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Film Celebrities & Broadcasters of Greater Manchester

Judi Dench OBE

Dame Judy Dench

Judi Dench was born on the 9th December 1934 in York, can
fairly be described as our greatest living actress by popular
and professional consent. Her father worked as a doctor in Tyldesley
where she lived with her family for a while before moving back
to Yorkshire. She attended Mount School in York, and studied
at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She made
her stage debut as Ophelia in the Old Vic Company’s Liverpool
production of ‘Hamlet’ in 1957 and soon established herself
as one of Britain’s most distinguished classical actresses.
Performances included ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘Henry V’, ‘Measure
for Measure’, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, ‘The Double
Dealer’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘She Stoops to Conquer ‘
and ‘Romeo & Juliet’ . Later she worked atthe Nottingham
Playhouse and the Oxford Playhouse. In 1961 she joined the Royal
Shakespeare Company (the RSC), and appeared in her first film
‘The Third Secret’ in 1964, followed by ‘ A Study in
Terror’ in 1965, ‘Four in The Morning’, ‘He Who Rides
A Tiger’ and ‘Days to Come’ in 1966. She was first
seen by American audiences as Titania in the RSC’s 1968 TV production
of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ . During the 1970’s apart
from raising a family with husband Michael Williams, she made
two films – ‘Luther’ in 1973 and ‘Dead Cert’ in
A long line of television appearances followed, which introduced
her to a wider audience – these included ‘The Comedy of Errors’,
‘On Giant’s Shoulders’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘ Love in a Cold Climate’
and ‘A Fine Romance’ (opposite her husband Michael) which
earned her the BAFTA Best TV Actress Award in 1981.
Other appearances included Chekhov’s ‘ The Cherry Orchard’,
‘Saigon: Year of the Cat’, ‘Talking To A Stranger’, ‘The Browning
Version’, ‘ Mr and Mrs Edgehill’, ‘Ghosts’, ‘Behaving Badly’,
‘Can You Hear Me Thinking?’ and ‘ Absolute Hell’ .
More recently, she appeared in the extremely popular television
comedy series ‘As Time Goes By’ (with Geoffrey Palmer)
– the series ran from 1993 to 1999. Other films have included
‘ Wetherby’ in 1985, ‘ 84 Charing Cross Road’ in
1986, ‘A Room with a View’ in 1986 (which won her a BAFTA
Award for Best Supporting Actress), ‘A Handful of Dust’
in 1988, ‘Henry V’ in 1989, and ‘Jack and Sarah’ in
In 1995 she took over the role of ‘M’ in the James Bond films
‘ Golden Eye’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. This was
followed by the lead role as Queen Victoria in ‘Mrs Brown’
in 1997 for which she won a BAFTA award for Best Actress, a
Scottish BAFTA award for Best Actress, and a Golden Globe award
for Best Actress. In 1998 she played Arabella in the film ‘Tea
with Mussolini’ and as Queen Elizabeth I for an Oscar-winning
cameo role in ‘Shakespeare in Love’.
In 1970 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire
(OBE) and was created Dame of the British Empire in 1988. She
has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the Universities of
Birmingham, Loughborough, Warwick, York and the Open University.
In 2000 Dame Judi received the honorary degree of Doctor of
Letters from Oxford University. Also in 2000 she played Amande
Voizin in the film ‘ Chocolat’ , and in 2001 portrayed
novelist Irish Murdoch in the film ‘Iris’ .
Her husband Michael sadly died on 12th January 2001 after a
long battle with lung cancer. Judi Dench remains one of the
nations most respected and beloved dames of the stage, television
and screen. She appeared in Noel Coward’s ‘ The Importance
of Being Erarnest’ which opened in the UK in September 2002.
latest film appearances have included her reprise role as ‘M’
in the Bond films as well as leading roles in “Ladies
in Lavender” and “Chronicles of Riddick”.

Lee-Potter MBE

Lynda Lee Potter, Journalist

Born Lynda Berrison (though some sources have it as Higginson)
in 1934 in Leigh Road,
Wigan, from a mining family.
As a young woman she became a drama school graduate and married
a doctor, the son of Air Marshal Sir Patrick Lee-Potter. Once
labelled as ‘Britain’s Most Famous Woman Columnist’. Best known
as a popular journalist for the Daily Mail and for cutting
journalistic wit, no nonesense common sense attitudes and hatred
of all pompousness.
A self-confessed snob from a working class background, and having
moved up through a good grammar school education, her book ‘Class
Act – How to beat the British Class System’ , described by
critics as “… a wonderful mix of autobiography and
witty social analysis”, proved a best seller. She was voted
Columnist of the Year at the British Press Awards in March 2000.
She had three children, all of whom are journalists and authors,
and lived in London and Dorset. She
died on 20th October 2004 after a long period suffering from
a brain tumour.

Peel OBE

John Peel, Music DJ and Broadcvaster of Radio 1, and the Peel Sessions

John Peel was thought by many to have been one of the most important
figures in contemporary British music. A veteran DJ, and last
survivor of the original BBC Radio 1 presenters, he was a familiar
face and voice to the nation – his laconic style and northern
accent was immediately recognisable to everybody. He had hosted
live performances including Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s, The Clash
The Smiths in the 1970s and
80s. He was one of the first DJs to give radio air time to punk,
reggae and hip-hop musicians, long before they had been absorbed
into the mainstream, and became a music icon with his groundbreaking
‘Peel Sessions’ .
Born in 1939 in Heswall near Chester,
on the Wirral Peninsula of Cheshire,
(and not in Liverpool,
as some would have it), he went to America after completing
his National Service in 1962 and first worked at WWR Radio in
Dallas. He came back in 1967 to work on pirate radio ships anchored
just outside British waters. Later he went on to pioneer the
new BBC Radio 1, and remained with the station from its inception
until his death. Recently he had presented ‘Home Truths’
on Radio 4, which had earned three Sony Awards in its first
year. He regularly came top in music paper Best DJ polls, and
won the 1993 Sony Award as, ‘Broadcaster of the Year’; in 1994
he was named ‘ Godlike Genius’ by the NME ( New Musical
Express ) music newspaper. He also acquired several Honorary
Degrees from universities across the country and was awarded
the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his work. In April
2003 the Transworld Company had agreed to pay a rumoured
£1.6 million for his memoirs, which were planned to be
published in 2005.
John Peel died of a heart attack in his 65th year on the 26th
October 2004 whilst on a ‘working holiday’ in Cuzco, Peru, and
is survived by his wife Sheila and four children.
He also left behind a personal collection of around 26,000 LP
records (all catalogued), between 30,000 and 40,000 seven inch
singles, and a similar number of CDs – all reportedly kept in
sheds in his garden.


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This page last updated 17 Dec 11.