I’m a Celebrity – Famous North WalesPublished on 3 Nov 2021 by Amy Bowers
As I’m a Celebrity … prepares to return to the North Wales seaside town of Abergele later this month, we ask who’s the most famous North Walian of all?
Fans of the ITV show, I’m a Celebrity, will know that last year’s series was forced to relocate to Wales due to the pandemic, bringing us all the usual camp drama from Gwrych Castle instead of the Australian jungle.
It has been confirmed that the 2021 series of I’m a Celebrity will also be filmed at Gwrych Castle, making it the second time the programme has departed from its usual location in Australia. Ant and Dec have been spotted filming – and posting on social media – in various locations across North Wales in recent weeks.
So, as the nation’s favourite Geordie duo finalise their bushtucker torture trials and get ready to welcome a cast of famous (and let’s face it, some distinctly not-quite-so-famous) faces to camp, we thought we’d review some of our local celebrity connections in North Wales.
Who’s the most famous of them all? We’ll let you decide.
Lead singer of indie rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen, Ryan “Van” McCann, hails from the seaside town of Llandudno. The Brit award winner has also performed at leading North Wales festival, Festival no.6.
Staying on a musical theme, BBC 6 Music DJ and Red Dwarf and Coronation Street actor Craig Charles may not be from Llandudno (he grew up in Huyton, near Liverpool), but he does enjoy regular short breaks to the Victorian seaside resort from his home in Cheshire.
Ynys Môn / Anglesey
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge lived on the Bodorgan Estate between Maltraeth and Aberffraw on Anglesey during the Princes’ Royal Air Force service. Interestingly, Prince William was the first member of the British Royal Family since Henry VII to live in Wales.
Comedian, actress and writer Dawn French was born in Holyhead, Anglesey. The BAFTA award-winning actress starred in the popular comedy Vicar of Dibley, and performed a long-running TV sketch series with her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders.
The lead singer of Motorhead, Ian Fraser Kilmister, AKA Lemmy, grew up in North Wales. The son of a preacher, who went on to become one of the founders of the heavy metal genre, grew up in Benllech, Anglesey.
British and Irish Lion, Wales Rugby Union and Ospreys star player George North grew up on Anglesey. He went to school in Bodedern, near Rhosneigr.
And Anglesey has produced – and nurtured – some remarkable artists. Some of our favourites include the late Welsh landscape painter Kyffin Williams, and the late Ladybird Books and wildlife illustrator Charles Tunnicliffe. The Oriel Môn in Llangefni has permanent displays of their work, and is well worth a visit.
Hollywood actor Rhys Ifans grew up in the rural town of Ruthin. Rhys has appeared in numerous blockbusters including Harry Potter, Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man and of course, Kevin and Perry Go Large! Our favourite, though, has to be cult film Twin Town (set in Swansea), in which Rhys starred with his brother Llyr.
Mike Peters, lead singer of The Alarm, hails from the seaside town of Prestatyn, as does former Countdown co-host Carol Vorderman. Liverpool FC legend Ian Rush grew up in St Asaph, an historic city which is also home to the smallest cathedral in Britain.
Rock band Neck Deep come from Wrexham. The band includes Ben Barlow, Sam Bowden, Fil Thorpe-Evans, Dani Washington and Matt West – all hailing from the North East Wales market town. Fellow Wrexhamites include footballer Robbie Savage (Robbie likes to holiday in Abersoch, on Pen Llŷn) and Mark Hughes. Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and his friend Rob McElhenney recently bought Wrexham Football Club, also known as the Red Dragons.
Former James Bond, Timothy Dalton, was born and grew up in Colwyn Bay. The 007 actor played James Bond twice, The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989). Another famous son of Colwyn Bay is the late Monty Python star Terry Jones. As well as being an iconic British comedian, Terry was an accomplished author, poet, and director.
Popular singer and TV presenter Aled Jones is from Bangor. The singer rose to fame with “Walking in the Air” and is now a DJ on Classic FM. The Oscar winning director Danny Boyle studied English and Drama at Bangor University.
Pen Llŷn / Llŷn Peninsula (well, an island close to the coast of Pen Llŷn)
British Adventurer Bear Grylls and his family live on a small island off the Llŷn Peninsula called Ynys Tudwal Fawr / St Tudwal’s Island West. The island, which is half a mile off the coast of Pen Llŷn is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and a landscape of outstanding historical interest.
In the 1950s, the family of future-Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant holidayed at a small cottage near Machynlleth. In 1970, Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page returned to the same cottage to recharge their creative juices. They spent a number of weeks there after a long and gruelling concert tour of North America, and although the cottage had no running water or electricity, they used it as a retreat to write and record some of their third album, Led Zeppelin III.