Famous Yorkshire Folk

Famous Yorkshire Folk

When most people think of Yorkshire it conjures up images of Yorkshire puddings, tea and the white rose, but the county is more than its food and history, what would it be without its people? 

Yorkshire is the birth place of many people who have become household names across the world, from actors to professional athletes, these people showcase the brilliance of the people of Yorkshire. 

Nicola Adams (born in Leeds, West Yorkshire)

The first female boxer to become an Olympic champion, Adams is a retired professional boxer with an undefeated record! She is also an important influential figure for the LGBTQ+ and African/African-Caribbean communities. 

Mel B (born in Leeds, West Yorkshire)

Also known as Scary Spice, Mel B was a member of the iconic Spice Girls. She has also had a successful solo career and has branched out into acting and featuring on reality shows such as The X Factor, America's Got Talent and Celebrity Juice

Corinne Bailey Rae (born in Leeds, West Yorkshire)

A Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, Corinne Bailey Rae has topped charts and composed music for film and television. 

Sean Bean (born in Handsworth, Sheffield)

Sean Bean has kept his Yorkshire accent, bringing it into major franchises, such as The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. He has an impressive range of experience under his belt including television, film and video game roles.

Alan Bennet (born in Armley, Leeds)

An actor, author, playwright, and screenwriter, he originally studied Medieval history but after teaming up with other writers and performers to create Beyond the Fringe after its success he gave up academia for writing full time and went on to write The Madness of George III and Talking Heads

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë (born in Thornton, Bradford)

The works of these three talented sisters, Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights and Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, continue to have a massive impact on the literary world. Whilst reading their works it is easy to see the impact the moors, they grew up exploring, had on their work.

Alistair Brownlee (born In Dewsbury, West Yorkshire)

Alistair Brownlee is the only athlete to hold two Olympics titles in the triathlon event, winning gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games! 

Jonny Brownlee (born in Leeds, West Yorkshire)

A professional duathlete and triathlete, he was the 2012 Triathlon World Champion and a two time World Sprint Triathlon Champion, Jonny Brownlee continued on to win multiple Olympic medals in the London and Rio games.

Tony Christie (born in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire)

A musician, singer and actor best known for his recording of "(Is This The Way To) Amarillo", he created many hits during the 60s and 70s and continues to perform and tour today. 

Jeremy Clarkson (born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire)

The TV host and writer who is best known for being a presenter of Top Gear and The Grand Tour, he specialises in motoring journalism and presenting but he also owns a farm and has been documenting life on the farm in Clarkson's Farm

Hannah Cockroft (born in Halifax, West Yorkshire)

Hannah Cockroft is a wheelchair racer, she holds the world records for the 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres and 1500 metres and has won 5 Paralympic gold medals!

Jarvis Cocker (born in Sheffield, West Yorkshire)

A musician and radio presenter and the lead singer of Pulp, Cocker was a figurehead of Britpop in the mid 1990s. He continued into a solo career, when Pulp went into hiatus, and has presented Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service, a BBC Radio Music. 

Captain James Cook (born in Marton, Middlesbrough)

Famous for his three voyages between 1768 and 1779 in the Pacific Ocean and to Australia. He was the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand. 

Judi Dench (born in Heworth, York)

An actress with many impressive roles and accolades under her belt. Judi Dench has experience on the stage and on film, with one of her most famous roles being M from the James Bond films.

Dynamo (born in Bradford, West Yorkshire)

Born as Steven Frayne, Dynamo is a magician and has presented many shows including Dynamo: Magician Impossible. He has toured the world travelling to put on shows for people in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. 

Barry David Elliot and Paul Harman Elliot (born in Rotherham, West Yorkshire)

These two brothers, more famously known as the Chuckle Brothers, were a comedy duo behind Chucklevision. Their slapstick comedy and iconic "To me, to you!" was a memorable part of many children's childhood. 

Jessica Ennis-Hill (born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

Now a commentator for the BBC, Jessica Ennis-Hill is the 2012 heptathlon Olympic champion, and a three-time world champion!

Guy Fawkes (born in York, North Yorkshire)

The reason we have Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes is the famed member of the group of English Catholics involved in the Gunpowder Plot. He was caught underneath Parliament guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder planted there to kill King James I!

