Unexpected showbiz cameos in completely normal British TV shows

Have you ever seen a unicorn in your local shop?

Or maybe a magical mermaid down at the gym?

If you have, it was probably a bit of a shock.

And sometimes a showbiz cameo appearance by a celebrity when you least expected to see one can feel a bit like this too.

Here are some of our favourite, “wait, wasn’t that…*massive showbiz celebrity name* British TV moments of recent years.


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George Clooney in the Warburton’s TV adverts

We almost choked on our toast-soldiers when Hollywood superstar George Clooney suddenly appeared in a TV advert for Warburton’s earlier in the year.

In the advert, Mr Warburton (of bread-making fame) can be seen preparing a piece of toast with butter – only to be interrupted as a receptionist runs into the room to say the unimaginable words: “Mr Warburton, George Clooney is on the line!”

And then… he actually is!

Suddenly, when we least expected it, the face of Clooney looms on the screen just as it has in massive blockbuster movies like Oceans 11, but this time it’s just in a bread factory in Bolton, Lancs.

To make all this infinitely more wholesome than it already is, apparently the fee paid to George for his participation in the campaign was donated to the Clooney Foundation For Justice, which was founded by the actor and his wife, Amal and campaigns against human rights abuses around the world.


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Matt Le Blanc on Top Gear

OK, to be fair this wasn’t a cameo.

Matt Le Blanc was the presenter of Top Gear for three years from 2016 alongside Chris Evans and Rory Reid.

It turns out he knows loads about cars and is really into them.

But for everyone who grew up watching Friends, this whole period of time felt very weird.

Eventually the weirdness got to Matt too and he decided to retire from the show stating: “the time commitment and extensive travel takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.”

Well, duh? As Phoebe would say.


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Ben Stiller on Extras

What do you get if you cross hilarious Hollywood comedy actor Ben Stiller, with hilarious comedian and screenwriter, Ricky Gervais?

Yes, hilarity of the finest order.

In this episode of Ricky Gervais’s Golden Globe, BAFTA and Emmy award-winning TV sitcom Extras, Andy (played by Ricky) and Maggie (played by Ashley Jensen) are both extras in a serious genocide movie being shot by Ben Stiller in England; however, Andy isn’t satisfied with his minuscule role.

It’s so funny in fact that the actors almost couldn’t get through their scenes together as you can see in the outtakes reel.

Take 876…action!


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Sigourney Weaver on Doc Martin

UK celeb and star of Doc Martin, Martin Clunes met huge Hollywood superstar actor Sigourney Weaver when they both appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show.

Martin tells the story that she came up to him and said she was a huge fan of the show and could she please be in it?

If we tried that, it would almost certainly lead to us being escorted away by security.

But, when you’re Sigourney Weaver, pulling that sort of stunt actually works.

The Doc Martin team wrote a part for an American tourist and thought they’d see what happened and sure enough, Sigourney showed up and was brilliant.

One day slaying aliens in outer space, the next day wandering around the village of Port Isaac in Cornwell in a cloth hat.


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Sean Bean in a Yorkshire Tea advert

You know, we’ve always thought Sean Bean looks like he’d make an excellent cuppa.

And in 2019, we had it confirmed.

Sean Bean starred in an advert for Yorkshire Tea in which he motivates the Yorkshire Tea team to make, “brews that bring a tear to your eye and warmth to your soul.”

“DO IT FOR YORKSHIRE!” he yells with a sword in his hand.

Stirring stuff.


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Johnny Depp in The Vicar of Dibley

Johnny Depp is out of our good books now unfortunately.

He is no longer our dream-boyfriend.

But back in 1999 seeing Johnny on TV used to be a treat.

In 1999, he made a cameo appearance in a Comic Relief special episode of The Vicar of Dibley in which Geraldine behaves exactly how we’d have behaved towards Johnny Depp back in 1999.


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Jessica Chastain on Poirot

Flame-haired fox Jessica Chastain has been on our screens this year in the extraordinary Scenes From A Marriage in which she stars with Oscar Isaac in the incredible remake of Ingmar Bergman’s classic.

The Golden Globe winner was also one of the stars of The Help in 2011 in which she played an aspiring socialite and was very good.

She’s basically a very good actress, usually spotted in big-budget things.

But once upon a time she played the humble role of Mary Debenhem in the small screen adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express with David Suchet (that’s Hercule Poirot, of course) which was a Christmas Day treat for us UK folk back in 2010.


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Taylor Lautner in Cuckoo

Star of the Twilight movies, Taylor Lautner is more used to appearing on screen opposite his gilded co-stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

However, he randomly took a break from the multi-million dollar movie franchise to appear in BBC Three comedy Cuckoo, series 5 where at no point did he become a wolf, as we’ve come to expect.