Famous folk with county connections

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What do James Bond stars Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan have in common with rebel rocker Ozzy Osbourne, comic Jo Brand, and TV presenter Nick Hancock? They all have Shropshire connections.

What do James Bond stars Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan have in common with rebel rocker Ozzy Osbourne, comic Jo Brand, and TV presenter Nick Hancock? Answer: They all have Shropshire connections.

Today the Shropshire Star took a look at some of the many famous faces with county links in its special "Did You Know?" supplement. Here are some of the familiar faces, and names, past and present:

DANIEL CRAIG: The James Bond actor was born in Cheshire, but has family connections with Shropshire through his father Tim Craig, who lives at Hindford near Oswestry. His half brother has also attended Ellesmere College.

JO BRAND: The alternative comic, who was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1957, is a frequent visitor to the county - her mum lives in south Shropshire.

PIERCE BROSNAN: One of two James Bond actors with Shropshire links - his Irish-born cousin Anne O'Callaghan has lived in Brookside, Telford, for many years, and Pierce has been known to pay her a visit.

DAVID BLUNKETT: The former Home Secretary, who has been blind since birth, was educated at schools for the blind in both Sheffield and Shrewsbury - a place then known oddly as the Royal Normal College.

MAX BROWN: The rising Hollywood star, who appeared in horror movie Paradise Lost and has also had TV roles in Hollyoaks, Grange Hill and Crossroads, is from Porthill in Shrewsbury, where his family still live.

JOHN CHALLIS: Best known as Boycie from Only Fools and Horses, and current sitcom The Green Green Grass, he lives close to Ludlow, and spends much time in the county.


IZZY COOPER: Much Wenlock-born opera soprano singer Izzy has enjoyed a series of hit releases since her debut CD, Libera Me, in 1998.

CHARLES DARWIN: The English naturalist, was born 200 years ago this year in Shrewsbury. His most famous work, On The Origin Of Species, formed the basis of modern evolution theory. A film of his life will hit cinemas later this year.

CAROL DECKER: The Wellington-based songstress was the front woman of the 1980s band T'Pau, alongside Shropshire-born band members Ronnie Rogers and Michael Chetwood. She also spent much time living in Shrewsbury.

BENJAMIN DISRAELI: The great Victorian, who was twice prime minister, was the MP for Shrewsbury, between the years 1841 and 1847. To this day he is the only British prime minister of Jewish heritage.


GABRIELLE DRAKE: The veteran Shakespearean trained actress, who appeared for many years in Crossroads, lives near Much Wenlock. She is one of the judges in the Shropshire Star's Star Woman of the Year awards.

NICK HANCOCK: Best known for hosting the sporting quiz They Think It's All Over and comedy show Room 101, Nick currently lives at Woore near Market Drayton. He also went to school in Shrewsbury.

TED HANKEY: The reigning BDO World Darts Champion, who won the title for the second time in his career last month, lives at Aqueduct in Telford. Known as "The Count" for his Dracula-style stage image.

PAUL HENDY: The Telford-based TV presenter is known for fronting shows such as Wheel of Fortune and Don't Try This At Home. He has also written a book, called Diary of a C-List Celeb.

MICHAEL HESELTINE: The former deputy prime minister is another familiar face to have passed through the gates of Shrewsbury School and went on to study at Oxford. Moved into politics after completing his national service in 1959.

IAN HUNTER: Oswestry-born Ian shot to fame in the early 1970s with his band Mott The Hoople, best known for the iconic tune All The Young Dudes.

PETER JONES: The actor, who died in 2000 aged 79, was born in Wem and went to Wem Grammar School and Ellesmere College. He appeared in movies such as Chariots of Fire, and The Return of the Pink Panther, and a string of TV shows.

SANDY LYLE: Born in Shrewsbury to Scottish parents, the famous golfer is best known for winning the UK Open and US Masters in the 1980s. He learned his trade at Hawkstone Park, where he father was the resident professional.

