(Born 1941) Shirley Stelfox was born on the 11 April 1941 in Dukinfield in present-day Tameside and attended Lakes Road Secondary School for Girls and distinguished herself early on by playing central characters in school plays. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and is probably best known as Edna Birch in THE ITV Soap Opera “Emmerdale” . She went on to play “Our Rose” in the first season of BBC1’s popular sitcom ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ , but she was replaced in the second series (due to prior commitments) by Mary Millar. Shirley was married to the late actor, Don Henderson. A stalwart of British acting for many years, she also played the part of Beth in ‘ Knights of God’ (ITV 1987), and has been a regular in several television soaps over the years, including ‘Brookside’ as Madge Richmond (1986-1987), Shirley Henderson in ‘Coronation Street’ (1993-1994) before moving on to a role in ‘Emmerdale’. She also made an appearance in ‘Eastenders’ as Jane Healey in 1999. Other stage, television and film performances have included:
‘Carry On at Your Convenience’, 1971
‘ The Chinese Detective’ , BBC, 1981-1982
‘1984’ with John Hurt in 1984
‘Personal Services’ with Julie Walters, 1987
BBC ‘Inspector Morse Series – Last Bus to Woodstock’, 1991
‘Age of Treason’, 1993
Mrs Arbuthnot in ‘A Woman of No Importance’ at Leicester Haymarket in 1997.
(1935-2007) Born Frederick John Inman on 28 June 1935 in Blackpool but raised in Preston, John Inman is probably best remembered as the camp Mr Humphries in the long running classic BBC series of “Are You Being Served?” and his memorable catchphrase “I’m free!” . His father owned a barber shop on Fishergate in Preston. Inman’s first professional appearance was at the age of 13 on Blackpool’s celebrated South Pier in a play called “Freda”. He went on to make his London West End debut in 1969 in the musical “Ann Veronica” at the Cambridge Theatre, alongside Arthur Lowe , followed by a role in “Salad Days” and various bit roles and pantomimes. There followed seventeen months at the famous Windmill Theatre after which he appeared in “Charley’s Aunt” at the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand. But it was when he was asked to join the cast at Grace Brothers Department Store in Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft’s proposed new BBC Television sitcom, “Are You Being Served?”, that he first came to the notice of a wider public. The show was an instant success and ran for some 69 episodes between 1972 and 1985 – it is still shown today in many countries throughout the world. It’s celebrated cast included Molly Sugden, Frank Thornton and Wendy Richards amongst others and quickly attracted large viewing audiences. The series was so popular that it was reshot in Boston with an all American cast. It was also remade by Australian Television, with a new cast, except for Inman who was asked to reprise his original showstopping role of Mr Humphries. Inman’s new found fame saw him later move on to other series, including the sitcom “Take a Letter Please Mr Jones” with Rula Lenska, in the farce “Bedside Manners”, and regular appearances in music hall roles on BBC TV’s “The Good Old Days” where he specialised in impersonation’s of Wigan’s famous old comedian, Frank Randle. He also appeared in “Odd Man Out” in 1977, “Grace & Favour” in 1992 and “Revolver” in 2004. He was the subject of “This Is Your Life” , was named ‘BBC Television Personality of the Year’ by the Variety Club of Great Britain, and was also voted funniest man on television by the readers of ‘TV Times’ magazine. His latter days were spent in live theatre rather than on television, and he was a regular figure in summer season shows and Christmas pantomimes. John Inman did a great deal of charity work, was King Rat of the Grand Order of Water Rats, and in the year 2002 was President of the Heritage Foundation. He died of hepatitis on the 8th March 2007 aged 71.
