Cotswolds Claims to Fame - TV & Films

The character actor Wilfred Hyde-White was born in Bourton-on-the-Water.Wilfrid Hyde-White (1903-1991), the English character actor of stage, film and television, was born in the Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water. His father, the Rev William Edward White, was canon of Gloucester Cathedral,.
Following a memorable supporting role in The Third Man (1949), Hyde-White became a fixture in British films of the 1950s and he achieved international recognition in his later years as Colonel Pickering in the 1964 film My Fair Lady.
Hyde-White died on May 6, 1991, aged 87, in Los Angeles, and was interred in the cemetery in his native Bourton-on-the-Water.

Sir Ralph Richardson, one of Britain's finest actors, was born in Cheltenham.One of the most famous British actors of the 20th Century, Sir Ralph Richardson (1902-1983) was born in Cheltenham, where his father, Arthur Richardson, spent a period from 1893 as senior art master at Cheltenham Ladies' College.
Richardson worked in films throughout most of his career, and played more than 60 cinema roles.
Richardson and his close friends Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud became known as the "three theatrical knights" who were considered the greatest English actors of their generation.
Richardson continued on stage and in films until shortly before his sudden death in 1983 at the age of 80.

Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney, who spent time during the Second World War in the Cotswolds while serving with the American Army.During the height of the Second World War, Hollywood star Mickey Rooney spent time serving in the Cotswolds.
In 1942, the American Army arrived at Leckhampton Court and Rooney, who was to appear in more than 300 films in a career spanning more than 90 years, was briefly billeted to the ancient manor house on the edge of Cheltenham which had been requisitioned by the War Office in 1939.

Renowned English film director Michael Powell spent his later years in the Cotswold village of Avening.The renowned English film director Michael Powell (1905-1990) is buried in the Cotswold village of Avening, near Tetbury, where he lived in his later years.
Powell achieved fame for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger through their production company "The Archers".
Together they wrote, produced and directed a series of classic British films, including 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946).
The British Film Institute (BFI) 100 list of "the favourite British films of the 20th century" contains five of Powell's films.
Following his death from cancer in 1990, aged 84, Powell was buried at Holy Cross Church, Avening. His gravestone was designed by his son Columba who appeared in some of his films.

Following his retirement from show business in the mid-1980s, the much-loved television comedian Ronnie Barker opened and ran an antiques shop in Chipping Norton.
Ronnie Barker retired from show business to live near Chipping Norton, where he ran an antiques shop with his wife for a decade.Barker became a household name as one half of The Two Ronnies and achieved huge success with the hit sitcoms Porridge and Open All Hours. He withdrew from the limelight to settle in Dean, a village in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds a few miles from Chipping Norton, which is now the constituency home of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Barker christened his shop in Chipping Norton’s High Street 'The Emporium' and ran it with his wife Joy for about a decade.
In many ways it was an extension of Barker's hobby of collecting antiques, memorabilia and Victoriana. It was said his postcard collection alone extended to over 50,000 items.
Barker apparently once joked: "I lose money every week, but it's a hobby. It's cheaper than skiing and safer at my age."
Because of its unprofitability, The Emporium closed in 1999. Barker died in Katharine House Hospice in Adderbury, Oxfordshire, in 2005, aged 76.

The actress Rachel Ward was born in the Cotswold village of Cornwell, near Chipping Norton, in 1957.
Her most famous role was as the central character Meggie Cleary in the 1983 TV mini-series The Thorn Birds in which she starred alongside Richard Chamberlain.
Ward attended Hatherop Castle School, in Hatherop, near Fairford, and she left art college in London at the age of 16 to become a top fashion model.
After getting her big acting break in The Thorn Birds, Ward's acting career took off and another notable role was playing Jess in the 1984 film remake of Against All Odds, with Jeff Bridges.
Ward increasingly pursued her career in Australia and has been married to the Australian actor Bryan Brown since 1983, having met each other during the filming of The Thorn Birds.
In 1983, US audiences voted Ward one of the world's 10 most beautiful women.
Her birthplace, Cornwell Manor, was used in the filming of the 2006 romantic comedy The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz.

