THE Mercury patch of east and north Hertfordshire and West Essex could be described as star-studded, with many celebrities hailing from the region or making their home in the area.
Harry Potter movies star Rupert Grint grew up in the county town of Hertford and went to the local Richard Hale School. Hertford was also home to Ugly’s, a beauty salon owned by Big Brother star Jade Goody, who lived in nearby Upshire.
Other notable celebrities from the area included Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, who comes from Goffs Oak, film reviewer Barry Norman, and actress and former Page 3 girl Linda Lusardi, who lives in Hoddesdon with her husband, the former Brookside actor Sam Kane.
Just across the border in Roydon, Essex, lives TV and movie star Ray Winstone, whose daughters Lois and Jaime Winstone are also now successful actresses. Roydon was also home to TV comedian and game show presenter Michael Barrymore, until the death of Stuart Lubbock after a party at the star’s house.
Many music stars have also hailed from Hertfordshire. Pop veteran Cliff Richard grew up in Cheshunt, rock legends Deep Purple were formed in Hertford, Unit 4 + 2 formed in Cheshunt, and Dani Filth, lead singer of metal band Cradle of Filth was born in Hertford.
Singer Lena Zavaroni spent her final years in Hoddesdon and is buried in the local cemetery. Other deceased stars from Hertfordshire include Porridge and Last of the Summer Wine actor Brian Wilde, who lived in Ware, actor Nigel Hawthorn, who lived in Cold Christmas, and comedy star Hugh Paddick, who grew up in Hoddesdon.
Also in the Mercury patch is one of the country’s top public schools, Haileybury College, which is situated in Hertford Heath. Notable alumni include playwright Alan Ayckbourn, comedy star Dom Joly, author Rudyard Kipling, journalists Quentin Letts and John McCarthy, actors Simon MacCorkindale and Stephen Mangan, Batman Begins and Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan and former Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
Hertfordshire’s proximity to London also means that many TV dramas and comedies are filmed there. EastEnders, which is filmed about 20 miles from Hertford in Elstree Studios, has filmed in Hertford twice.
David Bowie appeared in Elbert Wurlings bar in Pegs Lane, Hertford, for filming of in the BBC TV show Extras with Ricky Gervais. BBC drama Bleak House was also filmed at Balls Park near Hertford, while parts of police drama Five Days, starring Hugh Bonneville were filmed at the Mercury’s offices in Ware Road, Hertford.
Learners, a comedy drama staring Doctor Who star David Tennant and Jessica Hynes was filmed in Hertfordshire and just over the border in Waltham Abbey, Essex. And actor Kevin Whateley visited Watton-at-Stone to research his family history for the BBC’s Who’s Do Think You Are? programme.
Hertfordshire has also produced some successful sports stars such as Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, who grew up in Tewin, and Olympic boxer Billy Joe Saunders,who fights for Hoddesdon ABC and grew up a part of a family of travellers in Cheshunt.
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