On this day, September 5, 2019, I nominate 22-year old British actor Jacob Dudman to be the Ultimate Teen Show Leading Man — but not for typical reasons. There is so much more to Dudman than dimples (though he does have those too).
In the show, popular girls Amber (Elie Duckles) and Mia’s (Lisa Ambalavanar) are locked in battle, while Dev is the kind-hearted ragdoll between them. The guileless, jean jacket-clad Dev is like a transplant from a CW show. He’s the kind of guy who plays football, runs the student government, and charms your mom. That’s Dev’s character — but I’m even more charmed by Dudman’s real-life talent. Simply put, Dudman is a master of impressions.
Like, a legitimate master. I would know. I’m sad to report that I have spent hours — realistically, days — watching compilations of accents and impressions on YouTube. Dudman is particularly gifted. Somehow, watching the Netflix hunk come incredibly close to capturing the real thing, be it David Attenborough or the Doctor, is just as entertaining as watching the real thing.
Dudman’s impressions are so spot-on you might involuntarily clap with glee, as I did, or suspect he’s possessed by fictional characters, a thing I also did. His signature gimmick is to have different characters sing musical theater songs, like “One Day More” from Les Miserables or “Breaking Free” from High School Musical. In the geeky Olympics, Dudman’s videos win.
Behold, Dudman’s most-viewed popular video in which the many Dudman inspirations sing “Alexander Hamilton” from Hamilton. The Martin Freeman impression made me gasp.
In addition to acting on shows including The A List and fellow Netflix series Medici, Dudman has monetized his impersonation side hustle. Dudman’s first-ever YouTube video was a 2014 impression of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who. He was 17. Now Dudman voices David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Smith’s Eleventh for Doctor Who’s audio installments released by Big Finish. For a diehard Whovian like myself, the impressions are both uncanny and sublime.
Dudman is adorable, floppy-haired, refreshingly earnest, and a self-described “embarrassing dad.” He is clearly the teen heartthrob we need to mend our fraying hearts in 2019. Cast Jacob Dudman as Jack Sparrow and fix the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise – he already has the voice down. I rest my case.