Stars of the Screen Made in Manchester

by | Feb 4, 2018 | Manchester

Many of Britain’s most famous actors and actresses have something in common – they were born in Manchester! Nostalgia catches up with favourite faces from the 60s to the 90s.

Few would have taken Sweeney legend John Thaw for a Longsight lad.

Or Artful Dodger and Monkees lead singer Davy Jones for an Openshaw boy.

Then there’s Pink Panther star Burt Kwouk born in Warrington and debonair David Warner from Manchester.

Not to mention Pendleton’s own Albert Finney, Blackley-born Bernard Hill or Joanne Whalley from deepest Salford.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Barbara Kellerman, Robert Powell, Paula Wilcox, Judy Loe, Ben Kingsley and Lynda Baron are all from the Manchester area too.

There are many, many more, underlining Manchester’s long established credentials as one of the world’s most creative cities.

Today Nostalgia pays tribute to Manchester stars of stage and screen in a parade of memorable images from the 1960s to 1990s.

We start with actor David Warner and Liverpool eavesdropper Cilla Black, who starred together in the film Work is a Four Letter Word in 1967.

The movie was memorable for little else other than being Cilla Black’s only foray into cinema! She played Warner’s wife in a futuristic tale based on mushroom-growing!

Warner’s career would reach much greater heights, including leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company and a string of notable film and TV parts.

He has often played movie villains, most notably in The Thirty Nine Steps, Tron, Time After Time, Hanna’s War and Time Bandits.

Warner has also enjoyed a long association with the Star Trek franchise, appearing in two motion pictures and a number of TV episodes.

David Warner and Cilla Black

David Warner and Cilla Black on the set of Work is a Four Letter Word, January 1967.

Star Trek is a million light years from the much-loved TV series Open All Hours which featured Urmston actress Lynda Baron as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel.

Baron trained at the Royal Academy of Dance before becoming one of the nation’s most recognised TV actresses and comediennes.

On Boxing Day 2013, Baron starred in a special one-off episode of Open All Hours on BBC One. It was watched by 12.2 million viewers and spawned a spin-off series entitled Still Open All Hours.

Our photo from May 1983 shows Baron playing Lilly Bless Her in another TV comedy classic – Last of the Summer Wine. Also pictured are Bill Owen (Compo) and Kathy Staff (Nora Batty).

Lynda Baron, Bill Owen and Kathy Staff on the set of 'Last of the Summer Wine'.

Lynda Baron, left, with Bill Owen and Kathy Staff in Last of the Summer Wine, May 1983.

One of TV’s most endearing romantic comedies, The Lovers, was filmed almost entirely in Manchester in the early 1970s.

Beautifully written by Jack Rosenthal, The Lovers starred Manchester-born actress Paula Wilcox as Beryl Battersby and Richard Beckinsale as Geoffrey Scrimshaw.

Beryl famously referred to Geoffrey as ‘Geoffrey bubbles bonbon’ and sex as ‘percy filth’. The show ran for two series, totalling 13 episodes, and was also made into a feature film.

Richard Beckinsale and Paula Wilcox during a shoot for "The Lovers"

Paula Wilcox and Richard Beckinsale filming Manchester sitcom The Lovers, June 1972.

Comic acting came naturally to Wigan-born Roy Kinnear, who became a household name in the early 1960s as one of the original members of the TV satirical series That Was The Week That Was.

He appeared in a number of films directed by his friend Richard Lester, including Help! with the Beatles, How I Won the War and The Three Musketeers.

Our photo shows him playing Henry Salt in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder in the title role.

Kinnear’s TV sitcoms included Man About the House and its spin-off George and Mildred, Cowboys and The Dick Emery Show.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Roy Kinnear playing Henry Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, October 1970.

Another Manchester sitcom veteran was Sam Kelly, who memorably played Captain Hans Geering in ‘Allo ‘Allo and Warren in Porridge.

He also worked extensively with film director Mike Leigh, appearing in Grown-Ups in 1980, All or Nothing in 2002 and the 2012 Olympics movie A Running Jump.

Sam Kelly

Manchester-born actor Sam Kelly, June 1987.

Robert Powell, born in Salford, is perhaps best known for Jesus of Nazareth (1977) and playing secret agent Richard Hannay in both the film of The Thirty Nine Steps and the TV series Hannay.

More recently he has played David Briggs in The Detectives alongside Jasper Carrott and Mark Williams in the BBC One medical drama Holby City.

Like fellow actor Ben Kingsley, he was educated at Manchester Grammar School and went on to the Royal College of Advance Technology in Salford.

Powell is pictured at Stratfield Saye House during a break in the filming of The Four Feathers in August 1977. With him are co-stars Jane Seymour and Simon Ward.

Jane Seymour, Robert Powell and Simon Ward

Robert Powell, centre, with Jane Seymour and Simon Ward, August 1977.

Finally in our round-up is stage, film and TV actor David Threlfall, born in Crumpsall and raised in Blackley, Bradford and Burnage.

The star of the Channel 4 series Shameless, Threlfall has been a keen Manchester City supporter since childhood.

It’s his voice that can be heard on the film played before every single home match at the Etihad.

For a Blues fan there can be no finer honour.

Actor, David Threlfall

Crumpsall-born actor David Threlfall, January 2010.

If you have any memories of Manchester actors you’d like to share, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.