LEN MURRAY: The former TUC union leader, who went on to become Lord Murray of Epping, was the son of a farmworker, and born in Hadley in 1922. He attended Wellington Grammar School.

MELANIE NAKHLA: The 20-year-old singer is the Shropshire connection to classical all-girl singing group All Angels. Born in Shrewsbury, she played tennis and netball at county level, and is learning to become a pilot.

NICK OWEN: The BBC Midlands Today news presenter is a Shropshire lad who went to Kingsland Grange school in Shrewsbury, and later Shrewsbury School. He has worked at Midlands Today since 1993.

WILFRED OWEN: The acclaimed First World War poet and soldier was the eldest of four children who lived at Plas Wilmot, a house near Oswestry. He was killed in action in 1918, just a week before the Armistice.

MICHAEL PALIN: Probably one of Shropshire's best known scholars. The Monty Python star was a Shrewsbury School pupil who went onto Oxford University, and is now a celebrated globe-trotting documentary maker.

JOHN PEEL: The legendary radio DJ, who was one of the longest serving voices on BBC Radio One, was educated at Shrewsbury School.

SUZI PERRY: Daughter of a music promoter, the 39-year-old was born at an RAF hospital in Cosford. She is best known for presenting superbike racing on TV, and fronting The Gadget Show, and is a former model.

ELLIS PETERS: The author, whose real name is Edith Pargeter, was born in Horsehay, Telford. She wrote the hugely successful Brother Cadfael medieval murder and mystery series.

PETE POSTLETHWAITE: The star of The Usual Suspects, Brassed Off and Jurassic Park is one of the county's most recognisable famous faces. He has lived in an eco-friendly house near Bishop's Castle for many years.

SIR GORDON RICHARDS: A horse racing legend who is often described as the world's greatest ever jockey. He was born in Donnington Wood, Telford, in 1904, and used to drive the family pony and trap taxi service around Oakengates.

SYBIL RUSCOE: Radio and television presenter, born near Wem, who worked for the Shropshire Star and BBC Radio Shropshire before working on an array of shows from the BBC's Top of the Pops to cricket on Channel Four.

WILLIE RUSHTON: The cartoonist and satirist met Richard Ingrams while they were being educated at Shrewsbury School. The pair of them went on to form Private Eye magazine in 1961.

HELEN SORAYA: Up and coming Shropshire actress, from Albrighton. The 29-year-old was one of the hen party guests in mega-successful Mamma Mia, and also had a role in last year's fantasy drama Inkheart.

CHRISTOPHER TIMOTHY: The Bayston Hill actor, best known for his role as Yorkshire vet James Herriott in All Creatures Great and Small, was educated at Shrewsbury School.

RICHARD TODD: The Hollywood movie heart-throb, who starred in The Longest Day and The Dam Busters, was Oscar-nominated, and was a boarder at Shrewsbury School.

PETER VAUGHAN: The veteran actor probably best known for playing "Grouty" in hit comedy Porridge was born in Wem, and his aunt was instrumental in forming the town's amateur dramatic group, which is 90 years old this year.

MATTHEW WEBB: The first person to swim the English Channel unaided was born in Dawley, Telford, in 1848. He was one of 12 children, and son of a Coalbrookdale doctor.

ROY WOOD: The Wizzard guitarist, best known for I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, lives on the border of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, but has a Shropshire bolt-hole in Wem.

RICHIE WOODHALL: The Olympic boxing bronze medallist, Commonwealth gold medallist, and former world super middleweight champion, is from Telford. Since his retirement, he has become a successful BBC boxing commentator.

IAN WOOSNAM: The Oswestry-born golfer still has strong ties to the county through his family who live at St Martins. He won the US Masters in 1991 and captained the last victorious European Ryder Cup team.

BILLY WRIGHT: One of England's all-time greatest footballers, who went on to captain his country and win top honours with Wolves, was born in Ironbridge in 1924 and went to school in Madeley.

* Do you know of any more names we should add to our list? Post a comment below, or send us an email

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