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Geordie Guide: Famous Geordies

Noo tha yoor heor at The Toon University yee might want te knaa a bit more aboot Geordies an stuff

Famous Geordies

Ant and Dec by Beacon Radio via Flickr

Ant & Dec

Top Katz who are always ready to rumble.  Made their name in Byker Grove playing PJ & Duncan & then had a brief pop career before going onto become successful TV presenters. Both born in Newcastle in 1975.

Rowan Atkinson

Actor & comedian, best known for Mr.Bean and Blackadder. Born Newcastle upon Tyne, 1955. He studied Electrical Engineering at Newcastle University.

Peter Beardsley

England & Newcastle United footballer. Born in Newcastle in 1961 Peter Beardsley  was actually signed to NUFC on 3 separate ocassions and was awarded an MBE for services to football in 1995.

Eric Burdon

Singer/Songwriter with The Animals who had hits with songs such as Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood & the House of the Rising Sun, Eric Burdon was voted 57th in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of all time.  Now a solo artist he was born in Walker, 1941.

Eric Burdon 1707730006. Audimax Hamburg, Juli 1973 by Heinrich Klaffs via Flickr

Chas Chandler

Bass player with The Animals but also manager of Jimi Hendrix & Slade.  He was also a driving force behind what is now the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.  Born in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1938.


Having achieved fame through one of the early reality tv shows Popstars The Rivals by being 1/5th of Girls Aloud, Cheryl is now a solo singer & a face of L'Oreal. Born in Newcastle in 1983, she grew up in Walker.

Jill Halfpenny

Alumni of Byker Grove, Coronation Street and EastEnders. Winner of an Olivier Award for her role in Legally Blonde, Jill was also the recipient of the first ever perfect score of 40 on Strictly Come Dancing.  Born in 1975, she was born and grew up in Gateshead.

Lee Hall

Playwright and screenwriter, born in Newcastle in 1966. Best known for Billy Elliot. Borrow the DVD from the STC on Level 2.

Charlie Hardwick

Actress famous for playing Val in Emmerdale since 2004.  A Byker Grove alumni, she has also worked estensively with Live Theatre based on the Newcastle Quayside

Tim Healy

Actor famous for playing Dennis in Auf Wiedersehen Pet & more recently Les/Lesley in Benidorm.  He was born in Benwall in 1952 and often hosts the Sunday for Sammy Concerts held at Newcastle City Hall.

Ian La Frenais

Writer known for his work with Dick Clement on shows such as The Likely Lads, Porridge & Auf Wiedersehen Pet as well as films such as The Commitments.  Both La Frenias & Clement were awarded OBEs for their work. Born Monkseaton, 1936.

Hank Marvin

Hank Marvin, born Brian Robson Rankin, is best known as the lead guitarist for the Shadows, the backing band for Cliff Richard. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, 1941.

Jimmy Nail

Actor/Singer best known for Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Spender & singing about Crocodile Shoes.  He was also features briefly in Evita along with Madonna. Born Longbenton in 1954.

Anne Reid

Actress in films & television. Has a varied CV ranging from Hot Fuzz to Hancock's Half Hour and Doctor Who to Dinnerladies. Born in Newcastle, 1935.

Tony Scott

Director/Producer and younger brother of Ridley. Notable works include Top Gun, Days of Thunder & True Romance. Born in North Shields in 1944, he actually starred in his brother Ridley's first filmEnemy of the State is available from the Robinson Library.

Alan Shearer

First & foremost a footballer but also a manager, & TV Pundit.  Newcastle United paid £15million for him in 1996 making him the world's most expensive footballer at the time. Born in Gosforth, 1970.


Born Gordon Sumner, Sting is a singer/songwriter who became famous as a member of The Police.  Now a solo artist, Sting reportedly got his nickname due to a black & yellow striped jumper he used to wear.  He was born in Wallsend in 1951.

Neil Tennant

Musician, singer/songwriter & wearer of 'interesting outfits'.  Neil Tennant makes up one half of the Pet Shop Boys. Born in Gosforth, 1954.

Jane and Louise Wilson

Born in Newcastle in 1967, the Wilson twins are video artists who work together as a duo.  Their exhibition "Gamma" was nominated in 1999 for the Turner Prize.


Uncatalogued photograph of Catherine cookson at home - 1985 (Special Collections: Catherine Cookson Collection)

Catherine Cookson

 One of Britain's most widely read novelists, Catherine Cookson's work was set in her native South Tyneside.  Her work has been translated into numerous languages & many of her books have been made into TV shows. The Robinson Library's Special Collections has a small collection of her papers.  Born Tyne Dock, Tyne & Wear 1906.

Steve Cram

Middle distance runner in the 80s - the 'Jarrow Arrow' set world records & won medals in his disciplines of 1500m, 200m & the mile. Born Jarrow 1960, he is now a commentator for the BBC.


Bryan Ferry – 01.07.2013 Jazz Fest Wien by Jazz Fest Wien Team via Flickr

Bryan Ferry

Singer/Songwriter & frontman of Roxy Music although now performing as a solo artist.  Born Washington, 1945, he studied Fine Art at Newcastle University under legendary pop artist Richard Hamilton. 

Brendan Foster

Founder of the Great North Run & distance runner in his own right winning Bronze & Gold medals in the 10,000m & 5000m in the 1970s. Born Hebburn, 1948.

Paul Gascoigne

English International & club footballer who has also played in Italy, USA & China throughout his varied career. His tearful face was one of the iconic images of Italia 90 when he was booked for a second time in the semi-final. Born in Dunston, 1967.