Tan France (born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire)

A fashion designer and television personality, Tan France was one of the first openly gay South Asian men on a major show. He is the fashion expert for Netflix's Queer Eye, and the host of the web series Dressing Funny. He also released a memoir in June 2019 titled, Naturally Tan

Lesley Garrett (born in Thorne, Doncaster)

A soprano singer, broadcaster and media personality, Garrett has regularly appeared in opera, musical theatre, and on television, including on Strictly Come Dancing and Loose Women.

Gareth Gates (born in West Bowling, Bradford)

The runner-up in the first series of Pop Idol, Gates went on to sell millions of records and play lead roles in the West End, such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He also has a stutter and talked publicly talked about his speech impediment, he now is a speech coach to help others manage their speech impediments.

John Harrison (Born in Foulby, West Yorkshire)

Harrison is the inventor of the marine chronometer, this revolutionised navigation and made long-distance sea travel safer. His work also led to many advances in time-keeping technology. 

Charlie Heaton (born in Leeds, West Yorkshire)

An actor and musician, he is best known for playing Jonathan Byers in Netflix's Stranger Things.

Barbara Hepworth (born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire)

An artist and sculptor whose work exemplifies Modernism, Hepworth was a leading figure in the St Ives School, a group of artists that sprung up after the First World War.

Brian Blessed (born in Mexborough, Doncaster)

An actor and television personality who has been gracing our screens for over 50 years, Blessed has featured in Flash Gordon, the original 1981 London production of Cats and Tarzan.

Susan Hill (born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire)

An award winning author of fiction and non-fiction, including The Woman In Black which was made into a movie in 2012, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

Alan Hinkes (born in Northallerton, North Yorkshire)

The first British mountaineer to claim all 14 Himalayan 'eight-thousanders' (mountains above 8,000m in height), Hinkes completed this on 30th May 2005, and remains the only British mountaineer to have claimed them all. 

David Hockney (born in Bradford, West Yorkshire)

One of the most influential British artists of the 20th century, Hockney works with many different medians, most notably painting and photography although he is also a craftsman, printmaker and stage designer. He was an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s. Many of his works are on display in Salts Mill, Saltaire. 

Amy Johnson (born in Kingston upon Hill, East Yorkshire)

Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia, she set many long distance record in the 1930s and flew in the Second World War as part of the Air Transport Auxiliary. 

Kevin Keegan (born in Armthorpe, Doncaster)

A former football player and manager, Keegan has played for several clubs including Newcastle United and Southhampton and managed Newcastle United, Fulham and Manchester City.

Sir Ben Kingsley (born in Snainton, Scarborough)

With a career that spans five decades, Sir Ben Kingsley has worked in theatre, joining the Royal Shakespeare Company and performing in numerous productions, and on film appearing in Schindler's List, Iron Man 3 and the live action adaptation of The Jungle Book

Keith Lemon (born in Beeston, Leeds)

The persona of Leeds born Francis Leigh, Keith Lemon is a comedian, actor, writer, director and producer. He is the presenter of multiple ITV shows including Celebrity Juice and Through the Keyhole.

Zayn Malik (born in Bradford, West Yorkshire)

Previously member of One Direction, one of the best-selling boy bands of all time. After leaving the group in 2015, Zayn has found success in his solo career, collaborating with artists such as Sia and Taylor Swift.  

James Martin (born in Malton, North Yorkshire)

A chef who has worked with both BBC and ITV to present shows such as Saturday Kitchen and Saturday Morning with James Martin

Pete McKee (born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

A painter and commercial artist, McKee is a cartoonist for the Sheffield Telegraph's sports section. His work heavily features football and his characters are found in a world of working men's clubs, bingo halls and trips to the seaside.

Henry Moore (born in Castleford, West Yorkshire)

Best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures, Moore has created many sculptures and drawings, usually abstract versions of the human figure, many interpreters liken the forms of his figures to the landscape and hills of Yorkshire.

Captain Tom Moore (born in Keighley, West Yorkshire)

Captain Tom became a household name in 2020, when he began to walk one hundred lengths of his garden with the goal of raising £1,000 for charity by his 100th birthday. His actions encouraged others to chip in and by the morning of his 100th birthday Moore had raised £30 million with his walk.

