Famous people from North East England of the past and present
Surnames beginning with:
Chris the Comic
South Shields-born stand up comedian since 2007. Makes regular appearances on TV comedy panel shows and hosts I’m a Celebrity Extra Camp on ITV2. Played the role of Jack Pearson in the North East-based situation comedy Hebburn written by Jason Cook and also starring North East actors Gina McKee and Jim Moir (Vic Reeves).
Steel River Songs
Internationally recognised Middlesbrough-born singer, songwriter and musician known for his gravelly voice. Songs written and performed by Rea include Fool (If You Think It’s Over), Let’s Dance, On the Beach, The Road to Hell and Driving Home for Christmas. Born to an Italian father, (the family were noted for the making of ice cream) and an Irish mother. Some songs took inspiration from his home town such as Steel River a reference to Teesside’s steel making past and Stainsby Girls from the girls of a local school he attended.
All Rounder Reeves
Real name Jim Moir, surreal comedian, actor, painter, entertainer and presenter born in Leeds and raised in Darlington. He moved to Darlington, where his dad worked as a type setter for The Northern Echo at the age of five and was educated at Darlington’s Eastbourne School. One of Reeves’ first jobs was castrating piglets at a farm near Darlington. After moving to London he took up comedy and met up with Bob Mortimer forming a comedy partnership in surreal TV comedy shows like Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and Shooting Stars as well as comedy dramas such as Catterick and Randall and Hopkirk. Multi-talented Reeves is also an actor – including a role in Hebburn – and an artist working in painting, ceramics and photography. As a singer in the 1990s he had hits (with Bob Mortimer and EMF) with a cover of The Monkees’ I’m a Believer and a cover of Dizzy in collaboration with The Wonder Stuff.
The Blaydon Races
Tyneside concert hall song writer and singer principally remembered for writing the Tyneside anthem The Blaydon Races and for Cushie Butterfield. Born in Gateshead he worked as a lad at Oakwellgate Colliery near the centre of the town and then at the famed Gateshead engineering firm of ‘Haak’s’ (Hawks and Crawshay) where he suffered a serious injury. Unable to do manual work he became a music hall performer noted for writing and singing Tyneside songs and performing caricatures. Sadly, his work injury had an impact on his health and he died at the young age of 30.
Bishop Nicholas Ridley
Martyr : Burnt at the Stake
Nicholas Ridley was a bishop and martyr of the Tudor era who was born and raised at Unthank Hall near Haltwhistle in Northumberland. A member of a well-known Tynedale family, he was educated at Newcastle’s Royal Grammar School and Cambridge University and became a priest in the 1520s. Ridley did not believe in the supremacy of the Pope as church leader in England. In 1547 during the reign of Edward VI, Ridley was appointed Bishop of Rochester and then Bishop of London in 1550. King Edward became seriously ill in 1553 and Ridley was one of the key figures who wished to make Lady Jane Grey Queen and prevent the succession of Mary, Edward’s Catholic, pope-supporting sister. Bishop Ridley issued a public proclamation that Mary and her sister Elizabeth were illegitimate. Unfortunately, following Edward’s death support for Mary had grown and she succeeded as Queen. ‘Bloody Mary’ ordered that Ridley be burnt at the stake and this was how he met his end along with Edward VI’s former chaplain Hugh Latimer at Oxford on October 16, 1555.
Denise Robertson MBE
A Sympathetic Ear
Sunderland-born TV presenter, novelist, agony aunt and Deputy Lieutenant for County Durham. She was born Margaret Denise Broderick and educated at Sunderland High School. Initially working at Sunderland’s Royal Infirmary she became a counsellor and worked as an agony aunt for Metro Radio and later on ITV’s This Morning programme. Robertson was the surname of her first husband (of three) who died in 1972. Denise Robertson’s funeral at Sunderland Minster in 2016 was attended by a number of celebrities who came to pay their respects to the popular broadcaster.
Alan Robson MBE
Benwell-born radio presenter. Robson was initially known for presenting a rock show on Tyneside’s Metro Radio, but it is as the host of the station’s phone-in Alan Robson’s Night Owls which began in 1983 that Alan is best known. Alan is noted for his interest and expertise in spiritualism and the paranormal. In this capacity he has appeared on programmes such as The Scariest Places on Earth on the US ABC network and on the Larry King Show. He has hosted programmes for Tyne Tees Television and has written books that include ghost stories and grisly tales from the North East.
Sir Bobby Robson CBE
Much-Loved Football Manager
A big name in North East football, Robson was the son of a miner, born in the Durham mining village of Sacriston though he was raised in the neighbouring village of Langley Park where he played football for the village and worked as an electrician’s apprenticeship at the colliery. Robson’s football talents were spotted by London club Fulham and Robson headed south. As a player he had two spells with Fulham and one at West Brom as well as making 20 appearances for England. He briefly managed Fulham but it was as manager of Ipswich Town that he achieved the greatest success, winning the UEFA Cup and FA Cup. He subsequently managed England for a little short of 100 games. Other clubs managed included PS Eindhoven, Sporting CP, Porto and Barcelona before he returned to England to manage his boyhood heroes, Newcastle United. Diagnosed with cancer in 2007, The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was established in his name in 2008 to fund the early detection and treatment of cancer.
Bryan Robson OBE
England Football Legend
Chester-le-Street born footballer with Manchester United and Middlesbrough. England international who captained his country 65 times. Later a football manager with Middlesbrough.
Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson
Wear and Tyne Football Pop
Sunderland-born footballer. Scored 82 goals for Newcastle United in 206 appearances and 60 goals for Sunderland in 154 appearances.
Dame Flora Robson DBE
Star of Stage and Screen
South Shields-born actress and star of the theatrical stage and cinema. Her father was a ship engineer from Wallsend but the family moved to London when Flora was a child. Educated at RADA, Robson appeared in countless movies and theatre productions.
Film director, screenwriter and TV producer born Norton-on-Tees. He is best-known as the co-writer and director of the movie Quadrophenia whose stars include Sting and is hailed in the North East as the creator of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet which he pitched to writers Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement. Roddam is also noted for the creation of TVs Master Chef.
Sunderland Football Hero
Footballer, born Seaham, played for boyhood heroes Sunderland, as well as Norwich City and Middlesbrough. Scored 88 goals for Sunderland in 257 appearances. For Sunderland supporters one of Rowell’s biggest moments was scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 win away to local rivals Newcastle United in 1979.
The surnames Ridley. Robson and Rowell