Updated: Sunday, 29th March 2020 @ 7:27am

MM’s top five… Manchester stars of stage and screen

MM’s top five… Manchester stars of stage and screen

By John McDougall

Manchester has always been a hub for creativity and expression – whether through music, theatre, poetry, art, television or film.

Several major films have been shot in Cottonopolis and Manchester has been equally generous in producing stars that have graced the world’s much-loved movies and television shows.  

Here MM takes a look at the top five actors who hail from Manchester.

5. David Schofield

Wythenshawe-born Schofield has carved out an acting portfolio that includes films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Valkyrie and Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator.

But he has not been shy to appear to take television roles either, appearing in both Footballers’ Wives and Holby City to name a few.

Schofield has also taken countless roles in theatre, appearing in Shakespeare plays including Antony and Cleopatra, Henry VIII and Julius Caesar

An actor’s diversity to take roles across platforms often sets them apart from others, and Schofield has done just that over his 40-year career.

4. David Threlfall

Hailing from Burnage and a Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre graduate, Threlfall is best known for the character of Frank Gallagher in Channel 4’s hit comedy Shameless.

Set in the fictional Manchester estate of Chatsworth, Threlfall plays a chain-smoking, womanising drunkard who rants and raves after hitting the bottle.

As well as starring in the successful show – which is ending this year after its 11th series – Threlfall has also directed several episodes of the show.

His talents don’t just end there, as his theatre talents have seen him act in London, Stratford-upon-Avon and, of course, his hometown of Manchester.

3. Bill Tarmey

How could a top five Mancunian actor’s countdown be complete without mentioning a Coronation Street stalwart and the late Tarmey fits the bill.

Born in wartime Ardwick, Tarmey worked in the construction industry before entering the acting profession in the 1970s.

He initially started out on Corrie as an extra but was offered the role of Jack Duckworth in 1979 and he never looked back.

He and on-screen wife Vera, played by Elizabeth Dawn, became one of the nation’s most-loved couples for more than 30 years.

Tarmey left the soap in 2010 when his character, Jack, died and he himself passed away last November at the age of 71.

2. John Thaw

Having been born in Longsight and brought up in Gorton, his 40-year career began in 1960 when appearing in A Shred of Evidence.

Shaw’s career took off in the seventies when he landed the role of Detective Jack Regan in seventies police drama, The Sweeney.

His career culminated in the nineties crime dramas of Inspector Morse and Kavanagh QC, the former propelling him to popularity in America.

A heavy drinker and smoker since the age of 12, Thaw died aged 60 in 2001 of oesophageal cancer, but has made his mark on the world of acting.

1. Bernard Hill

Born in Blackley in the north of the city in 1944, Hill’s career spans nearly 40 years and during that time has appeared in many  iconic films.

He is probably best recognised for his portrayal of King Theoden of Rohan in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

The third and final instalment of 2003, the Return of the King, won 11 Oscars and became the second film Hill had been involved in to have won as many.

The first came in 1997 in James Cameron’s Titanic, where he portrayed Captain Edward J. Smith, who went down with his ship after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic. 

Few actors in the world can boast to have starred in such successful films, and Manchester-born Hill is one of a very select group.

Do you agree with MM’s list? Or does it annoy you that Sir Ian McKellan, Christopher Eccleston and John Simm missed-out on the top five?

Have your say below.

Image courtesy of ITVNews via YouTube, with thanks

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