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18 celebrities you might spot in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:19 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 17 February 2020

Suffolk scriptwriter Richard Curtis tries his hand at the hoop challenge

 at the Walberswick Fete  Photo: Andy Abbott

Suffolk scriptwriter Richard Curtis tries his hand at the hoop challenge at the Walberswick Fete Photo: Andy Abbott

Suffolk is a beautiful place to live, so it is not surprising that it has attracted some famous faces and persuaded them to put down roots here. How many celebrities have you seen out and about in Suffolk’s towns?

Rose Leslie and Kit Harington attending the Olivier Awards 2017, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Photo:PARose Leslie and Kit Harington attending the Olivier Awards 2017, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Photo:PA

Ten years ago, Suffolk was swept up in a wave of Johnny Depp sightings. He was seen walking the streets of Framlingham, gazing into estate agents windows in Woodbridge or visiting Butley Priory.

The word out of the street was that the Pirates of the Caribbean star was looking to buy a place in the country and Suffolk was his location of choice. Sadly, it was quickly revealed to be a case of mistaken Identity but it all seemed very believable because Suffolk and East Anglia has become a wonderfully tranquil and beautiful escape for the rich and famous. Close enough to London for work but secluded enough to enjoy 'real-life' in the countryside.

Suffolk has an all-star rosta of names hidden away behind the hedgerows. Here are some of the famous who have made their home in our part of the world.

Bernard Hill waves to the crowd asa he descends at the RNLI Southwold abseil on the lighthouse in the town Photo: RNLIBernard Hill waves to the crowd asa he descends at the RNLI Southwold abseil on the lighthouse in the town Photo: RNLI

Kit Harington: The Game of Thrones star (Jon Snow in the award-winning fantasy series) moved to a Grade II listed, 15th century thatched farmhouse in 2017. Located between Stowmarket and Framlingham, Harington and his wife, fellow Game of Thrones actor Rose Leslie, have recently applied to carry out upgrades and restoration work to the property.

Bernard Hill: Star of the iconic 1970s series Boys From The Blackstuff, as well a leading role as King Theoden in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and playing the doomed Captain Smith in the blockbuster Titanic. Hill moved to Suffolk in the mid-1980s, having fallen I love with the county while filming Drowning By Numbers with Peter Greenaway at Thorpeness. A keen sailor, he has moved around the county several times is currently living near to Southwold.

Helen Fraser cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the new EACH store in Ipswich. L-R Helen Woiwod, Ian Milne, Helen Fraser and Marilyn Southgate.    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNHelen Fraser cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the new EACH store in Ipswich. L-R Helen Woiwod, Ian Milne, Helen Fraser and Marilyn Southgate. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ed Sheeran: One of greatest singer-songwriters on the planet at present, Ed Sheeran still lives in Framlingham, the town where he grew up. His life in Suffolk, his quest to make his mark as a singer and the up and downs of fame and fortune inform his top-selling songs like Castle on the Hill and Perfect.

Griff Rhys Jones: Star of Not The Nine O'Clock News, Alas Smith and Jones and various TV shows like Three Men in a Boat, has lived in Suffolk on the Shotley peninsula for the best part of 30 years. He grew up in Essex but it was a love of sailing that brought him across the border when the family sailed up the Orwell and berthed their boat at Pin Mill. He has said in interviews that he felt that he had arrived and hasn't ever felt the need to leave.

Griff Rhys Jones enjoying life on the River Stour Photo: ArchantGriff Rhys Jones enjoying life on the River Stour Photo: Archant

Simon Mayo: The legendary Radio Two 'drive-time' DJ, who has a lively spin-off show (and podcast) with movie critic Mark Kermode has a bolt hole in Walberswick where use the peace and quiet to write.

Ian Lavender: Found fame straight out of drama school as Private Frank Pike, the 'stupid boy' in Dad's Army and he has worked steadily ever since, mixing up

appearances in TV staples like EastEnders and Casualty with theatre work. He moved to Woolpit, near Bury St Edmunds, in the 1990s and has done a lot of work for the historic churches trust and local cancer charities.

Ed Sheeran enjoying the game at Portman Road.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMEd Sheeran enjoying the game at Portman Road. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Richard Curtis: One of the true greats of British comedy. As a writer he contributed to sketch shows like Not The Nine O'Clock News and Spitting Image before creating some of the best TV comedies ever made including Blackadder with Rowan Atkinson and The Vicar of Dibley with Dawn French. His career really took off when he became the master of the big screen romantic comedy creating timeless magic with Four Weddings and A Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually and most recently Yesterday. Partner of Emma Freud for nearly 30 years, the couple and their children have lived in Walberswick since the early 1990s.

