Like Grand Theft Auto 1, players are given the option of choosing one of out eight protagonists in both Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969 and Grand Theft Auto: London, 1961, each having their own default full name (which the player can change), but otherwise have very little difference in gameplay aside varying colors of clothing (aside the bell-bottom pants they wear in GTA London 1969, which distinguish them from the GTA 1 and GTA London 1961 renditions).
Unlike GTA 1 and unlike GTA London's in-game depiction of other characters, the protagonists are depicted with hand-drawn, stylised art direction appropriate for the 1960s setting the game is set in, and appearing solely as Caucasian men in 1960s fashion and hairstyles. The appearance of certain characters are also based on various real-life celebrities as they appeared around the time.
List of protagonists
|Maurice Caine||Caine's design is based on famous British actor Michael Caine circa the 1960s. The name Maurice is based on Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, Michael Caine's birth name. His appearance is based on the anti-hero character "Harry Palmer", who Caine played in a series of gritty spy films in the mid-to-late 1960s.|
|Mick Casey||Casey is depicted as a typical "hard man" type (a rough and tough thug), in contrast to most other protagonists who display some degree of fashion sense and generally appear less beefy.|
|Johnny Hawtorn||Hawtorn has the T-shirt and greased-back pompadour of a rocker, the rivals of the mods. The scar is most likely from a knife fight.|
|Winston Henry||Henry's attire is an apparent nod to both the beatnik subculture as well as the newer mod subculture, donning a trilby as well as featuring a turtleneck and sideburns.|
|Charles Jones||Jones' long-haired and thick-bearded appearance appears to be inspired by the hippie subculture.|
|Rodney Morash||Seemingly inspired by the mod subculture, Morash is by far one of the more frequently featured protagonists from the game, having been additionally illustrated in another artwork for the game, holding a shotgun. The aforementioned artwork has also been adopted for use as a Rockstar Games Social Club user avatar, the only one to represent the "Grand Theft Auto: London" category.|
|Sid Vacant||His name and appearance are based on the Sex Pistols guitarist Sid Vicious. The band released a song titled "Pretty Vacant", which explains his last name.|
|Wolfie Vilans||Vilans is dressed like a "spiv" (a gray-market fence or low-level fixer) with stereotypical slicked back hair, pencil-thin mustache, flashy pinstripe suit, and loud "kipper" tie. His last name is a pun on "Proper Villain", slang for a professional criminal rather than an unskilled punk or thug.|