Mark Lester, who achieved stardom as a boy when he played Oliver in the big screen musical, pictured in 1977.Mark Lester, the former child star who became famous for playing the title role in the 1968 musical film version of Oliver! made an unlikely change of career when he opened an acupuncture clinic in Cheltenham in 1993.
Born Mark A Letzer in 1958, apart from his starring role in Oliver! Lester appeared in a number of other British and European films of the 1960s and 1970s and several television series.
He gave up acting at the age of 19 and took his A-levels at the age of 28 and became an osteopath, studying at the British School of Osteopathy.
Lester is due to return to acting in the 2015 film 1066, starring as King Harold II.

Rocky Horror creator Richard O'Brien was born in Cheltenham.The comedian Les Dawson, who presented the BBC One game show Blankety Blank from 1984 to 1990, often used to end the show with the words: "And for the benefit of our viewer, Arthur, in Cheltenham, good night, God bless!"

Richard O'Brien, who wrote the cult musical The Rocky Horror Show, was born Richard Timothy Smith in Cheltenham in 1942.
The Rocky Horror stage show, has been in almost continuous production since its 1973 debut and the 1975 film version, in which O'Brien appears as the character Riff Raff, is one of the best known cult films of all time.
O'Brien gained a new generation of fans through his role as presenter of the first four series of the popular British TV show The Crystal Maze from 1990 which was regularly Channel 4's highest-rated programme, reaching a peak of 7 million viewers.
O'Brien, whose family emigrated to New Zealand in 1951, became a New Zealand citizen in 2011.

Robert Hardy, the English actor best known for playing the senior veterinarian Siegfried Farnon in the long-running television series All Creatures Great and Small (1978-1990), was born in Cheltenham in 1925 where his father, Henry Hardy, was headmaster of Cheltenham College.
Hardy has enjoyed a long career in the theatre, film and television and he holds the distinction of having played both Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, each on more than one occasion.
Hardy was a close friend of the late actor Richard Burton, whom he met at Oxford University. He shared some memories of their wartime friendship and read extracts from Burton's diaries at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2012.

Chris Jury, the actor, writer and director with a range of TV credits, was born in Coventry in 1956, but has become an active figure in the Cotswold village of Blockley where he now lives.
He is best known for his role as Eric Catchpole in the antique trade drama Lovejoy starring Ian McShane, which ran from 1986 to 1994.
In recent years Jury has been a leading light in the Blockley Village Shop and Café project and he has also presented Agitpop, a radio discussion programme on North Cotswold Community Radio.

Keith Allen, the multi-talented actor, comedian, musician, singer-songwriter, artist, author and television presenter, was born in Wales in 1953 but has made his home in the Cotswolds, near Minchinhampton.
Married to the well-known actress Tamzin Malleson, Allen is also father of the singer Lily Allen and the actor Alfie Allen.
Allen's music career has ranged from being a member of London punk band The Atoms in the late 1970s to being involved in a number of football-related songs.
He co-wrote New Order's only UK number one single World In Motion (1990), wrote the lyrics for the unlikely cult football hit Vindaloo (1998) by his band Fat Les, and also contributed the song On Me Head, Son to the film Mike Bassett: England Manager (2001).
Allen's many and varied television appearances have included a number of appearances in the cult series The Comic Strip Presents... on Channel 4 in the 1980s and from 2006 to 2009, he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in the BBC's Robin Hood drama series.
On the big screen, Allen played a drug dealer in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (1996) and appeared as the villain in Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, opposite Frankie Muniz.
Allen made a controversial documentary film about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Unlawful Killing in 2011.

The actor, comedian, screenwriter and producer Simon Pegg was born in Brockworth, Gloucestershire.The actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film producer Simon Pegg (né Beckingham) was born in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds, in 1970.
Pegg is best known for having co-written and starred in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy of films, consisting of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), and the comedy series Spaced (1999-2001), all of them directed by his friend Edgar Wright.
Pegg's parents divorced when he was seven and he took the surname of his stepfather after his mother re-married.
He attended various schools, including Castle Hill Primary School in Brockworth and Brockworth Comprehensive Secondary School

Two neighbouring Cotswold villages are mentioned in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, which stars Harrison Ford as the archaeologist Indiana Jones.
During a lecture in the film, Indiana Jones mentions the neolithic barrow at Turkdean, near Hazleton. A long barrow at Hazleton was excavated over three summer seasons between 1980-1982. The Channel 4 archaeological television series Time Team made two visits, in 1997 and 1998, to excavate a nearby Roman villa site.

