A dashingly handsome, dark-haired actor hailing from Somerset, England, James Purefoy did extensive stage and television work in his native country beginning in the mid-1980s before breaking out with significant film roles at the close of the 90s. The performer made his professional acting debut as Alan Strang in a 1986 stage production of "Equus" and subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was featured in productions including "The Tempest" and "Macbeth." Looking to make the move to screen work, but finding little in the way of film roles, Purefoy began a successful television run with a co-starring role on the Granada-CV series "Coasting," chronicling a theme park owned by two brothers in Blackpool. In 1991, he made his debut on American television when PBS broadcast "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes" as a presentation of "Mystery!" His supporting role in the British miniseries "The Cloning of Joanna May" landed him back on the small screens of USA when it was aired on A&E in 1992, and the following year he was featured in the three-part miniseries "Calling the Shots" on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre."