Manchester Television, Film & Broadcasting Celebrities
(Born 1963) 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, Brian Redhead, who was also a family friend. Nick’s first broadcasting job was at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester working for Jim Hancock 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.
(Born 1963) 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’. Simon’s 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. His 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. Simon 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.
(1928-2008) 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. She 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’. The 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. She 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’. Kathy 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.
(Born 1950) 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 Mike Harding. 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.
James H Reeve
(Born 1951) 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 Bernard Manning 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.