Newcastle and the North East might not be the first place you think of when you think of famous or notable people but there’s an endless list of notable Geordies that includes the likes of Dame Catherine Cookson, Sir Bobby Robson and Adam Wakenshaw.
We’ve chosen our top 10 all taken from 21st century culture but don’t forget that Newcastle can be thanked for producing some of the best historical figures to grace the UK.
1. Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly
Known as Ant & Dec they are a comedy duo who rose to fame in the BBC Children’s show Byker Grove. Since leaving the show they had a brief pop career before becoming extremely successful as Television presenters. They present and produce shows like Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
In 2016 they were awarded OBE status by the Queen to which they said they were both “shocked, but incredibly honoured.”
2. Rowan Atkinson
Most famous for his roles in Blackadder and Mr. Bean Rowan Atkinson, is an English actor, comedian, and screenwriter.
In 2013 Atkinson was awarded CBE status by the Queen for services to drama and charity.
3. Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer is a retired football striker playing at the top level of the English Football league and played for Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and for the English national team.
Scoring 283 league goals during his career he appeared 63 times for his country. He retired from football in 2006 and in 2009 briefly took on the role of Newcastle United’s manager for the last 8 games of the season.
Shearer was awarded a CBE by the Queen and is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland, a Freeman of Newcastle upon Tyne and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law of Northumbria and Newcastle Universities.
Cheryl (née Tweedy and previously Fernandez-Versini and Cole) shot to fame after appearing on ITV’s Popstars: The Rivals where she became one of the 5 members of girl group Girls Aloud. They split in 2013 after a successful career including 20 consecutive UK top 10 singles and 6 platinum albums.
In 2009 Cheryl launched a successful solo career releasing 3 albums and becoming the first British female to have five number ones in the UK – she still holds this title today.
In 2008 she became a judge on The X Factor and mentored 2 of the eventual winners during her time as a judge.
5. Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards might not have been born in Newcastle infact he was born in London but since he went to Durham University and now lives in Newcastle the city has adopted him as their own. So, we couldn’t leave him off our list!
Jonathan is a former triple jumper and is an Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European champion holding the record since 1995. He was on the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and since he retired he’s been a sports commentator for the BBC.
After winning the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games he was awarded a CBE by the Queen.
6. Chas Chandler
Bryan James “Chas” Chandler is best known as the original bassist in The Animals. He was a musician, record producer and manager managing the band Slade and Jimi Hendrix. Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle was also his brainchild along with his partner in Park Arena Nigel Stanger. He died in 1996 less than one year after the Arena opened.
7. Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson, an English singer and songwriter, was the 3rd lead singer of the Australian rock band AC/DC. He left the band in 2016 due to hearing problems and was quoted as saying “I’m just thankful, really, that I came out of it in one piece.”
Prior to this he was one of the founding members of Geordie, a rock band formed in Newcastle in 1971. They had a few hit singles, including UK Top 10 “All Because of You”. The band split up in 1978.
8. Jonny Wilkinson (adopted)
Ok so Jonny Wilkinson might not be born and bred in Newcastle either but Newcastle have proudly adopted him so he made our list… you’ll see why…
Jonathan is a former rugby union player who played for England and the British and Irish Lions. Born in Frimley, he grew up in Farnham playing at a youth level for Farnham Rugby Club. After school he was offered a place at the University of Durham but in 1997 he gave up being a student and became a professional rugby union player with the Newcastle Falcons.
He was acknowledged as one of the world’s best rugby union players during the 2003 Rugby World Cup. In the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final he scored the winning drop goal in the last minute of extra time when England played Australia. He then lead England as captain in 2007 getting them as far as the final.
In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Surrey for services to the sports industry.
In 2011 he retired from the England Team before announcing that he would retire from rugby completely at the end of the 2013-14 season.
9. Charlie Hunnam
Charlie Hunnam was born in 1980 in Newcastle and is an actor most famous for his role as Nathan in Channel 4’s Queer as Folk and Jackson “Jax” Teller in the FX drama series Sons of Anarchy. He also appeared in Undeclared, Nicholas Nickleby, Green Street and Pacific Rim.
11. Paul W. S. Anderson
Paul Anderson is an English movie director, producer and writer born in 1965 in Newcastle. He most often works with Science fiction movies and video games and is most famous for not only writing but also producing and directing the Resident Evil movies which are based on the video game of the same name.
Ok so we lied… we found it impossible to stick to 10 of our favorites and couldn’t possibly forget these two. Consider it a wee bonus…
11. Sarah Millican
Sarah Millican is a comedian brought up in South Shields.
In 2008 she debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with her show Sarah Millican’s Not Nice. This won her the if.comedy award for Best Newcomer.
Her show, Chatterbox, was hosted by the Stand Comedy Club at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and was nominated for the main Edinburgh Comedy Award but she lost out to Russell Kane.
“Sting” who is named Gordon Sumner is a singer, songwriter, and actor born in Wallsend. He was the lead singer, bassist and writer for The Police from 1977 until 1984. He then launched a successful solo career. During his time with the Police and as a solo artist he has sold over 100 million records.
During his career Sting has received 16 Grammy Awards, 3 Brit Awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and 3 Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song.
In 2000, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2003 the Queen awarded him with a CBE for services to music.
* All of our information is correct at the time of publishing