(1912-2003) Stage actress Dame Wendy Hiller was born Wendy Margaret
Hiller on 15th August 1912 in Bramhall, (then in Cheshire, now
part of Stockport Metropolitan Borough), the daughter of Frank
Watkin Hiller, a prominent local cotton manufacturer, and Marie
Stone. She was soon sent to Winceby House School in Bexhill,
Kent, to lose her northern accent. She made her professional
debut in 1930 as a stage struck actress in the Manchester Repertory
Theatre (Britain’s first Rep) where she attracted the attention
of George Bernard Shaw in the stage production of “Love
on the Dole” , and he subsequently cast her in several
of his plays, including “Saint Joan”, “Major
Barbara” and “Pygmalion” , the film
version of the latter gained her an Oscar nomination in 1938.
She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1958 for the film
“Separate Tables”, and was nominated again
in 1966 for her part in Robert Boult’s “A Man for All
Seasons” . Her distinctively earthy voice, and ability
to express transparent honesty, made her natural style. She
toured for most of 1934 in Ronald Gow’s adaptation of “Love
on the Dole” where a Lancashire accent came easily
to her, and gained more or less instant fame later in 1936 when
the play moved to London and also in New York in 1936. Later
she was to marry Gow.
the following years she also acted on an international stage
in leading roles in plays by Shakespeare, lbsen, Synge, Wilde,
O’Neill, Henry James, Somerset Maughan, Robert Bolt, plays.
Her stage work included (amongst many others):
“The First Gentleman” (New
Theatre in 1945)
“The Heiress” (New York
in 1947 and London in 1950)
“Waters Of The Moon” (Haymarket
“Julius Caesar” (Old Vic
“Winters Tale” (Old Vic
“When We Dead Awaken” (Edinburgh
Festival in 1968)
“Ghosts” (Cambridge, 1972)
“The Aspern Papers” (New
“Crown Matrimonial ” (Haymarket
“The Importance Of Being Earnest”
(Watford, in 1981)
“Driving Miss Daisy” (Apollo
appearances, many in leading roles, have included “Pygmalion”,
“Major Barbara” (1941), “I Know Where
I’m Going” (1945), “Separate Tables”
(1958), “Sons And Lovers” (1960), “A
Man For All Seasons” (1966) and “Murder On
The Orient Express” (1974).
In 1971 she was awarded an OBE and went on to be created a
dame in 1975. Her husband died in 1993. They had two children
– a son and a daughter. Dame Wendy Hiller died, aged 90, on
14th May 2003.
Born Judith Lynette Chalmers in Manchester, Judith Chalmers
is the British television presenter who is probably best-known
for the ITV holiday programme “Wish You Were Here…?”
during its heyday in the 1970s and 80s, and later in the several
other travel programmes which it spawned.
Earlier she had presented the much-loved and very popular BBC
television ballroom dancing competition programme “Come
Recently her television appearances have been limited to short
guest appearances on programmes like “This Morning”
and “Graham Norton” chat shows. In October
2003 she received the highest honour at the British Guild of
Travel Writers’ Awards when she was the recipient of a Lifetime
Achievement Award in recognition for thirty years of worldwide
travel coverage on television. She was made an OBE in 1994.
Born in Rochdale in 1959, Andy Kershaw is a celebrated local
broadcaster, popular music critic and DJ.
While studying politics and journalism at Leeds University,
he was the Entertainment Secretary and organised concerts by
The Clash, Elvis Costello and Black Uhuru. His entertainments
schedule seem to have somewhat overshadowed his student life
as he subsequently failed his degree course.
In 1984 he started a professional career in the music industry
as a roadie, driver and tour manager for Billy Bragg, among
His broadcasting career began in September 1984 with a report
for the cult BBC 2 Television show “Whistle Test” ,
which he continued to work on until 1987. In 1985, he was offered
his own radio show by BBC Radio 1, which he presented for 15
years until May 2000 when his show was replaced by a dance music
programme. He was also a presenter of Channel 4’s “Travelog”
programme. Since 2001 he has been a presenter on Radio 3.
In his spare time Andy enjoys racing motorcycles, and frequently
writes as a foreign correspondent for BBC radio news and occasional
travel documentaries for Channel 4. He reported for the BBC
from Rwanda during the horrific genocide of 1994. Andy lived
for a while in Crouch End and the Isle of Man with his partne r,
Juliette Banner, and two children, Sonny and Dolly. Currently
the couple are estranged and separated.
