Pond jumpers

With the arrival of David Beckham and wife Victoria, the former Posh Spice, in Los Angeles, and the airing of Victoria Beckham: Coming to America tonight on NBC, we decided to chart British imports that have translated well here as well as others that didn't - the monarchy, for one.

Of course, the "British Invasion" gave us the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Troggs, but we could have done without S Club 7. And thanks again and again for James Bond, Monty Python and Harry Potter. But someone has to take responsibility for Madonna's British accent, and it's not going to be us Yanks.


Here are stars and stuff from that side of the pond that have hit and missed on this side:



Hits: Coldplay; Lily Allen; Amy Winehouse; Corinne Bailey Rae; the Arctic Monkeys - who skipped Al Gore's Live Earth "ecopalooza" because 150 global musical acts apparently require lots of fossil fuel.

Misses: Sugar Babes and a slew of other girl bands that never became the Spice Girls; the debonair Robbie Williams, who's huge there, not so much here.


Hits: The Office - the original British version was considered superior to the Americanized sitcom - but three years and one captivating office romance (Jim and Pam) later, no one is dissing Steve Carell & Co. anymore.

Misses: Britain is still transfixed by the tacky C-List survival show, I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!, but the CBS version tanked years ago stateside.


Hits: Cary Grant, Hugh Grant, Hugh Laurie, Judi Dench, Keira Knightley and the new Bond, Daniel Craig - there's no shortage of British stars whom Americans adopted.

Misses: Kenneth Branagh - the "Olivier of Our Times" who then gave us Robert De Niro in Frankenstein; Kristen Scott Thomas - where is she now?; and Jude Law - overhyped, pretty-boy charmer.


Food and drink

Hits: Newcastle Brown Ale; Samuel Smith ales; tea

Misses: Fish and chips - Long John Silver's was never any match for Mickey D's; bangers and mash; Yorkshire pudding; and Shepherd's pie - never caught on, perhaps because of Americans' distaste for eating shepherds.

- Rob Hiaasen and Anne Tallent