Surrey’s top 50 celebrities 2016
19:46 19 October 2016
With its picturesque rolling countryside and some of the most desirable residential roads and private estates in the country, not to mention of course the excellent transport links, Surrey is a hotbed of talent. Here’s 50 of our county’s most famous faces*
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2016
*In alphabetical order, rather than ranked!
For our full Surrey Life celebrity interview archive, click here
1 Lucy Alexander
Having hosted BBC TV show Homes Under the Hammer since 2003, making her a daytime TV favourite, the Thames Ditton resident and Surrey Life columnist recently announced that she’s leaving the show – although, with the series being a pre-recorded format, that means she won’t be leaving our screens for a while yet! The 45-year-old lives in the riverside village with her husband Stewart and their two children, Kitty and Leo.
2 Peter Andre
Releasing a new book this month, following an album release last October, it’s a busy time for Peter Andre. Still apparently loving the Surrey life, despite putting his Lingfield home up for sale last year, when he appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, scenes showed him rehearsing in Reigate’s Priory Park. When Surrey Life interviewed the 43-year-old singer, the interview was unexpectedly put on hold so he could feed his chickens.
3 Michael Aspel
Perhaps best-known through his career as the ever-charming host of This Is Your Life and the Antiques Roadshow, Weybridge resident Michael Aspel was the obvious
choice to… start the annual pantomime horse race at Sandown Park racecourse in Esher this summer! All in a good cause, the charity race is part of the Elmbridge Community Raceday. Elsewhere, the 83-year-old has been a keen supporter of Woking & Sam Beare Hospices’ New Build public appeal.
4 Sir David Attenborough
When he celebrated his 90th birthday in May of this year, the whole of the BBC (or so it seemed) came to a standstill to pay homage to one of the world’s greatest naturalists. Once upon a time, while working with London Zoo, he would help bring animals back to Britain, and got something of a reputation for keeping odd pets at the Richmond property he still calls home. Today, he is also a patron for the local Environment Trust.
5 Antonio Banderas
One of the more enigmatic names on this list, Hollywood A-lister Antonio Banderas’ links to Surrey crept up on us before leaping into public knowledge when he declared during an interview with the Sunday Times earlier this year that he found our county “magical” and that “everyone in Cobham, Weybridge and Esher is incredibly friendly”. The signs were there, as last September he was spotted buying bikes at the WA Cycle Shop in Hersham. It only got more intriguing when it turned out the 56-year-old has been commuting (by bike) from his new Cobham home to study fashion at Central Saint Martins college in London – with plans to launch his own label.
6 Mike Batt
Much excitement, as Bernard Cribbins will be Great Uncle Bulgaria and Ray Winstone is Tobermory in a new version of The Wombles, currently being worked on by creator Mike Batt. The multi-talented 67-year-old, who has a country pad and studio near Farnham, released a compilation of his classical work, entitled A Classical Tale, last year.
7 Roger Black
It was time to watch on rather than participate, as the Guildford-based Olympic silver medallist joined Rugby World Cup champion Maggie Alphonsi and Badminton star Gail Emms at the official launch of the 2016 GoFest family fitness festival at Surrey Sports Park this summer. Alongside Sir Richard Stilgoe, the 50-year-old is a patron of the Surrey Care Trust, which provides learning, training and mentoring to support young people and adults.
8 Brian Blessed
Actor and adventurer
When asked about his favourite place to relax locally, the actor and adventurer Brian Blessed replied “my cabin in the garden… it’s where I meditate with Sir Kenneth Branagh.” Well, he would, wouldn’t he? This irrepressible tour de force remains as active as ever elsewhere. Living near the village of Chobham, the 79-year-old became an honorary patron of Guildford Shakespeare Company for their 10th anniversary this year, gave theatrical directing a shot this summer and is, generally, feeling “radiant”. Gordon’s alive!
9 Frankie and Wayne Bridge
Singer and footballer
Over the last few years, The Saturdays singer, 27, and retired professional footballer, 36, have been happily making a home for their family away from the spotlight in Surrey. Recently, Frankie attended Cobham’s annual Fashion For Good charity event with the team from Cobham Pilates and took part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing tour. The couple live in Oxshott and have two children.
