A SURPRISING number of celebrities have links with our county, from politicians and producers to singers and sportspeople.

Some of them were born here, some live here now, and several attended school in Somerset before finding fame. 

Here are 20 celebrities you will almost certainly recognise with ties to Somerset. 

Boris Johnson 

The Prime Minister was recently spotted looking dishevelled at Taunton Station as he cut his holiday in the south west short to return to London.

It is believed that he returned to the capital on Sunday because of the crisis taking place in Afghanistan. 

Johnson, 57, was born in New York but spent time during his childhood at his family’s 500-acre farm in Nethercote, West Somerset.

When the Prime Minister was in intensive care with Covid-19 in April 2020, the nearby village of Winsford sent him their "good wishes and thoughts through this very difficult time".

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Mick Jagger 

The Rolling Stones singer's brother, Chris Jagger, lives in a farmhouse near Glastonbury.

Although his musical career did not reach the heights of Mick’s, Chris, 73, has recorded several albums and toured in the UK and abroad.

He recently finished working on his new album, Mixing Up the Medicine, which will be released on the same day as his autobiography, Talking to Myself (Friday, September 10). 

He recently said in an interview: “The only thing I’m jealous of is Mick’s hair.”  

Somerset County Gazette: Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones performs on stage (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Maisie Williams

Williams, 24, is best known for playing Arya Stark in the critically acclaimed HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones.

She grew up in Clutton, just south of Bath and Bristol – but very nearly missed out on Game of Thrones for a very West Country reason.

In 2014, Williams said: “I had a school trip on the day of my audition actually, and I really wanted to go because we were going to a pig farm – who doesn’t want to go to a pig farm when you’re 12 years old?

“My mum was like, ‘You should go, you don’t have anything to lose.”

Speaking about Clutton, she said: “It’s just such a lovely place to escape from the crazy life that I find myself in sometimes these days, and it’s a lovely place to just chill out where I’m just Maisie again and not ‘the girl off the telly’ or anything like that.”

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Dame Mary Berry 

National treasure Mary Berry, who became a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last October, was “immensely honoured” to be awarded the freedom of Bath in 2014.

She was born there in 1935 and, when she was 17, her father Alleyne Berry served as the 724th mayor of the city.

She studied catering and institutional management at Bath College of Domestic Science before publishing 70 cookery books and presenting numerous shows, including The Great British Bake-Off, in a career spanning six decades.

Somerset County Gazette: Mary Berry

Bill Bailey

Strictly Come Dancing winner Bill Bailey was born in Bath in 1965, grew up in Keynsham, and attended King Edward’s School in Somerset’s Roman city.  

The comedian, singer and actor won the hugely popular BBC competition in 2020 with his dance partner Oti Mabuse.

Alongside his stand-up, he is known for appearing on panel shows Never Mind the Buzzcocks, QI and Have I Got News For You.

He appeared alongside Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Edgar Wright’s 2007 police comedy Hot Fuzz, in which he played twin sergeants working for Sandford Police.

The film, which is the second instalment of the Cornetto Trilogy, was filmed in Wells, Somerset.

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Edgar Wright

Before filming Hot Fuzz in Wells, director Edgar Wright grew up in the city and attended The Blue School there between 1985 and 1992.

The school allowed him to borrow the school’s video camera and show his films, for which he charged 50p admission.

His drama teacher, Peter Wild, even made a cameo appearance in Hot Fuzz as a Village of the Year judge.

In 2016, a blue plaque was unveiled at the school in his honour.

Wright said: “I hope it will make these young people think, if a skinny Blue School teenager can become a famous Hollywood film writer and director, what can I achieve?”

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Dame Jacqueline Wilson 

The children’s author, who has sold more than 35 million books, was born in Bath, although she spent much of her childhood living in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey.

She wrote around 40 books before The Story of Tracy Beaker became a hit in 1991.

In 2002, it was adapted into a successful CBBC series that has seen several revivals – most recently, My Mum Tracy Beaker, which aired earlier this year.

She is also known for writing Love Frankie, Double Act and The Suitcase Kid.

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John Cleese 

Comedy legend John Cleese was born in Weston-Super-Mare and became a big fan of Somerset County Cricket Club after watching them play Sussex with his father in 1948.

In an interview with the cricket club, Cleese revealed that he grew his moustache in honour of Bertie Buse, who played 304 first-class matches for Somerset.

Cleese said: “The two people I liked the most in the world were Bertie Buse and my father and they both had moustaches. Bertie was a wonderful character and I loved him.”

Before becoming a household name by appearing in Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and the Harry Potter films, Cleese went to St Peter’s Preparatory School in Weston-Super-Mare and Clifton College in Bristol.

Somerset County Gazette: John Cleese Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Gary Rhodes 

The late Gary Rhodes used to be the head chef at The Castle Hotel in Taunton, retaining its Michelin star when he was only 26.

After that, he worked at The Greenhouse in Mayfair before carving out a television career with appearances on Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen. 

After the popular chef’s death in November 2019 at the age of just 59, The Castle Hotel owner, Kit Chapman MBE, said: “It is with a profound sense of loss that I hear the sad news of the death of Gary Rhodes.

"In the late 80s he made (The Castle) famous by reviving the fortunes of the English culinary repertoire.”

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Jenson Button 

The first of two Formula 1 drivers on this list, Jenson Button was born in Frome and bought up in nearby Vobster.

In 2009, he won the Formula 1 World Championship while driving for Brawn GP.

Brawn, later renamed Mercedes GP (now Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team), won the Constructors’ Championship in the same season after rising from the ashes of Honda's F1 team.