(Born 1945) Born in Kendal in Cumbria on the 3rd of January 1945, Dr David Starkey is a notable British academic, history teacher, writer, and broadcaster. He was educated at Kendal Grammar School and read for a degree at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he also obtained a PhD. From 1970-1972 he was also a research fellow and later became a lecturer in history at Fitzwilliam. Since 1998 he has been visiting fellow of the College and has been a regular contributor to the national press. He probably came to a wider public notice as a regular panellist on the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘The Moral Maze’ and it was during this time that his demonstrative, often controversial and frequently adversarial manner led the ‘Daily Mail ‘ to describe him as “…the rudest man in Britain”. From 1995 to 1998 he was a presenter on Talk Radio and has been a writer and presenter of history at the London School of Economics. He appears frequently on television and radio, often invited on such programmes as” Question Time” and “Newsnight”. Starkey has maintained the status of respected academic throughout his various media enterprises and has written several books, including ” Rivals in Power”, “The Reign of Henry VIII: Personalities and Politics”, “English Court from the Wars of the Roses to the Civil War “, and “Elizabeth: Apprenticeship “, which has been rated the number one non-fiction best seller in ‘The Times’ newspaper. Several television series have been made on the basis of his books, including “Henry VIII” and more recently, “Elizabeth I” which was screened on Channel 4, with the distinction of having achieved the highest ever rating for a history programme shown on that channel. His previous series “King Henry VIII” and “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” also achieved exceptional audience ratings. He is well known throughout the United States because of his role on CBS, communicating the recent sea changes in public opinion within Britain to a wider audience. He was awarded the W H Smith Prize for Biography (for “Elizabeth I” ) and was presented with the Norton Medlicott Medal for Service to History by the Historical Association. He has been on the Commemorative Plaques Working Group for English Heritage since 1993 and has been president of the Society for Court Studies since 1996. He has been patron of the Tory Campaign for Homosexual Equality (TORCHE) since 1994 and has been an honorary associate of the Rationalist Press Association since 1995.
Local born Buzz Hawkins is the voice behind the cult radio comedy show “The Bradshaws” . He has produced several television series including “Comedians” (a series of 26 programmes) and “Stuart’s Hall Of Fame” on Granada Plus. He also wrote many sketches, for the “Grumbleweeds” . His earliest Billy Bradshaw characterisation was in 1982 when the character was first heard on the Gary Davis Show on Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio. Buzz regularly takes his shows on tour around the UK, as well as Spain and South Africa, where his live shows command packed theatre audiences and he is in great demand as an after dinner speaker, as well as his numerous concert and cabaret evenings. He has been twice nominated for the Sony Best Use Of Comedy On Radio Award. His recent TV appearances have included Peter Kay’s “Phoenix Nights” and “That’s Entertainment” . Buzz Hawkin’s website (www.thebradshaws.biz) has been twice awarded the Sony Visionary Design Award, most recently in 2003, for its accessibility by visually impaired people.
Freddy ‘Parrot Face’ Davies
(Born 1937) Brixton London born on the 21 July 1937, but long time Salford resident, Freddy Davies was a well known comedian in the 1960s and 1970s, both in live variety shows and television. A former Butlin’s redcoat whose family were already veteran entertainers, Freddy was notable for blowing raspberries and his comic voice with its distinctive lisp and his trilby pulled hard down over his ears. Later he went on to a successful career as a comedian along with fellow comedian and personal friend Jim Bowen on ocean cruise liners. More recently he has made several notable television guest appearances in more serious roles, including BBC1’s “Casualty” and in the 1995 mini TV Series “Band of Gold” . In 1993 he appeared in “Heartbeat”, in 1995 “All Quiet on the Preston Front” , and in 1996 he appeared the Once in a Moonlit Junkyard episode of the BBC’s “Last of the Summer Wine”. In 1997 he appeared in an episode of “Hetty Wainthrop Investigates” with Patricia Routledge, and in 1999 in the films “Igloo” and in “Harbour Lights”. He made an appearance in a June 2005 episode of BBC Television’s drama series, “Born and Bred” . He was also seen as the old man in a portrait in the 2004 film of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” . Freddy relaxes by playing golf.
(1931-1985) Colin Crompton,was born on 22 June 1931 in Manchester. A one-time Butlin’s Redcoat and resident of Middleton, first came to the public’s attention with Granada Television’s 1974 series of “The Comedians” which really launched his television career. Later he appeared as the chairman in “The Wheeltappers & Shunters Social Club” television series along with Bernard Manning as chairman of a fictitious working men’s club in the north of England, mirroring, no doubt, Manning’s Embassy Club in Harpurhey. The show ran on television from 1974-1976, and was so successful that it also ran as a stage show at the London Palladium and at the North Pier in Blackpool simultaneously. Crompton’s now politically incorrect and critical put-downs of Morecambe were a distinctive trademark of his act – (” I went to Morecambe once – it was shut!”) – typical of his style. Crompton published several jokes books in the Mini-Ha-Ha Joke Books series, including “Best Jewish Jokes” and “Best West Country Jokes” in 1970 , and “Best Office Jokes”, and “Best After Dinner Jokes” in 1973. Colin Crompton died of lung cancer in August 1985, aged 54, after fighting a 6 month long losing battle.