1944) Born on the 17th December 1944 in Manchester, Bernard Hill
is probably best remembered as Pauline Collins’ husband in the
“Shirley Valentine” film, as Yosser Hughes
in Alan Bleasdale’s 1980 television production of “Boys
from the Black Stuff” . More recently he appeared as
Théoden, King of the Rohan in Tolkein’s “Lord
of the Rings ” blockbuster film trilogy.
Bernard studied at the then Manchester Polytechnic (now the
Metropolitan University of Manchester) and gained a Diploma
in Theatre in 1970.
Many mistakenly suppose him to be a native of Liverpool, thanks
largely to his BAFTA Award nominated Yosser Hughes role, where
his scowse catchphrase “gizza job” entered into popular
parlance and largely established his public notoriety. He also
received the Press Guild Award for Achievement of the Decade
for this role. However, his pedigree has been enhanced by many
other prestigious film and stage appearances, including “The
Ghost and the Darkness” with Val Kilmer and Michael
Douglas, “Madagascar Skin,” “Mountains of
the Moon,” “The Bounty” and Sir Richard Attenborough’s
Oscar-winning “Gandhi” .
He recently starred in the BBC’s “Skallagrig”,
which went on to receive the BAFTA Award for Best TV Play. On
the London stage, Hill’s leading roles include “A View
from the Bridge,” “The Cherry Orchard” and
He also portrayed the unfortunate Captain Smith in the award-winning
blockbuster film “Titanic” . Bernard Hill now
lives in Suffolk. He is married with one son, Gabriel.
is regularly heard in voice-overs of television commercials.
Now known to viewers across the North West for her regular TV
presenter and journalist spot on “Granada Reports” ,
(later relaunched as “Granada Tonight” , along
with John Huntley and Bob
Greaves), Lucy Meacock had first appeared presenting “London
Plus” , along with John Stapleton.
Born in South Wales, Lucy was educated at the Ursuline Convent
in Chester and then at the Morongo Girls College in Geelong,
Australia. Later she attended Upper Chine School in Shanklin
in the Isle of Wight.
She began her career as a journalist on the Chester Chronicle,
and worked on the Evening Leader. Later, she moved to BBC Radio
in Newcastle, before working for Tyne Tees television, in the
same city. Then she moved to BBC Television at Lime Grove in
London, before moving on to Anglia Television. She has received
two Royal Television Society Awards, for the “Manchester
Bomb Programme” and for the “Organ Retention
Scandal Debate” in 2001. She also chaired the Granada
TV late night television discussion programme “The Late
Debate” for a time. She also co-presented “Granada
Upfront” , a live regional debate programme with Anthony
Wilson. Lucy enjoys football, golf and classical music and
is also Patron of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester.
Television newscaster, broadcaster and presenter Anna Ford was
brought up in Cumbria with her four brothers and attended White
House Grammar School in Brampton. She went to Manchester University
where she read Social Anthropology before taking a postgraduate
diploma in Adult Education.
Anna then worked from 1970-1972 as a lecturer in Christies Fine
Art Department in Belfast, after which she worked at the Open
University (from 1972-1974) as a staff tutor in Social Science
for the Northern Ireland region.
In 1974 she joined Granada Television in Manchester as a researcher
and worked on numerous local and educational programmes. In
1976 she joined the BBC’s “Man Alive” team and then
moved on to “Tomorrow’s World” for a short period.
In February 1978, she joined Independent Television News (ITN)
where she remained until 1981 when she moved to TV-AM, by then
at a late stage as one of the original so-called ‘Famous Five’,
after Esther Rantzen had dropped out due to her pregnancy. But,
her stay was to be a short one as, in a matter of two months,
she was dismissed for alleged “breech of contract”
over the much publicised departure of Peter Jay. Subsequently,
in 1989, she joined the BBC1 Six O’ Clock News and has regularly
presented the “Today” programme and “Woman’s
Hour” on Radio 4, as well as standing in for Jimmy Young
on BBC Radio 2. Since 1999 she has been sole presenter of the
BBC lunchtime news.
Recent guest appearances have included “Have I Got News
For You” and a singing role in BBC Television’s “Stars
Sing The Beatles”. Anna was elected Chancellor of the University
of Manchester in 2001. She was married to Mark Boxer, who unfortunately
died in 1988. The couple had two daughters.