After seven seasons at McLaren, Button, 41, retired from driving F1 cars and now works as a Sky Sports pundit and senior advisor to the Williams team. 

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Deborah Meaden 

The businesswoman is best known as one of the dragons on the BBC Two series Dragon’s Den, which sees budding entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to multi-millionaires.

She was born in Taunton and now lives in a 10-bedroom farmhouse on the Somerset Levels that she shares with her husband Paul and dozens of animals.

Last year, Meaden told the Gazette: “Whatever the weather, even if it’s freezing or raining, first thing in the morning I go outside barefoot and just in my dressing gown and walk around the farm.

“There’s something about starting the day actually touching the world and having nothing between me and the earth is incredibly grounding.”

She is reportedly worth £40 million and, in 2013, partnered Robin Windsor in the 11th series of Strictly Come Dancing but was eliminated in week five.

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Sir Ian Botham 

A former cricketer and current member of the House of Lords, Sir Ian Botham lived in Yeovil from an early age.

His parents moved to the town when his father got a job as a test engineer at Westland Helicopters.

Botham attended Milford Junior School as a boy while developing his love of cricket – a sport both his parents played.

After captaining the under-16 team at Buckler’s Mead Comprehensive School at the age of 13, he joined the youth set-up at Somerset County Cricket Club.  

He went on to play 102 Test matches for England between 1977 and 1992.

He was knighted in 2007 in recognition of his services to charity and cricket, and the Brexiteer joined the House of Lords last year as a crossbench peer.

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Vanessa White 

White, who was a member of The Saturdays, was born in Yeovil and still visits Somerset when she can.

The band formed in 2007 after the five members successfully auditioned and were active until 2014.

They rose to stardom with their singles If This Is Love and Up, which both reached the UK top 10. 

White said in an interview in 2018: “I came along and started to grow up in Yeovil but my mum never really settled. I think it was not cosmopolitan enough for her at the time.

“She had friends in East London and we moved there. I do remember my early days of starting school in Yeovil, but I have learned more through visits as I got older.

“I am grateful for the contribution made by Somerset and I am proud to have been born in Yeovil which I know has a lot of history, great people and is a really cool place.”

In 2017, she was a contestant in the ITV reality competition I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! but was the fourth to be eliminated as Georgia Toffolo took the crown.

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Lando Norris 

Bristol-born Norris, 21, became the youngest-ever winner of the Formula 3 European Championship in 2017.

Two years later, he made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren and has since stood on the podium four times in his short career for the papaya team.

His family live in Glastonbury and Norris went to Millfield School in Street, but he left without taking his GCSEs to focus on racing.

He is the son of Adam Norris, who amassed a personal fortune of around £250 million and became the 501st richest person in the country as the managing director of a pensions business.

After renewing his McLaren contract in May, Norris said: "My commitment to McLaren is clear: My goal is to win races and become Formula One world champion and I want to do that with this team."

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Sir Ranulph Fiennes

The explorer, who reached the North and South Poles by crossing the Antarctic continent and the Arctic Ocean in 1982, lives on a farm in Exmoor, Somerset.

In 2009, Fiennes climbed Mount Everest.

He had previously reached the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2004 and then he climbed Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, in 2016.

His achievements have led to him being dubbed the world’s greatest living explorer.

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Jenny Agutter OBE 

The actor, who is known for her roles in two adaptations of the Railway Children, Call the Midwife and cameo appearances in the Marvel Universe, was born in Taunton.

She will reprise her role as Roberta Waterbury in The Railway Children Return, which will arrive in cinemas in April 2022. 

She made her film debut in the 1964 film East of Sudan at the age of 11.  

Agutter, who now lives in London after previously relocating to the United States to focus on her film career, was awarded an OBE in 2012 for her charity work.

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Peter Andre 

Peter Andre and his wife Emily Macdonagh, who was previously a doctor at Musgrove Park Hospital, recently celebrated her birthday at Shangri-La restaurant at The Shard in London.

Now living in Surrey, Emily has worked as a junior doctor during the pandemic and comes from a family of medical professionals.

Peter has been married to Emily, who is from Taunton, for almost 10 years – and has been married to her for six.

They have two children together.

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Jeremy Guscott

Before becoming a Bath Rugby legend and representing the British and Irish Lions, outside centre Jeremy Guscott was born in Bath and attended Ralph Allen School.

He also made appearances for England on the wing.

Before rugby union turned professional in England, Guscott worked as a bricklayer, bus driver and for British Gas in a public relations role.

Since retiring from rugby, Guscott has worked as a pundit for the BBC and as a development director for an insurance broker.

Lily Allen

The singer-songwriter attended Millfield School in Somerset in 1996/97 – but she attended 12 other schools across the country in her youth.

Allen has released four studio albums, most recently No Shame in 2018, and is well-known for her singles Smile, The Fame and Not Fair.

Her father, Keith Allen, is an actor who recently played John Cooper in ITV drama The Pembrokeshire Murders and her brother, Alfie Allen, played Theon Greyjoy alongside Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones.

Allen is currently making her West End debut in 2:22 - A Ghost Story. 

Somerset County Gazette: Lily Allen (Yui Mok/PA)

Roald Dahl

The children’s author once described Weston-Super-Mare as a “seedy seaside resort” – but the town now has a blue plaque in his honour.

He was born in Cardiff to Norwegian parents before moving to the town, which he referred to as ‘Weston-Super-Mud’, at the age of nine to attend boarding school.

He stayed in the town until he was 13 when he moved to Repton School in Derbyshire.

His children’s books include Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Twits, Fantastic Mr Fox and The BFG.

He died in 1990 at the age of 74.

In December, Dahl's family apologised for antisemitic comments made by the author. 

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