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That Guy From That Thing


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A thread in which we celebrate the noble position of That Guy From That Thing and perhaps even declare who is most That Guy From That Thing.
What's a That Guy From That Thing? Well, it's an actor (male or female as you can have That Woman From That Thing) who has a particular set of characteristics:
* The moment you see them, you know you've seen them in something before.
* You've no idea what their name is.
* It takes a long time to remember what that thing you saw them in was.
* They appear a lot but only at a certain level, with the usual benchmark being "a minor role in a show on a mainstream channel" or "the lead character's mate/partner/colleague in a show on BBC 3/ITV 2/E4 and the like."
* Wow, come to think of it, they've been in a lot of things, whoever they are. But it's hard to find out because what do you search for?
* It's not someone who was in The Bill or Casualty and later became famous. 
* They definitely wouldn't be on Room 101 or that level of celebrity appearance.
* Hang on, I was thinking of the other guy.
So who are a few That Guy From That Things? Let's look at a few:
Dylan Edwards and Joel Fry
Joel Fry is one of the guys in shows like Trollied and Plebs, a minor recurring character in Twenty Twelve/E1A (one of the PR company crew) and a very very minor character in Game of Thrones. Dylan Edwards is a lead character's mate in Pramface, a second-lead character in E4 show Wasted, and a very very minor character in Game of Thrones. They're listed here partly because they have perfect level That Guy CVs, but partly because while writing this I mixed them up despite the fact they appear to be different ethnicities.
Elizabeth Berrington
She's one with a CV of supposedly big name shows but never the big star and always just at that level of recognisability. Most recently an important character bumped off 10 minutes into a Black Mirror episode, she's been in a bunch of shows I've never watched like Waterloo Road and Stella and a couple of one-off appearances in things like The Office and Psychoville years ago, yet she's absolutely recognisable, presumably through trailers for shows. She's also got the "Ooh, no that was the other one" thing of not being Daaaaaaaaaaan's wife in Alan Partridge.
Ben Crompton


A veteran That Guy, he was the Dad in E4's Pramface, a minor character in Clocking Off back on BBC years ago, a regular in BBC 3 sketch show Man Stroke Woman at the turn of the century, and the 16th top billed character in ITV's drama about the Great Fire Of London. Like so many, he's a very minor character in Game of Thrones, but you don't see him in something and recognise him as being from GOT, you watch GOT and recognise him as being that guy from that thing.
Tony Gardner
Barely holding on to That Guy status, he's had roles about as big as you can be without anyone knowing his name or being sure what that other thing he was in was. We're talking biggest non-core regular in BBC 2's Lead Balloon, a regular as a lecturer in Channel 4's Fresh Meat, the Dad in a CITV kids show, fifth lead in BBC 1's Last Tango In Halifax and a regular as an MP in The Thick Of It. And yet he's still no more famous than being That Guy From That Thing, suggesting true That Guy status comes from combining sheer quantity of work with a ceiling on the level.
Philip Jackson
Being a lead character in Channel 4's Raised By Wolves may well have threatened his That Guy status, but his candidacy is a lifetime's effort. A regular on TV since 1974, he's stuck to the true and tried formula of one-off appearances in shows everyone's heard of, minor regular roles in shows some people have heard of, and big (but rarely if ever lead) roles in shows nobody remembers. We're talking TV movies alongside Philip Glenister (whose That Guy badge was revoked after Life On Mars), punching someone in Aha's Take On Me video, being fifth lead in period dramas about the Wimbledon Poisoner, and playing Thatcher's dad in a biopic. Also, he was in that other thing.
Tom Goodman-Hill
More of a special achievement award than true That Guy candidacy. He's really disqualified for being absolutely a lead character in Humans, one of the best rated Channel 4 dramas. And yet he needs acknowledgement from barely holding on to That Guy status by confusing you on two fronts. Because that other thing he's in is not the priest Broadchurch -- that's actually Rory from Doctor Who. And yet neither is it the ginger bloke from Game On -- that's actually Prince Edward from The Windsors. 
So who've I missed? Who is truly That Guy From That Thing? And indeed, can you actually remember That Guy's name or what that other thing was?

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I was just going to mention JT Walsh because I'm sure I read an article once how he was pretty much the origin of this title. He's one of my favourite actors of all time, along with his partial namesake M. Emmet Walsh, who also definitely falls under this label:-



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Fred Stoller




He's had a guest appearance in just about every sitcom ever made in the 90s. Always a bit of a sadsack character, very similar to his stand up. It took me years before I bothered to find out who he was, and I ended up reading his very enjoyable Kindle short about being a Seinfeld writer for a year. He is genuinely a strange, awkward man, and it becomes less and less surprising that he never landed a reoccurring role on anything the more you know about him. 

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Philip Baker Hall


The guy's been in everything but never more than a bit part in anything. Seinfeld, Curb, Modern Family, 3rd Rock from the Sun, West Wing.  Had a part in a fair few films too, remember him in Ghostbuster 2, Air Force One, the shitty remakes of Psycho and Amityville Horror. 


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