10 Derren Brown
Having spent his formative years with the peacocks and quadrangles of Whitgift School in South Croydon, Derren Brown, 45, has been spending a fair bit of time back in the area this year as he set about creating what has been billed as a “one-of-a-kind experience” with the new Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park in Chertsey. The TV illusionist’s take on the traditional ghost train apparently takes full advantage of his ability to play tricks with our minds.
11 Flavia Cacace-Mistry
Her years as a professional dancer mean that former Strictly Come Dancing star Flavia Cacace-Mistry, 36, has plenty of stamina to tackle one of her favourite pastimes on a rare afternoon off: shopping in Guildford’s laden streets. Both her and professional dance partner, Vincent Simone, were brought up in the town and it remains close to their hearts wherever their dance moves take them.
12 Sir Michael Caine
Having grown fed up with airport security queries over his passport name, ‘Maurice Joseph Micklewhite’, Sir Michael Caine has finally taken on his stage name officially through deed poll. Until recently a patron of the Leatherhead Drama Festival, the 83-year-old spends an increasing amount of time these days in sunnier climes but has had a Leatherhead home with his wife Shakira for many years.
13 Chelsea FC
By no means the only football team to have players based in the area (which is a hotbed for former pros too), Chelsea is perhaps the most integrated as their state-of-the-art training centre is found in Stoke d’Abernon. Captain John Terry has long lived in the area, and it’s not unusual to spot a squad member while out and about around the borough of Elmbridge.
14 Tom and Max Chilton
These Reigate brothers have made their names in very different motor-sport disciplines, with elder brother Tom steering the tracks of touring cars and younger brother Max first tackling Formula 1 before moving stateside to IndyCar. Despite their travels, both brothers (31 and 25 respectively) return regularly to their Surrey roots, with their family still based here.
15 Eric Clapton
What does a rock star do when they need to get away from the excesses that life can bring? For Eric Clapton, that was fishing, and according to reports in Iceland this summer, that hobby is still going strong. In fact, he apparently hauled in the biggest salmon of the summer in the Vatnsdalsá river, a 28-pound whopper. Anyway, away from the tackle bags etc, the 71-year-old Ripley-born guitarist, who has a home in Ewhurst, is set to appear on the Rolling Stones’ new blues-inspired album.
16 Dame Judi Dench
Most recently making international headlines after revealing her new ‘Carpe Diem’ tattoo to Surrey Life magazine, this iconic actress has been seizing the day her whole career: whether it’s her much talked about theatrical performances (she’s the most garlanded actor in British theatre history, with eight Olivier Awards) or her domineering role in the James Bond franchise, which only recently came to a close. Away from the theatres and big screen, you might find the 81-year-old relaxing at the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield.
Headlining Glastonbury’s Other Stage this year and receiving a Grammy nomination for their 2015 album, Caracal, things just go from strength to strength for Reigate brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence, aka the music group, Disclosure. Still in their early 20s, the dance duo appear to have the world at their feet. They originally worked on their craft in a studio above their dad’s auction house, Lawrences Auctioneers, in Bletchingley.
18 England RFU
While Surrey has many, many connections with individual players and teams (see more at surreylife.co.uk), perhaps the most famous current link is the England RFU’s home-from-home at the luxurious Pennyhill Park hotel in Bagshot. With purpose-built facilities, it’s the main training centre and base for the whole team when the squad is together and in the country.
19 David Essex
Singer and author
Having long lived in Long Ditton and then Guildford but now spending most of his time in Covent Garden, 70s heartthrob David Essex is heading for something of a home- coming with his much-anticipated appearance at Guildford Book Festival. Promoting his first novel, Faded Glory, this will be the 69-year-old’s first book festival. See October’s Surrey Life for our interview.
20 Sir Bruce Forsyth
For so long a stalwart on Surrey’s golf courses as well as, of course, Strictly Come Dancing, it’s been a tough old year for the 88-year-old Virginia Water resident who is reported to have spent much of it convalescing after a fall and subsequent surgery. We wish him and his family well, and hope to hear him cracking his one-of-a-kind jokes on nearby fairways again soon.
21 Philip Glenister
Having made his name as something of a British hard man in TV shows Mad Dogs, Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, the 53-year-old’s latest role took him across the pond in the US horror series Outcast. Life is in fact by no means on Mars, but in the far more peaceful surrounds near Richmond, where he lives with his family. A keen patron of Kingston-based charity Momentum, he usually attends their annual charity golf day at Richmond Golf Club.
