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Broadchurch (ITV/BBC America) was my favorite television show, specifically crime drama, in 2013. FOX is remaking the series but changed the name to Gracepoint. Interestingly, they cast David Tennant, the male lead DI Alec Hardy in Broadchurch, as the male lead/character equivalent in Gracepoint, Emmett Carter.

I've watched plenty of foreign shows and at least see trailers for their American remakes, but have never encountered this practice. Has this been done before? Is it common?

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Not a TV show, but Death at a Funeral cast Peter Dinklage in exactly the same role in the 2007 UK original and the 2010 US remake. –  etheranger Jul 30 at 14:22
    
Now that's a serious audition! –  Liath Jul 30 at 14:51
    
Close but not quite: Strike Back. Started as a British series on Sky1 with Richard Armitage playing John Porter in 2010/2011. When the series was picked up for a 'second season', Armitage was no longer available due to playing a Hobbit. The character was kidnapped and two new leads were cast, one American and one Brit. The series was a joint creation, aired both on Sky1 in the UK and Cinemax in America. While he was not a regular, he did appear as Sgt Porter in two of the second series episodes as a sort of cameo. –  CGCampbell Jul 30 at 15:08

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It's quite a rare occurrence, with two major exceptions: comedies and factual programmes.

Comedy remakes:

Factual remakes:

It also less commonly happens the other way around, though most of the examples I can find are American shows which were hosted by British actors before being remade in Britain:

In both cases its easy to see why: the cast hold together the show and are usually the ones responsible for making the show famous, so it's a no-brainer that you want to get as many of them as possible to help sell your show, especially if they're the only presenter.


See also:

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Anthony Stewart Head, famous for playing Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, plays the character of Stephen Caudwell on Free Agents, the foul-mouthed head of the advertising agency.

Two years later, the show was remade in the US with Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn instead of Stephen Mangan and Sharon Horgan, and some other changes to characters and plotlines, but one thing remained the same - Anthony Head still played the same role of Stephen, head of the agency.

Of course, American network TV being what it is, he was significantly toned down in obnoxiousness and vulgarity.

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The UK series Ultraviolet (late 90's Vampire series) featured Idris Elba.

He was cast in the unaired pilot episode of a US remake (as the same character).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0169501/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv

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