Part 2: Before they were famous... 10 stars who East Anglia saw first
- Credit: Archant
The stars weren't always stars, and our region has played its part in shaping the careers of some of the most famous performers in this country and internationally. Take a look at your second helping of stars who began their road to fame in East Anglia.
11. Martin Brundle
Formula 1 driver now respected motorsport pundit Martin Brundle began his racing career at the age of 12, competing in grass track racing at a circuit in the Norfolk village of Pott Row. The son of a motor car dealer — he and his brother Robin later ran the family car dealership outside King's Lynn. He attended what is now the King Edward VII School but his real education was behind the wheel as he worked his way up through junior racing formulae, including Formula Ford and Formula Three, before landing a coveted seat in Formula One in 1984.
12. Sam Clemmett
Back in 2001 little did Brundall Primary School pupil Sam Clemmett know he would one day play a student of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on a West End stage. Sam is today a rising star currently appearing as Harry Potter's son Albus in the show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London's Palace Theatre. But in this photo he has swapped a magic wand for a computer and is pictured with his younger brother, Alex, as they both show off their skills to celebrate the opening of their primary school's new IT suite.
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13. Hannah Spearritt
Born in Great Yarmouth, the youngest of three children, Hannah's sister is former model and fashion designer Tanya Spearritt, her uncle Eddie Spearritt played for Ipswich Town in the 1960s, and when she was just three she modelled in a Mothercare catalogue. But at 18 she thrust into the spotlight as a member of S Club 7. At the height of their fame, the 1990s pop-superstars had their own BBC series, four number one singles and sold 10 million albums worldwide. After the band split in 2003, she carved out a successful acting career, notably in ITV fantasy series Primeval.
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14. Nik Kershaw
Before topping the charts and gracing Live Aid, 1980s icon Nik Kershaw could be found at The Ipswich Regent – or Gaumont as it was known back in the day.The place to see the top bands, he saw his first gigs there including Rory Gallagher and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band when he was in his teens.The former Northgate pupil quit school during his A-levels to work at the unemployment benefit by day and sing in underground Ipswich bands at night. He eventually played the Gaumont in 1984, describing it as one of those gigs you remember.
15. Cathy Dennis
Song-writing success has given Cathy Dennis a multi-million pound fortune and a string of awards including a prestigious Ivor Novello and made her a go-to hit-maker for some of the world's biggest pop stars. She wrote Can't Get You Out of My Head for Kylie, which sold over three million copies, and co-wrote the Grammy award-winning single Toxic by Britney Spears and I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry. It's a far cry from her early years in Norwich, where she accompanied her father, Alan, a big band musician, on the local hotel circuit and worked for Norwich Union.
16. Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian started his career with the Ipswich repertory company based at the Arts Theatre in Tower Street, Ipswich. He was with them from September 1962 to October 1963 and appeared in 22 plays including Beckett, The Corn Is Green, Salad Days, Arsenic and Old Lace, David Copperfield and Under Milk Wood. He also played Henry V but the theatre had no wing space so to exit stage left, he had to leave the battlefield, run down a back alley and be re-admitted on the other side. In a blizzard, Henry returned to the stage covered in snow.
17. Sam Claflin
Before he became a Hollywood film star, Sam was a regular on the Norwich Theatre Royal stage. The former Costessey High School pupil - who has starred in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hunger Games and Me Before You - first honed his acting skills as a member of the Norwich Theatre Royal arts course.He is pictured here playing the evil magician Vazar in the Norwich Theatre Royal Youth Company production of Sinbad the Sailor in 2006.
18. Sir Peter Hall
Sir Peter Hall is one of the great theatre directors, taking over the Royal National Theatre from Sir Laurence Olivier in 1973. He remained there until 1988 before becoming an independent theatre producer/director. Hewas born in Bury St Edmunds, son of a stationmaster, and while a student at Cambridge decided to investigate claims that the Greene King barrel store in the town was once a theatre. He and few friends broke into the store to discover the remains of a classic Georgian theatre, now Bury's Theatre Royal.
19. Sir Ben Kingsley
Royal Shakespeare Company actor Ben Kingsley who later won an Oscar for playing Gandhi and became one of the nation's greatest acting stars appeared at the Ipswich Arts Theatre in March 1972 to star in the premiere of a new play Paul Claudel's Break of Noon. The Arts Theatre had temporarily lured Ben Kingsley away from the RSC to star in this new play. The play focuses on Yse and Mesa and through them tries to uncover the real nature of love. It was a real coup for a regional theatre to not only stage an important premiere but to secure a leading RSC actor for the main role.
20. John Laurie
The Scottish actor had been a well-respected stage actor for more than four decades by the time he appeared at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich on October 30 1967. But he was not exactly a household name. If pushed, audiences might remember him as Pew in Disney's 1950 film of Treasure Island, or as the crofter in the 1939 thriller The 39 Steps. At Norwich he presented an evening of poetry and ballads. But the next year changed everything. His role as pessimistic Private Frazer in Dad's Army took him into everyone's front room and soon everyone was practising his catchphrase 'We're doomed!
Did you miss part one on Saturday? Find out 10 more stars who made the list here.