22 Kirsty Gallacher
Brought up on the Wentworth Estate, surrounded by the prestigious golf courses, perhaps it’s no surprise that the daughter of Bernard Gallacher would go on to a career as a sports broadcaster with Sky. A fitness obsessive, this year the mother-of-two trained for a half Iron Man competition (basically a 70.3-mile triathlon!). Kirsty, 40, still lives in Virginia Water with her two sons.
23 Richard E Grant
Actor and perfumer
When not jet-setting around the world, Richard E Grant is just as likely to be tweeting pictures of his beloved Richmond riverside, Petersham Meadows or Petersham Nurseries. Said to be involved in Wolverine 3, which is pencilled for release next year, as a “villainous mad scientist”, the 59-year-old Withnail & I star has been busy making a new career for himself in recent years, unexpectedly, as a perfumer. He also delivered a special reading at Orleans House Gallery earlier this year in aid of the Transforming Orleans House project.
24 Jerry Hall
While rumours abound that Ms Hall’s decades-long associations with Richmond may be coming to a close, since her marriage to arguably the most powerful media mogul in the world, Rupert Murdoch, in March, we’re holding onto the statuesque Texan model for a little longer yet. Now 60, she has spoken glowingly in the past to Surrey Life about how she loves to watch the pantomime at Richmond Theatre with all the family (including ex-husband Sir Mick Jagger).
25 Charlotte Hawkins
Part of the Good Morning Britain team, along with the likes of Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard and Piers Morgan, this Surrey resident’s girl-next-door image has made her a mainstay of morning TV. Before joining ITV, the 41-year-old worked at Sky News for seven years on Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes. Away from the cameras, she lives with husband Mark, daughter Ella Rose and Dogs Trust rescue dog Bailey.
26 Damon Hill
Every year, this Formula 1 legend gets back into the hot seat to show people how it’s done at the Damon Hill Karting Challenge. Held at Daytona Sandown Park in Esher, proceeds go to the Guildford-based charity he helped to found, ‘the halow project’. The 55-year-old Sky Sports F1 presenter and his all-star racing squad were the victors at this year’s gruelling two-and-a-half hour race, featuring 27 teams . Away from the track, he is a big music fan and has had a habit of popping up on guitar at the Hurtwood Park Polo Club Rock ‘n’ Horsepower events. He lives near the town of Farnham.
27 Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford
Undoubtedly one of TV’s power couples, Eamonn and Ruth Langsford’s on-screen bickering and banter have become almost as important to the chemistry of the shows they appear on as any of the actual content. Both 56, the This Morning (and many other shows!) pair have long lived in the Surrey area and you may still bump into Ruth in one of her favourite local style addresses, such as the Leo Bancroft hair salon in Weybridge.
28 Mick Hucknall
Having sold more than 50 million records since the mid-1980s, Simply Red kicked off this summer’s Kew the Music at the Royal Botanic Gardens near Richmond. Singer Mick Hucknall has long had a home and studio in Walton-on-Thames, close to Burhill Golf Club. The 56-year-old is another of Surrey’s famous musicians to have performed at Hurtwood Park’s Rock ‘n’ Horsepower in recent years.
29 Kenney Jones
While there’s no doubt been plenty of rock ‘n’ roll shenanigans over the years in private, recent years have seen Kenney’s Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst become the go-to place for the public to enjoy an open-air evening with rock royalty. The 67-year-old former Faces and The Who drummer holds his annual Rock ‘n’ Horsepower event to raise money and awareness for the charity Prostate Cancer UK.
30 Paul Jones
Bramley-based blues man Paul Jones, best known as former singer in Manfred Mann and a BBC Radio 2 host, is responsible for one of the hottest tickets of the year among music fans of a certain age: the 74-year-old’s Christmas charity concerts at Cranleigh Arts Centre are always much in demand, largely because of the stellar cast that’s graced the intimate shows over the years, including Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Paul Weller.