Bob Mortimer (born in Middlesborough, North Yorkshire)

A comedian and actor, Mortimer was one half of the comedy duo Vic and Bob with Vic Reeves. More recently he has teamed up with comedian, Paul Whitehouse to make Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing

John Newman (born in Settle, North Yorkshire)

Newman is a singer/songwriter and record producer who has topped charts and worked alongside Rudimental and Calvin Harris.

Michael Palin  (born in Ranmoor, Sheffield)

A member of Monty Python, the iconic comedy group responsible for The Four Yorkshiremen sketch. He also began a career as a travel writer and made travel documentaries for the BBC. 

Christina Pickles (born in Halifax, West Yorkshire)

Born in Yorkshire, but moving to New York in the 1950s, Pickles is best known for her work in St. Elsewhere, a medical drama, and her role as Judy Geller, the mother of Ross Geller on the hit series Friends.

Danny Rose (born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire)

Playing for Premier League club Watford and the England national team, Rose began his career at Leeds United in 2006! 

Kate Rusby (born in Penistone, Barnsley)

Sometimes called the 'Barnsley Nightingale', Kate Rusby has headlined many national folk festivals and has been described as "a superstar of the British acoustic scene."

Verity Rushworth (born in Bradford, West Yorkshire)

From 1998 to 2009, Rushworth played Donna Windsor in Emmerdale, she has also played in theatre roles throughout the UK and most recently appeared in Doctors, a BBC medical soap opera. 

Helen Sharman (born in Sheffield, West Yorkshire)

A chemist and astronaut who became the first British person in space, she was also the first woman to visit the Mir space station in May 1991.

Ed Sheeran (born in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire)

The chart topping singer/songwriter, Ed Sheeran  released his debut album in 2011 and was met with massive success, he has won many awards for his work and continues to make music that is loved around the world.

Sarah Stevenson (born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire)

She won Britain's first Olympic medal in taekwondo in the 2008 Games in Beijing, she became world champion in 2011 and in 2013 she announced her retirement from competition and her plans to go into coaching. 

Sir Patrick Stewart (born in Mirfield, West Yorkshire)

An award winning actor who has played roles in some of the world's most beloved franchises, such as Star Trek and X-Men, Sir Patrick Stewart received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010.

Alan Titchmarsh (born in Ilkley, West Yorkshire)

After working as a professional gardener and a gardening journalist, he appeared on variety of gardening programmes and established himself as a media personality. He has presented a handful of different gardening shows including Alan Titchmarsh Show and Love Your Garden.

Louis Tomlinson  (born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire)

Rising to fame as a member of One Direction, he continued with his solo career after the group's hiatus in 2016 and his career has continued to be successful with him being listed on Debrett's 2017 list of the most influential people in the UK.

Alex Turner (born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

The front man of the Artic Monkeys, Turner is a singer, songwriter and record producer. The Artic Monkeys was actually formed in Sheffield and they continue to produce music to critical acclaim and an ever-increasing fanbase.

Yungblud (born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire)

Born as Dominic Harrison, Yungblud began his career as an actor, playing roles in Emmerdale and The Lodge, and then moved on to making music, releasing his first EP, Yungblud, in 2019 and has continued to make chart topping music.

Jodie Whittaker (born in Skelmanthorpe, West Yorkshire)

Playing the first female Doctor in the iconic British TV series, Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker has also appeared in Black Mirror and the sci-fi cult classic, Attack the Block.

William Wilberforce (born in Hull, East Yorkshire)

A politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

Christopher Wolstenholme (born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire)

Wolstenholme is the bassist of the rock band Muse. He met the other members of the band while they were rehearsing in the same building, they were originally called Rocket Baby Dolls but renamed the band to Muse in 1994.

Have we missed any of your favourite Yorkshire celebrities? If we have leave us a comment below with their name and what they are known for.

Tags: People


  • Posted by Phil Joester on

    Maureen Lipman- Hull. Andrew Marvel poet Hull .

  • Posted by Christophe Pain on

    All very interesting and a document to be kept printed

  • Posted by Jane on

    Joe Cocker
    Very well known singer. From Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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