Damian Lewis started his career as ''a needle in a haystack''.

The 44-year-old actor got his big break in the role of John D Winters in the critically-acclaimed Second World War serial 'Band of Brothers', and he admits the opportunity came along as much because of luck as good judgement.

He recalled: ''My dad lived in America for five years, and we have relations and even a godfather over there. I'm extremely lucky.

'''Band of Brothers' kicked it all off. I was a needle in a haystack - they looked at hundreds of men all over the English-speaking world and, for whatever reason, it came down to me.''

The London-born actor has subsequently starred in the popular US TV series 'Homeland', and admits he's very conscious of the cultural differences between Britain and the US.

He explained to the Sunday Times newspaper: ''I do think there are physical and cultural differences between European man and American man, and I do pay close attention to Americaness and try to inhabit the character beyond the accent. It still does feel as though we are an old country to them, and they, oddly, look up to us still.''