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Claudia Schiffer: German-born supermodel married movie director husband Matthew Vaughn at Lavenham Guildhall in 2002 before moving to Coldham Hall, a Grade 1 listed Tudor mansion at Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds. Schiffer was one of the world's leading supermodels during the 1990s and early 2000s while Matthew Vaughn is one of the country's leading film-makers creating such hits as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Stardust and The Kingsman series.

Helen Fraser: One of the most versatile an reliable actresses in British television and theatre. Helen Fraser first came to the public's attention in the film Billy Liar where she played Barbara, Billy's (Tom Courtenay) long suffering girlfriend. After a varied career on stage and on television, her public profile blossomed again in 1999 when she was cast as Sylvia Hollamby, the hard-hearted warder, in the prison drama Bad Girls which ran until 2006 and then was transformed into a West End musical. Helen lived with her Oscar-winning sound-recordist husband Peter Handford at Wickham Skeith, near Eye.

Diana Quick with Joanna Lumley at the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival. Photo: Nick Tipping PhotographyDiana Quick with Joanna Lumley at the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival. Photo: Nick Tipping Photography

Nick Robinson: The BBC's former political editor is now a presenter on Radio 4's Today programme. He has a very distinctive voice and can frequently be heard in north Suffolk coffee shops and spotted at the Snape Maltings concert complex. He has a home in Orford.

Tom Hiddleston: Frequently seen in and around Aldeburgh where his family live. Tom Hiddleston is one of the nation's greatest actors appearing both theatre, prestige drama on television and in Oscar-nominated movies. His role in the BBC drama The Night Manager opposite Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman was said to be an unofficial screen test for James Bond, although he has since made clear that he is not interested in the role.

TV naturalist Bill Oddie at RSPB Mindsmere Photo: Sarah Lucy BrownTV naturalist Bill Oddie at RSPB Mindsmere Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown

Roy Hudd: One of the comedy greats and the country's leading expert on the English Music Hall. Roy was the man behind Radio 2's long-running topical comedy sketch The News Huddlines which ran for 51 series from 1975 until 2001. He has played Shakespeare, pantomime, West End theatre and for several years had a reoccurring role in Coronation Street as the undertaker. He lives with his wife Debbie, just outside Coddenham, north of Ipswich.

Bill Nighy: A distinctive character actor whose career seems everlasting, boosted by regular appearances in box-office winners such as Love Actually and The Boat That Rocked, written by Richard Curtis and spy dramas like The Constant Gardener and the Worricker series. He lives in north Suffolk just outside Saxmundham.

Diana Quick: The actress and documentary film festival organizer has lived outside Theberton for several decades. She has long thrown herself into local cultural life and been part of the HighTide theatre festival and served for many years on the board of the Aldeburgh Cinema. She first made an impact on viewers by playing Julia Flyte in Brideshead Revisited.

Bill Turnbull: Another Theberton resident, for many years Bill Turnbull was the face of BBC Breakfast alongside Sian Williams. He even made it onto the dance floor by taking part in the nation's favourite dance competition Strictly Come Dancing in 2005. After his retirement in 2016 he moved to Suffolk to keep bees.

Bill Oddie: Not a Suffolk resident as such but such a frequent visitor to RSPB Minsmere that he might as well be. The former comedy scriptwriter, performer and 'Goodie' has had a long career in front of audiences including work on the pioneering radio show I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again but for the 40 years has increasingly spent his time campaigning for conservation work.

Miranda Raison: Spooks star Miranda Raison grew up on the north Norfolk coast but has lived in Aldeburgh for many years. Moving between TV, theatre and film she has recently starred in Kenneth Branagh's big screen remake of Murder on the Orient Express as well as starring in the TV drama Spotless.

Jeremy Northam: Cambridge-born Jeremy Northam has divided his time between theatre roles and prestige British films like Carrington (1995), Emma (1996), The Winslow Boy (1999), An Ideal Husband (1999), Enigma (2001) and the all-star Gosford Park (2001). He took over the role of Hamlet from Daniel Day-Lewis at the National Theatre. He plays British prime minister Anthony Eden in the Netflix series The Crown. He lives on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

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