Yorkshire Day: 15 all time great Yorkshiremen

Geoff Boycott
Geoff Boycott

To celebrate Yorkshire Day we’ve put together this list of great Yorkshiremen, past and present...

Sean Bean

Born and raised in Sheffield, Bean first found success for his portrayal of Richard Sharpe in the ITV series Sharpe.

He has since garnered further recognition for his performance as Ned Stark in the HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, as well as roles in the BBC anthology series Accused and the ITV historical drama series Henry VIII. His most prominent film role was Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003).

Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett (born 9 May 1934) is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and author.

Sean Bean as Sharpe

Sean Bean as Sharpe

He was born in Leeds and attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with the Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research medieval history at the university for several years.

His collaboration as writer and performer with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival brought him instant fame.

He gave up academia, and turned to writing full-time, his first stage play Forty Years On being produced in 1968.

His work includes The Madness of George III and its film adaptation, the series of monologues Talking Heads, the play and subsequent film The History Boys, and popular audio books, including his readings of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh.

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson

Brian Blessed

The larger than life Blessed was born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire.

He has had a glittering acting career, and is much loved thanks to his trademark booming voice and extravagant personality.

Geoffrey Boycott

J.B. Priestley

J.B. Priestley

Wakefield born Boycott is a former Yorkshire and England cricketer. In a prolific and sometimes controversial playing career from 1962 to 1986, Boycott established himself as one of England’s most successful opening batsmen and since retiring as a player, he has found further success as a cricket commentator.

Jeremy Clarkson

The controversial TV presenter was born in Doncaster in 1960.

From a career as a local journalist in Northern England, Clarkson rose to public prominence as a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s, he has become a recognised public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows.

This week it was announced that Clarkson and his former Top Gear co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond had signed a deal to present a new motoring show for Amazon.

Jarvis Cocker

Sheffielder Jarvis rose to fame in the 1990s as frontman of the Britpop band Pulp.

His angular frame, unique fashion sense, mannerisms, and sense of humour helped him become one of the most iconic British musicians of all time.

Joe Cocker

A fellow Sheffielder, but no relation to Jarvis, John Robert ‘Joe’ Cocker, OBE (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014) was an English rock, blues and soul singer and musician.

He was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and definitive versions of popular songs.

Cocker’s cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” reached number one in the UK in 1968 and his performance at the Woodstock Fesitval in 1969 went down in legend.

Sir Ben Kingsley

Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji in Snainton, North Yorkshire, in 1943.

In a career spanning over 40 years, he has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards.

He is known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

He is also known for his performances in the films Schindler’s List (1993), Sexy Beast (2000), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Shutter Island (2010), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Hugo (2011), and Iron Man 3 (2013).

Henry Moore

The son of a coal miner, Castleford born Moore was a sculptor and artist.

He was best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art.

His ability in later life to fulfill large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy, yet he lived frugally and most of the money he earned went towards endowing the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the art.

Michael Palin

Michael Edward Palin is a comedian, actor, writer and television presenter.

He was one of the members of the legendary comedy group Monty Python and later made a number of travel documentaries.

Palin was born and raised in Sheffield.

J.B. Priestley

John Boynton “J. B.” Priestley, (13 September 1894 – 14 August 1984), was an English novelist, playwright and broadcaster.

His Yorkshire background is reflected in much of his fiction, notably in The Good Companions (1929), which first brought him to wide public notice. Many of his plays are structured around a time-slip, and he went on to develop a new theory of time, with different dimensions that link past, present and future.

He was born in Bradford.

Sir Patrick Stewart

Famous for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek, Sir Patrick Stewart was born in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, in 1940.

He is also well known for playing Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series of superhero movies (2000–2014), and his prolific stage roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Fred Trueman

Frederick Sewards “Fred” Trueman, OBE (6 February 1931 – 1 July 2006) was an English cricketer, mainly active from 1948 to 1968, who played for Yorkshire and England.

He had professional status and later became an author and broadcaster.

He was born in Stainton, South Yorkshire.

Trueman is generally acknowledged to have been one of the greatest bowlers in cricket’s history.

Bowling at a genuinely fast pace and widely known as “Fiery Fred”, he was the first bowler to take 300 wickets in a Test career.

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.

A native of Kingston upon Hull, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he became an Evangelical Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform.

Ernie Wise

Best known as one half of the comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, he was born Ernest Wiseman in Bramley, West Yorkshire.

Morecambe and Wise became a national institution on British television, especially for their Christmas specials.

Are there any Yorkshiremen you think should be added to this list? Leave your suggestions in the Comments section below.