The high-pressure, high-stakes world of mainstream media has always been fascinating to the public. Tales range from the scandals of on-air talent, to the ambitious, incisive work of editors, to the skin-of-their-teeth finds by intrepid reporters. As Public Media Nerds®, the WGBH Drama club has always gobbled up these stories; after all, we might not work in the news, but we do work next door to the newsroom. And watching our sharp and busy coworkers has given us a healthy respect for and interest in the Fifth Estate.

So, when Masterpiece chose to carry the BBC series Press, the announcement was met with a gleeful happy dance from our team. A story about all the scandals and intrigue of news, from our favorite producers and starring an amazing cast including some of our favorite faces? Oh, yes, please!

Press presents the stories of two rival newspapers trying to survive in a turbulent, digital-heavy media landscape. Through following the professional and personal lives of the editors and lead reporters, it takes on the ethical and professional dilemmas of working in a media that moves at break-neck speed.

Leading the cast is Ben Chaplin, who plays Duncan Allen, the editor of The Post (a thinly-veiled stand-in for Britain’s tabloid The Sun). Chaplin is unendingly intriguing and intentionally off-putting. Sexy but sleazy, the role is perfect for Chaplin. An actor with great range, Chaplin came close to Hollywood leading-man status — before giving it up for “as normal a life as possible.” Let’s find out more about him and his past:

1. No relation to Charlie.
Despite the last name and mother country, Ben is no relation to film pioneer Charlie Chaplin. When he went to join the British Actor’s Equity Association, it turned out that “Ben Greenwood,” his birthname, was already registered. Quick thinking had him settling on Chaplin — his mother’s maiden name.

2. "A pretty trap."
Chaplin feels that acting was always a big part of his life. Growing up, he was surrounded by the theatre plays his mother, an English Teacher, had on hand. His favorite was The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.

3. A persistent influence.
But if the plays of Chaplin’s youth planted the seeds for his craft, his time in school watered it. After being in theatre during primary and secondary school, he went on to attend Guildhall — a London school known for it’s alumni (including Press co-star Paapa Essiedu).

4. It wasn’t easy.
Even with training from Guildhall under his belt, getting work as an actor wasn’t an easy road for Chaplin. While he pursued his dream, he also took on odd jobs — including, once, as a statistician for the London Transport Authority.

5. Breaking out.
After a few supporting roles on UK television in the early 90s, Chaplin finally saw his big break as Brian, a soldier with PTSD, in the made-for-TV movie Tuesday. It might not live on in film history books today, but it did lead to even bigger roles.

6. Merchant-Ivory comes calling.
Soon after Chaplin’s success in Tuesday, he appeared as Charlie, the head butler in Merchant-Ivory’s Remains of the Day. While the casting might not have been based on his work in the smaller Tuesday, the one-two punch certainly made him a face to watch.

7. Heading to Hollywood…
As Chaplin’s star continue to rise, he moved to Los Angeles, where he starred in quite a few American films, including The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Murder by Numbers, Birthday Girl and The Thin Red Line.

8. …And Broadway too!
But Chaplin’s time in the U.S. wasn’t limited to the West Coast. He spent some time living in New York, too, during which he performed in the 2004 staging of William Nicholson’s The Retreat from Moscow.

9. Moving home.
Despite his success across the pond, recent years have seen Chaplin back in the U.K.. Ultimately, he says, he didn’t like being “commercial” and aspires “to live as normal a life as possible.”

10. So, what’s next?
Despite pursuing a normal life, Chaplin isn’t slowing down. He has a film out soon: The Dig, a period film about the excavation of the cemeteries near Sutton Hoo in 1938. And two new series are on the way as well: The Nevers, a sci-fi series from creator Joss Whedon; and The Letter For The King, a medieval action series for Netflix.

Watch Press here on WGBH Passport.