14 celebrities you probably didn’t know are from Somerset
PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:41 08 August 2017
One of the biggest British vloggers, three of the best UK comedians, a Formula One World Champion and an award-winning author – the towns and rural retreats of Somerset are a breeding ground for talent
1. Charlie McDonnell
Hailing from Bath, vlogging star Charlie McDonnell has over 2.4 millions subscribers to his Youtube channel. The vlogger (that’s ‘video blogger’ by the way) shares videos covering everything from his cat or his moustache to a duet with himself (which gained over ten million views) all infused with his brand of humour and personality.
2. Mary Berry
It wasn’t until The Great British Bake Off came to our screens that we became a nation obsessed with soggy bottoms and the number of layers in a cake. The Bath-born star baker, Mary Berry, was awarded the Freedom of the City in June 2014 and has written over 60 cookery books.
3. Jenson Button
Driver in the recently partnered Maclaren-Honda F1 team, Jenson Button MBE grew up in Frome. The 2009 Formula One Champion, Button set up the Jenson Button Trust the following year, allowing him to donate to multiple charitable causes. He became a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association in 2013 – the union with a focus upon safety within motorsport.
4. Maisie Williams
The award-winning actress grew up in Somerset, attending school in Midsomer Norton. You probably know her as the no nonsense, ‘Needle’-wielding Arya Stark, from fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Maisie recently played the lead in Ch4 thriller Cyberbully – and admitted to BBC Radio 1 in February 2015 that she was also a victim of cyber-bullying as a teenager. In 2015 she won the EFP Shooting Star Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
5. John Cleese
Memorable as volatile Hotel-owner Basil Fawlty and one of the surreal Monty Python crew – John Cleese has been bringing laughter to our screens since the 1960s. The BAFTA winning, Oscar-nominated comedian was born in Weston-super-Mare, where he also attended St Peter’s Preparatory School.
6. Sir Ranulph Fiennes
The celebrated explorer ran a country farm in Exmoor. Not one to turn down a challenge, Sir Ranulph was the first man to reach both poles and to cross the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. Ranulph is related to actor Ralph Fiennes, star of The Grand Budapest Hotel - the film that has made ten Oscar nominations for 2015.
7. Dame Jacqueline Wilson
Bath-Born Dame Jacqueline is best known for the hugely popular Tracy Beaker books and television series, although she has written over 100 books to date! Wave Me Goodbye, a story following a young girl moving to the countryside with her classmates during the Second World War, was released in May 2017.
8. Bill Bailey
The face of countless comedy panel TV shows in addition to roles in Ch4 comedy series’ Black Books and Spaced. In addition to his own production company, Glassbox Productions, the Bath-born comedian frequently tours the UK with stand-up shows – keep an eye out for his next tour here.
9. James Purefoy
These days he plays serial killer Joe Carroll in Fox’s popular drama series The Following, but James Purefoy is originally from Taunton. Also known for roles in HBO series Rome and film Solomon Kane, the actor also starred in Ben Wheatley’s movie adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s ‘High-Rise’ – alongside actor Tom Hiddleston and fashion icon Sienna Miller.
10. Sir Peter Blake
Revered pop artist, Sir Peter Blake designed the sleeve for the 1967 Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He has been creating notable works since the 50s and lived in Somerset for a number of years.
11. Don McCullin
Well-known for his war photography, inspirational photo-journalist Don McCullin CBE lives in Somerset, near to Norton St Philip, where he was evacuated to during the Blitz. The award-winning photographer has captured images from wars in Vietnam, the Congo and Northern Ireland among many others.
Not just one celeb, but a whole band – comprising of Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, and Adrian Utley. They found fame with their debut album Dummy in 1994, winning the prestigious Mercury Music Prize the following year. Formed in Bristol and named after the Somerset town that shares their name, the band are regulars on the festival scene. Find out where they're performing here.
13. Russell Howard
The comedian is the writer and star of BBC show Russell Howard’s Good News as well as numerous comedy panel shows. The star is reported to have noted Johnny Vegas and Lee Evans as inspirations to his work.
14. Richard J. Roberts
In addition to the many celebrities, Somerset is home to a Nobel prize winner. The scientist, Sir Richard J. Roberts, grew up in Bath and won The Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1993.