Hugh Laurie, 61, is unrecognisable as he sports a bushy grey beard while walking his dog

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Hugh Laurie, 61, is unrecognisable as he ditches his clean-cut image and sports a VERY bushy grey beard while taking his dog for a walk in the park

By Ryan Smith for MailOnline

Published: 11:00 GMT, 13 March 2021 | Updated: 13:27 GMT, 13 March 2021

He is best known for portraying a medical genius in hit show House, and most recently hit screens in the BBC political drama Roadkill.

But Hugh Laurie was almost unrecognisable on Saturday morning, when he was spotted sporting a bushy grey beard while taking his dog for a walk in London.

The actor, 61, showed the effects of the months-long COVID-19 lockdown as he strolled through a local park displaying his new beard and unkempt grey hair.

Stepping out: Hugh Laurie was spotted going for a walk in a London park on Saturday morning

He stepped out in casual style for the excursion, donning an army green jacket and gently faded jeans, which he teamed with a blue top.

Rounding out his ensemble with a pair of brown walking shoes, the screen star let his dog off its leash to enjoy a run around the green space.

While his pet pooch enjoyed the fresh air and open grounds, Cambridge graduate Hugh appeared to be in a pensive mood as he meandered through the park solo.

With the government announcing that mid-April is the earliest date for hair salons to possibly reopen, Hugh may well be sporting his beard for weeks to come. 

Beard: The actor was unrecognisable as he sported a bushy grey beard. Pictured right in 2019

Pooch: He was accompanied by his beloved pooch, who he was seen unleashing in the park

Back in 2015, Hugh spoke about his grooming routine, as he admitted he preferred the less impeccably-primped look of British men to their American counterparts.

He told the Irish Independent: 'I generally prefer the way Englishmen look to American men. No matter what their job is, American men are immaculately groomed. Their hair is blow-dried, and they all seem to carry a comb in their pocket.

'I recently had dinner with George Clooney; he was impeccably turned out. You don't see so much of that in England, outside of football's Premier League. I love going to an old English barbers for the experience of it.'

He added: 'I prefer a relaxed approach to looking good. Over-grooming seems a waste of time; one could learn the trombone instead.

'When I see very well-groomed men, I treat them with suspicion. It's easy to become misguided in terms of what looks good. Try to keep some perspective - don't get carried away.'

Casually cool: He stepped out in casual style for the excursion, donning an army green jacket and gently faded jeans, which he teamed with a blue top

Restrictions: With the government announcing that mid-April is the earliest date for hair salons to possibly reopen, Hugh may well be sporting his beard for weeks to come

Last last year, he took the reins of another role as he portrayed forceful politician Peter Laurence in the thriller Roadkill by David Hare. 

In the series, Peter's public and private life seems to be falling apart – or rather, is being picked apart by his enemies. 

As the personal revelations spiral, he is shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse, expertly walking a high wire between glory and catastrophe as he seeks to further his own agenda whilst others plot to bring him down. 

However events show just how hard it is, for both an individual and a country, to leave the past behind.  

The series also stared the likes of Helen McCrory, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Saskia Reeves and Sarah Greene. 

Pensive: While his pet pooch enjoyed the fresh air and open grounds, Cambridge graduate Hugh appeared to be in a pensive mood as he meandered through the park solo

Roadill, which was filmed in London in 2019, consisted of four episodes that were all helmed by Line of Duty director Michael Keillor.

Screenwriter David Hare told Radio Times: 'I first worked with Hugh Laurie in 1987 when he set off on his riveting change of direction from adroit comedian to commanding dramatic actor.

'I can't wait to see him embody the fictional future of the Conservative party in Roadkill. 

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama said of the show: 'Roadkill is a thriller which explores the relationship between personal morality and political power.

'Hugh Laurie is an incredible actor who will play this fictional role with utter conviction, and it is a great honour to work once again with David Hare and The Forge to bring this brilliantly sharp and funny drama to BBC'.

Political role: Last last year, the screen star played forceful politician Peter Laurence in the BBC thriller Roadkill by David Hare

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