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Nick Robinson was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1963 and
attended Cheadle Hulme Grammar School after which he attended
University College Oxford, where he read Politics, Philosophy
& Economics. He was inspired to become a political broadcaster
by the late “Today” programme presenter,
, who was also a family friend. Nick’s first broadcasting
job was at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester working for Jim
of the BBC ” North West” programme.
He then moved into radio working on ‘Five Live’ before
going on to present the political review show ‘Straight Talk’
and BBC Two’s live coverage from Westminster. At the BBC
in 1986 he had been a trainee producer on programmes like ‘Brass
Tacks’, ‘Newsround’ and ‘Crimewatch’. Robinson
left the BBC in 2002 to join ITV News as its political editor.
Before then, he had been BBC News 24’s chief political correspondent.
He recently returned to the BBC as its political editor, replacing
Andrew Marr. He was a former deputy editor of ‘ Panorama’
and ‘On The Record’. Over
time he has built up a reputation as a respected, authoritative
and tenacious reporter.


Simon Rimmer, TV Chef and Restauranteur


Greater Manchester Chef Simon Rimmer and TV presenter of “Great
Food Live ” and “Great Food Bites”
on UKTV Food, is also the celebrated owner of Greens vegetarian
restaurant in West Didsbury, Manchester. Born 5 May 1963, it
began, so he tells it, in 1990, armed with only two cookery
books and no idea how to cook he decided to set up a restaurant
in Lapwing Lane. Two years later, ‘The Guardian’ newspaper
described Greens as one of the most exciting new restaurants
in UK, and it has gone on since then to win several awards,
including The Big Issue’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’.
television career began with “Granada Breeze” ,
hosting shows such as ‘Livetime’ and ‘Battle of the
Chefs’ . He has also appeared regularly on programmes such
as ‘This Morning’, ‘Granada Tonight’, ‘A Taste for Travel’,
‘Lunchtime Live’, ‘The Afternoon Show’, ‘Gloria’s (Hunniford’s)
Open House’ and ‘ Xchange’ for CBBC. Simon
also occasionally presents the property show ” To Buy
or Not to Buy” for BBC1.
more recent “Grub’s Up” regional programme
aired on ITV1 in April 2006, he is a regular guest chef and
presenter on the “Saturday Kitchen” programme
and recently was a contestant in the Great British Menu competition
on BBC2 Television to create a 4 course meal for Her Majesty
the Queen to celebrate her 80th birthday – regrettably, he failed
to beat chef Marcus Wareing in the regional heats.
believes chefs should excite people about cooking, and that
it should be “sociable, straightforward and sparkling”.
He published ” The Accidental Vegetarian: Delicious Food
Without Meat” in 2004. His
second Book, “The Rebel Cook” , is to be published
in autumn 2006. Simon
is also a freelance textile designer and ceramic decorator with
a degree in Fashion & Textile Design.


Kathy Staff, actress

Kathy Staff was born Minnie Higginbottom on 12 July 1928 in
Dukinfield, Cheshire – now in the Borough of Tameside in Greater
Manchester. The daughter of a clothing company manager, her
working-class family was religious, and as a girl she regularly
attended two Sunday school sessions and two services on the
Sabbath. Having signed the temperance pledge at the Band of
Hope as a little girl, she eschewed alcohol all her life. Minnie
sang in the local church choir and in amateur Gilbert and Sullivan
productions, and became head girl at her local secondary modern
school. On leaving school at 14, she worked in an office by
day while taking part in amateur dramatics in the evenings.
was, in time, to become a stalwart of British acting, and a
virtual national treasure, having begun her acting career in
a touring theatre company in Scotland, and had appeared on television
in ‘Castlehaven’, ‘Within These Walls’ and ‘Hadleigh’,
but is probably best known by British audiences as Nora Batty
in the BBC’s long-running comedy show ‘Last of the Summer
Wine’ which she starred in from its very inception as a
1973 Comedy Playhouse presentation. She had also appeared as
Vera Hopkins in Granada TV’s ‘Coronation Street’.
success of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ entailed her being
written out of ‘Coronation Street’, initially arranged
just for the filming of the first series, but in the event the
show continued for another 17 series, and she became a regular,
highly respected and longstanding permanent member of the cast.
has also appeared in many other television shows including ‘Freddie
Starr’ shows and ‘The Lenny Henry Christmas Show’. Kathy
also has a distinguished career in films, where she has appeared
in ‘ A Kind of Loving’, ‘The Dresser’, ‘The Family Way’, ‘Camille’
and ‘Little Dorrit’.
Staff died on 13th December 2008 aged 80 years. leaving behind
a husband and two daughters, the younger of whom, now the Rev
Susan Jackson, became one of the first women priests to be ordained
in the Church of England.


James Stannage


James Stannage was born on 22 February 1950, started out as
an amateur actor and secondary school teacher, having spent
a few years in San Francisco studying drama. However, he made
his mark as a late night talk show radio host on local Manchester
radio stations, including Piccadilly and Metro, but more especially
he established a reputation on the Key 103 station. He
was dismissed from Key 103 in June 2005 after numerous warnings
and a history of run-ins with regulator OFCOM, the broadcasting
media’s regulatory body. His
late night radio show was based around music and a virtually
open live discussion forum, with topics ranging from sport,
religion, current affairs, or politics. He frequently gave air
time to local rising celebrities including the likes of
. Stannage
would often argue his case aggressively (generally from an anti-politics
and anti-religion standpoint); if he disagreed with callers,
he never hesitated to cut them off abruptly mid-sentence, especially
if they were boring, abusive or overly contentious. In many
contemporary surveys, Stannage came out as the number 1 Manchester
DJ at that time.

H Reeve

James H Reeve


James Hengist Reeve is a UK broadcaster, journalist, raconteur
and radio phone-in host based in the Manchester area. James
has hosted shows on Piccadilly Radio, BBC GMR (now BBC Radio
Manchester), BBC Radio Five Live, Sheffield Hallam FM, TalkSport,
TeamTalk radio stations and, up until July 2006, presented the
late night phone-in show at Key 103, as a successor to James
Stannage (above). He
appeared in the 1981 TV production of ‘Strike: The Birth
of Solidarity’ with Sir Ian Holm. James has also worked
on radio and television in Saudi Arabia. He left BBC GMR in
1998 . James also appeared alongside the late
in the year 2000 in a video entitled ‘Up U Man
U’ . A
resident of Prestwich in north Manchester, James is a keen supporter
of Manchester City Football Club.


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This page last updated 18 Dec 11.