Jill Halfpenny

Olivier award winner Jill Halfpenny is from Gateshead, and was one of the original Byker Grove lasses.  Actress/singer/dancer she won the second series of Strictly Come Dancing, scoring the first perfect 40 from the judges for her jive.  She recently narrated the amazing Great North Run Million finish ceremony on the Newcastle/Gateshead quayside which you can see online for FREE.

Eric Idle

Comedian/actor/singer/writer always ready to look on the bright side of life.  Born in South Shields in 1943, Eric Idle was famously a member of Monty Python... Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Say no more, say no more...


Angus Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC opening the show in Dortmund by t.klick via Flickr

Brian Johnson

Singer/Songwriter with AC/DC. Flat cap, no sleeves & great music. Born Gateshead, 1947.

Sarah Millican

Winner of the if.comedy Best Newcomer Award for her debut solo show Sarah Millican’s Not Nice at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008. Sarah has since become one of the best known stand up comedians in the country. Born in South Shields in 1975.

Chris Ramsey

Comedian & regular TV-show panelist who stars in the sitcom Hebburn. Born South Shields 1989.


Ridley Scott speaking at the 2012 WonderCon in Anaheim, California. by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Ridley Scott

Director/Producer. Notable works include Blade Runner, Alien & the Hovis adverts ("'e were a great baker were our dad."). Born South Shields, 1937. We have a selection of his films in the Robinson Library including Prometheus, Thelma & Louise & Black Hawk Down.

Bobby Thompson

Comedian known as the 'Little Waster'.  An actor originally, Bobby Thompson found fame as a comic although he may not have been understood much outside of the North East.  Although widely regarded as a 'Geordie comic' he was actually born in Penshaw in 1911 but we're prepared to overlook that on this occasion.

John Wilson

Conductor and orchestra founder.  Born in Gateshead in 1972, John made his name by painstakingly arranging and orchestrating film musicals from the golden age of Hollywood.  Many of these classics had had no surviving score so John worked by watching and rewatching the original mvies.  A regular and popular performer at the BBC Proms and Sage Gateshead

Alun Armstrong by garryknight via Flickr

Alun Armstrong

Actor in films, television & musicals including Get Carter, Our Friends in the North & Les Misérables - trust us, you're bound to have seen him in something. Born Annfield Plain, County Durham, 1946.


Portrait of Sid Chaplin (Special Collections: Chaplin Papers)

Sid Chaplin

Writer, born 1916 in Shildon, Co. Durham. Special Collections hold the Chaplin Papers covering the years 1930-1990 and relate to his writing career and other involvements throughout his life.

Sir Bobby Robson

Ex-England and Newcastle United football manager. Born in County Durham, 1933, he played as a professional footballer in the 1950s & 1960s. Received an honourary Doctorate of Civil law from newcastle University in 2003, this is the highest honour we can bestow. His legacy lives on in the City and University through The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation which works with scientists at Newcastle University to help develop cancer treatments.

Kate Adie

Legendary news correspondent and alumni of Newcastle University, (her degree is in Scandinavian Studies).  Born in Northumberland in 1945, Kate grew up in nearby Sunderland.  Known for her front line reports from the worlds trouble spots, British soldiers joke that if she is sent to their posting they know they're in real trouble.  A sculpture of Kate can be seen in the Herschel building.

Sir Bobby Charlton

Footballer & younger brother of Jack. Born in Ashington, 1937, he made his name playing for Manchester United whom he now sits on the Board of Directors for.  He survived the Munich Air Disaster & helped England win the World Cup in 1966.

Jack Charlton

Footballer & Ex-manager of Newcastle United & the Republic of Ireland Football Team. (Brother of Bobby). Born in Ashington,1935, along with his brother,  he was on the English team who won the 1966 World Cup.

Jackie Milburn

Footballer, born 1924 in Ashington, Northumberland. Known as Wor Jackie & cousin to the Charlton brothers. To this day his name is synonymous with that of Newcastle United.

Wor jackie by EP Digital Designs via Flickr

Ross Noble

Comedian - don't know the name, you'll know the hair. Born Cramlington, Northumberland 1976.

Kevin Whately

Actor whose most memorable TV roles were in Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Inspector Morse and Lewis. He has also appeared in The English Patient. Born Hexham,1951.

Jonathan Edwards

Triple Jump World Record holder and Olympic, World, Commonwealth & European champion. Born in Windsor, 1966 he is now a TV presenter & commentator.  He was part of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for London 2012.

Jimmy Forsyth by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums vua Flickr

Jimmy Forsyth

Amateur photographer celebrated for his portrayal of  working class communities on Tyneside.  We have some of his work in the Robinson Library. Born South Wales, 1913.

Tony Harrison

First poet to hold the Northern Arts Fellowship. Born Yorkshire 1937. Lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. You can find a selection of his work at 821.914 HAR in the Robinson Library.

Kevin Keegan

Footballer & ex-manager. Played for Newcastle United in the Eighties and then returned to manage the team in the Nineties.  Sported one of the classic footballer hairstyles of the Seventies. Born Doncaster, 1951.

Mark Knopfler

Singer/Songwriter & lead singer with Dire Straits. Born Glasgow, 1949 but grew up in Blyth.  As well as Dire Straits and his solo career, Mark Knopfler has produced various film scores including Local Hero and Wag the Dog

Sirkka-Lissa Konttinen

Photographer, born in Finland in 1948.  Best known for seminal project "Byker" which is a photographic account (began in 1969) of the Newcastle community during the bulldozing of terraced streets to make way for the Byker Wall.

Malcolm Macdonald

English international and club footballer who was born in Fulham in 1950.  He played for Newcastle in the Seventies  & was nicknamed 'Super Mac'.  After his football career was over, he managed Huddersfield Town & Fulham before a career in the media beckoned.