31 Eddie Jordan
Formula 1 legend Eddie Jordan and his spoon-playing (he’s actually a keen drummer) was certainly among Top Gear’s more left-field choices in its most recent guise, but they proved endearing. The 68-year-old Wentworth resident, who is now lead analyst for Channel 4’s F1 coverage, spends much of the year jetting – or yachting – around the globe following his passion for racing. If you ever spot Eddie & the Robbers on the bill at your local pub, you may well recognise the drummer…
32 Jodie Kidd
There had been rumours that this Guildford-born model would be joining Chris Evans’ much-maligned Top Gear project, but it was the slightly more laid-back surrounds of Brooklands Museum that satisfied her speed obsession recently – well, sort of. She lowered the iconic ‘droop nose’ of the Brooklands Concorde as it celebrated its 10th anniversary on the site in July. The 37-year-old also unveiled a new Maserati racing car there in the same month, so appearances seem to be becoming increasingly regular. Much intrigue surrounds the opening of Beaverbrook, the new private members’ resort at Jodie’s former family home of Cherkley Court near Leatherhead.
33 Dame Penelope Keith
With the campaign to preserve Guildford Cathedral for future generations recently reaching its ambitious goals, Dame Penelope Keith must have been delighted to see a cause so close to her heart so well supported. The view of the cathedral “gladdens” her heart when returning home to Milford, but it’s not alone in cementing her love for Surrey. A tireless charity supporter, the 76-year-old can still be found lending her boundless enthusiasm to countless events around the county – as well as recently following in the Queen’s footsteps around our nation for Channel 4’s Penelope Keith: at Her Majesty’s Service.
34 Donal MacIntyre
With a career that’s seen him go inside hardened drugs gangs and befriend notorious football hooligans, probably the last place you’d be expecting this investigative journalist to be running the rule is tea shops and patisseries in Surrey – but that’s exactly where the 50-year-old will have been spending most of his time this month as a judge for the 2016 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards.
35 Brian May
Normally, we’d say that it’s far too early to start talking about this particular time of year in September, but it seems we’re going to have to make an exception for the benefit of Brian May fans. For, this December, he will be embarking on his Candlelit Christmas Tour with singer Kerry Ellis – and the Dorking Halls and Guildford’s G Live are among the venues. Away from the music, the 69-year-old Windlesham resident remains a vocal animal rights campaigner and a keen astrophysicist (he even has a PhD).
36 Andrea McLean
When Surrey Life photographer extraordinaire, Andy Newbold, met up with TV presenter Andrea McLean, 46, at The Star near Leatherhead for an exclusive interview, it turned out that there was a rather simple catalyst for her Surrey move 10 years ago: off-street parking. Fortunately, the people also turned out to be friendly too. “It takes literally 50 times longer to buy anything” in her home village of Ashtead “because you spend most of your time chatting to people.”
37 Nicholas Owen
Newsreader and presenter
One of our nation’s most respected newsreaders, Nicholas Owen has also indulged another passion for the past five years by bringing his calming tones to the airwaves of Classic FM. In addition, the Reigate resident is an integral part of the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards, where his effusive charm holds attention at the annual awards ceremony. Away from the limelight, he has a soft spot for trains.
38 Virginia McKenna
Best-known for starring in the film Born Free, and then founding the wildlife charity of the same name, the Coldharbour resident Virginia McKenna has faced environmental battles a little closer to home in recent years, with the threat of oil prospecting at Leith Hill and expansion plans at Gatwick Airport. It’s no surprise that the 85-year-old is so protective of the area she has loved for so long, whether it’s the peace and tranquillity, the cottage she calls home or the view from Leith Hill Tower.
39 Andy Murray
It’s been an unbelievable year for “Andy Murray from Surrey” (sorry, Andy, we jest…), as the some-time Oxshott resident not only won his second Wimbledon title but also scooped the title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year and was named as Great Britain’s flag-bearer at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony. Away from the limelight, the 29-year-old and his wife Kim Sears may be spotted out and about enjoying a walk with new baby daughter, Sophia, and terriers, Rusty and Maggie May, around Oxshott Woods.
40 Liam Payne
Winner of the award for most uses of the phrase ‘Is that Liam Payne walking through that shopping centre/supermarket?’, Surrey was well and truly thrust into the spotlight when the One Direction star moved here earlier this year. The 23-year-old has reportedly bought a house in the Worplesdon area. The excitement was matched only by band mate Niall Horan’s appearance at the BMW PGA Championship Celebrity Pro-Am at Wentworth, when any unsuspecting golf fan following the coverage online may have struggled to find anything else about the event itself.
