing in season two of the hit Birmingham-based gangster drama, Josh played writer James, the housemate of Tommy Shelby’s (Cillian Murphy) sister Ada.

While Tommy initially suspects the pair might be an item, Ada hints that he’s not interested in her, or, indeed, “girls of any kind”.

The Riot Club (2014)

Josh and a host of impressive British talent in The Riot Club
Josh and a host of impressive British talent in The Riot Club
Blueprint/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

For one of his first big-screen roles, Josh joined a seriously impressive array of male British talent that included Sam Clalfin, Douglas Booth and Max Irons in the satirical drama The Riot Club, set at a fictional members’ group within Oxford University.

He played Ed Montgomery, a slightly older student who had a close bond with one of his fellow students, played by Olly Alexander.

Cinderella (2015)

By 2015, Josh had continued his transition into the film world. He appeared in a genuinely blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role as a ballroom palace guard in Kenneth Branagh’s live-action remake of Disney’s Cinderella.

The all-star cast was completed by the likes of Lily James, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchett.

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Josh in the film Florence Foster Jenkins
Josh in the film Florence Foster Jenkins
Pathé

Did you know that Josh has already shared the screen with one of Hollywood’s most certified legend?

In 2016, he appeared in Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, about a New York heiress who dreams of becoming an opera singer despite having less-than-perfect pitch.

Josh played an auditioning piano player called Donaghy, which gave him a chance to show off his convincing American accent long before Challengers came along.

The Durrells (2016)

Josh with his co-stars in The Durrells
Josh with his co-stars in The Durrells
ITV/Shutterstock

Josh starred in all four seasons of British comedy-drama The Durrells, which ran from 2016 to 2019.

The show followed a mother (Keeley Hawes) who’s left to raise her four children – including Josh’s character, Larry – alone, following her husband’s death. After a financial crisis, the family move from their home in Bournemouth to try and adapt to a new Greek lifestyle in Corfu.

Les Misérables (2018)

Josh as Marius in Les Misérables
Josh as Marius in Les Misérables
BBC/Lookout Point/Robert Viglasky

Josh played Marius in three episodes of the TV adaptation of Les Misérables, starring David Oyelowo and Lily Collins.

In another moment of serendipity, both his on-screen mum in The Crown, Olivia Colman, and his King Charles successor Dominic West also appeared in the show.

Romeo & Juliet (2021)

Josh O'Connor and Jessie Buckley appeared as Romeo & Juliet in one of the most iconic love stories ever told
Josh O'Connor and Jessie Buckley appeared as Romeo & Juliet in one of the most iconic love stories ever told
Sky UK

Long before he was suggestively sharing churros on screen, Josh was already proving his romantic streak.

In 2021, he starred opposite Jessie Buckley in the National Theatre’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which was filmed for audiences at home when Covid meant it couldn’t be performed live as intended.

As the classic story goes, the star-crossed lovers defy their families and risk it all to be together. The production also starred Friday Night Dinner’s Tamsin Greig and Heartstopper’s Fisayo Akinade

Mothering Sunday (2021)

Emma D'Arcy, Odessa Young and Josh O'Connor in the 2021 film Mothering Sunday
Emma D'Arcy, Odessa Young and Josh O'Connor in the 2021 film Mothering Sunday
Sony Pictures Classics/Moviestore/Shutterstock

Josh starred alongside British national treasures Colin Firth and Olivia Colman (yes, again!) in this 2021 World War I movie, in which he plays the (gasp!) already-engaged love interest of a housemaid (Odessa Young).

As well as featuring Gangs Of London star Sope Dirisu and House Of The Dragon’s Emma D’Arcy, the film also marked the special occasion of Oscar-winning actor Glenda Jackson’s first theatrical film in over 30 years.

Aisha (2022)

Josh O'Connor and Letitia Wright in Aisha
Josh O'Connor and Letitia Wright in Aisha
Sky UK

Two years ago, Josh appeared opposite Black Panther star Letitia Wright in the Sky Original film Aisha, about a young Nigerian woman seeking asylum who gets stuck in Ireland’s immigration system, before befriending a former prisoner called Conor Healy who she meets at her accommodation.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, Josh does do an Irish accent – which went down well with viewers.

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