(Born 1943) Sue Johnstone was born in Warrington in Lancashire on 7th December 1943. Best known for her roles as Sheila Grant in Channel 4’s “Brookside” and Barbara Royle in “The Royle Family” (1998-2000), she is one of Britain’s best-loved and respected television actresses. She trained at the Webber Douglas Academy and has starred in many TV favourites including “Goodbye Cruel World”, “Inspector Morse” and “A Touch of Frost” . In 1997 she appeared in the film “Crime Traveller” . She has also acted in many other film and television roles including “Waking the Dead”, “Brassed Off”, “Score”, “Luv”, “Duck Patrol” and “My Uncle Silas” , as well as a guest appearance as Mrs Chadwick in “Coronation Street” in 1982. In midsummer 2005 she completed a pilot with Lynda Bellingham and Bill Patterson called “Happy Together” for Carlton TV. This same year she also played in the long-running television series of ” Waking the Dead” . She received the Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool John Moore’s University in July 2004. In 2007 and 2008 she played in the BBC 1 spy series “Spooks” .
(Born 1961) Born Tracey Anne Bennett on 17 June 1961 in Leigh, Lancashire (now in Wigan Metropolitan Borough). Tracie trained at the Italia Conti Academy and made her television debut was in the children’s series “Going Out” before joining “Coronation Street” in 1982 as Sharon Gaskell. After a long absence she made a return to ‘the Street’ in 1999. Meantime she had been playing a variety of television roles, including “Black Silk”, “Unnatural Causes”, “The Rector of Stiffkey”, “Knock Knock”, “Relative Strangers”, “Boon”, “The Refuge”, “The Ritz”, “The Bretts”, “All Creatures Great and Small”, “The Bill”, “Casualty” and “Brush Stokes” . She also appeared in the 1989 hit film of “Shirley Valentine” alongside Pauline Collins and Bernard Hill. Amongst her many stage roles are included “Carousel” (at the Royal Exchange Theatre), “She Stoops To Conquer”,”Grease”, “Chicago” and “Educating Rita”. In 1995 she was awarded the Lawrence Olivier Award as best supporting actress in “She Loves Me” . She was also named as the MEN best actor and awarded an Audie award for her narration of “Bridget Jones Diary” books. Tracie was winner of the TV show “Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes” as Judy Garland in 2000. In 2003 she was critically acclaimed for her role in “High Society” in London’s West End, and for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2004. Most recently she appeared in “Sex, Chips and Rock ‘n’ Roll” at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for which she was nominated for a TMA Theatre Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. More recently she has appeared alongside Suranne Jones in the ITV Detective series “Scott & Bailey”. Tracie is single and lives in London.
(Born 1968) Daniel Craig was born in Chester on 2nd March 1968, but grew up in Liverpool before he moved to London in 1984 at the age of 16 to train at the National Youth Theatre. Later, he graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the early 1990s, alongside fellow students included Ewan McGregor and Joseph Fiennes. He made his film debut with “The Power of One” in 1992, and made early TV appearances in that same year in “Boon” and in the Channel 4 political satire “Drop The Dead Donkey” in 1993. His TV performance in “Our Friends in the North” heralded many powerful television roles for Craig and the big screen. From a hit man’s psychotic son in “Road to Perdition” to a famous poet in “Sylvia” , and lead roles in Steven Spielberg’s “Vengeance” (2006) and the BBC’s “Archangel” . Craig’s other BBC credits have included “The Ice House” in 1997 and “The Trench” in 1999. He starred in Roger Michell’s 2003 film, “The Mother” and performed along with Bill Nighy in Michell’s 2004 thriller, “Enduring Love” . He played English poet laureate Ted Hughes to Gwenyth Paltrow’s Sylvia Plath in “Sylvia” in 2003. His other movie credits include “Layer Cake” in 2004, and alongside Angelina Jolie in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in 2001. The BBC 4 adaptation of “Copenhagen” in 2002 saw him play German physicist Werner Heisenberg. He was nominated for a 2002 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in “A Number” at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs. At the Variety Club Show Business Awards in 2004 he won the award for ‘Outstanding Performance in a Film’. In October 2006 Craig became the latest incarnation of James Bond in the remake of Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale” , and in “Quantum of Salace” in 2008. In 2012 his latest outing as James Bond was released in the UK in “Skyfall” . In the 2012 London Olympics, he appeared in the Bond character role alongside Her Majesty the Queen in the opening ceremony . Daniel Craig lives with his partner in London and has a daughter by an earlier marriage.