41 Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Having for many years rented places in the Richmond area to help ease the burden of their busy dual film careers, it’s almost an annual tradition now for the “Brangelina move to Surrey” stories to pop-up in the national newspapers. Their latest move is said to be because of Brad, 52, filming World War Z 2 (but then the same stir was caused when he filmed the first in the franchise – and that came out, including scenes shot at Dunsfold in Cranleigh, in 2013!). Meanwhile, Angelina, 41, is said to be concentrating on her long-standing special envoy role with the UN Refugee Agency.
42 Louise and Jamie Redknapp
Style guru and footballer
If the rumours are true, former Eternal singer Louise, 41, is set to join the next instalment of Strictly Come Dancing. Since her successful music career, recent years have seen her concentrating on her A Style Album, an online fashion magazine, with friend and stylist Emma Thatcher, and Wild about Beauty, a cosmetics range developed with Kim Jacob. Former professional footballer, Jamie, 43, continues to be a popular pundit. The pair live in Oxshott with their family.
43 Shane Richie
Having shot to fame in stage musicals, its been the weekly dramatics of EastEnders in recent years – and such has been the popularity of Shane Richie’s character Alfie and his other half Kat (played by Jessie Wallace) that the pair have been granted a spin-off series. Redwater is expected to be broadcast on the BBC in 2017. Back at home in Reigate, it’s not unusual to spot the 52-year-old enjoying a visit to one of the town’s many pubs or restaurants – or, occasionally, taking to the stage with his band.
44 Sir Richard Stilgoe
Just as happy renovating houses as penning catchy ditties, you may well find 73-year-old Sir Richard Stilgoe knocking an East Surrey property into shape during his spare time. Well-known for his charity work, he started the Orpheus Centre at his former home in Godstone in 1998 and the performing arts school now supports 27 full-time tenants with various disabilities, as well as 20 students accessing their learning programme. Sir Richard lives in the countryside near Oxted with his wife Annabel.
45 Roger Taylor
Queen’s Roger Taylor joined the likes of Jeff Beck, Mike and the Mechanics, Steve Harley and The Darkness to play the seventh Wintershall charity rock concert at the Wintershall Estate in Bramley in July. The 67-year-old drummer is a long-time Surrey resident, most recently living in Puttenham where he recorded 2013’s Fun on Earth in his home studio.
46 Phil Tufnell
Whether taking on test cricket batsmen, exploring the country with The One Show, leading a team on A Question of Sport or abseiling from the top of Guildford Cathedral, this Kingswood resident inevitably tackles the task at hand with effervescent enthusiasm. The 50-year-old remains a keen supporter of Tadworth’s Children’s Trust and, among other events, apparently “spearheads their National Doughnut Week fund-raiser”. Sounds good to us.
47 Tim Vine
If you thought you couldn’t love disco anymore, Tim Vine’s official website has been reliably informing visitors of the impending launch this autumn of his new album of ‘high voice disco songs’ – we can’t quite get our heads round it either! Anyway, in more comfortable territory, the Banstead-based comedian has been at the top of his game for the best part of two decades. On a dream day out, you might find the 49-year-old delivering punchy one-liners to passing boaters at Hampton Court Palace – well, he fully endorses hiring a rowing boat for a relaxing trip down the Thames, anyway.
48 Paul Weller
While he may live in London these days, the 58-year-old can often be found at his Black Barn Studios in Ripley when he’s recording. Famously born and brought up in Woking, where The Jam first launched into the world, he has returned to the town for charity bashes over the years. Also, Bruce Foxton, original bassist with The Jam, lives in the Farnham area and drummer Rick Buckler is based in West End.
49 Dame Jacqueline Wilson
To celebrate the launch of long-time Kingston resident Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s brand-new book (title and details yet to be disclosed), the Rose Theatre will be hosting an extra-special ‘super fans’ event on Saturday October 22. Having been associated with the theatre from its earliest days, the world-renowned children’s author, 70, is regularly met with shouts of ‘Tracy Beaker!’ while walking the town’s streets.
50 Chris Wolstenholme
When not conquering the world (and Glastonbury!) with apocalyptic rockers Muse, bassist Chris Wolstenholme calls Oxshott home. According to an interview with Q back in 2010, this is because the area combines “the peace and quiet of Teignmouth with access to London”. Well, we won’t argue with that, although the coastal views are limited. Most recently, the 37-year-old took to the track with drummer band mate, Dom Howard, at Daytona Sandown Park in Esher for some high-speed thrills in April.