The versatile English actor Tim McInnerny, who gained fame early in his career for his roles as Lord Percy Percy and Captain Darling in the hugely popular television series Blackadder, was born in Cheshire in 1956 but attended Marling School, a grammar school for boys, in Stroud.

Sophie Ward, the English actress and daughter of the actor Simon Ward, lives near Stroud. Ward's screen roles include films including Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), The Hunger (1983), A Time of Indifference (1988) and Young Toscanini (1988).
Ward, who was born in 1964, had the recurring role of Dr Helen Trent in long-running ITV drama Heartbeat and in 2008 she joined the cast of Holby City in a recurring role as Sophia Byrne.

The 2007 version of St Trinian's featured the fictional anarchic girls' school taking on Cheltenham Ladies College in a hockey match, with the St Trinian's new girl Annabelle Fritton played by former Cheltenham pupil Talulah Riley.The actress Talulah Riley, a former Cheltenham Ladies College student who found herself playing hockey for St Trinian's against her 'old school' in the 2007 movie.Cheltenham Ladies College gained some notoriety in 2007 when the fictitious anarchic girls' school St Trinian's took on Cheltenham Ladies in a hockey match in the hit 2007 movie, 53 years after the first St Trinian's film was released.
The 'noughties' version of St Trinian's features Annabelle Lealla Fritton, the St Trinian's new girl (played by Talulah Riley, who is actually a former Cheltenham Ladies College pupil). A memorable scene is when St Trinian's hosts a hockey match against Annabelle's old school – their rivals Cheltenham Ladies' College, captained by Verity Thwaites (played by Lucy Punch), the school bully whose favourite victim happened to be Annabelle.
The St Trinian's girls give a hostile and violent welcome to their visitors and the match ends in a brawl. With the game tied, the final shot is left up to Annabelle who is intimidated by Verity. Kelly (Gemma Arterton) takes her place and scores, knocking Verity out in the process.
St Trinian's also starred Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Russell Brand and Anna Chancellor. It is also notable for the appearances of the band members of Girls Aloud (Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh, Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle and Cheryl Cole) as the members of St Trinian's school band, who also make cameos in the film itself.
The Observer newspaper, in its review of St Trinian's, said: "The attempts to shock us fail, though Cheltenham Ladies College may well be affronted to hear one of its teachers say 'between you and I'."

The Watsonian Motorcycle & Sidecar Company, based near Blockley, provided seven custom-built three-wheelers for the filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One.
In the 2010 movie, Harry is seen flying through the air on the pale blue machine before crashing into a lake in the final scenes.

The Cotswolds can claim to have its own Bond girl - Fiona Fullerton, who lives at Sapperton, near Cirencester.
The Nigerian-born British actress made a name for herself at the age of 15 when she played the title role in the 1972 film Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
She gained even greater fame when she played KGB spy Pola Ivanova in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, starring Roger Moore.
After concentrating mainly on her business interests, Fullerton came back into the limelight in 2013 as one of the celebrities in BBC TV's Strictly Come Dancing.

Alan Rusbridger, long-standing editor of The Guardian newspaper, has a home in the Cotswolds.Alan Rusbridger, who has been the editor of The Guardian national newspaper since 1995, has a home in Blockley.
Rusbridger (born 1953) has had a colourful career in journalism, including his paper's involvement in recent years with the controversial news-leaking organisation WikiLeaks.
In the 2013 film The Fifth Estate, about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, thought to be its founder, Rusbridger was portrayed by Peter Capaldi, the actor who in August 2014 became the new Doctor Who.

Dom Joly, the British television comedian and journalist who came to note as the star of Trigger Happy TV, a hidden camera show that was sold to over 70 countries worldwide, lives near Cirencester.
Joly, who was born in 1967, has specialised in making edgy off-beat television like World Shut Your Mouth for BBC One and Dom Joly's Happy Hour, a spoof travel show for Sky One.
Joly is a regular columnist in Cotswold Life magazine.

Kate Thornton, the journalist and television presenter who became the youngest ever editor of pop magazine Smash Hits at the age 22, was born in Cheltenham in 1973.
Early in her career, Thornton wrote for the Daily Mirror newspaper and as a TV presenter, she hosted the first three series of The X Factor and was the anchor of the ITV daytime show Loose Women between September 2009 and August 2011.
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2021.