Interesting things to know about the borough of Rochdale

Show business: facts and famous entertainment personalities

  • Dame Gracie Fields CBE, a world-famous actress, singer and comedian, was born and brought up in Rochdale. A statue of her has been put up in the town hall square and there is a heritage trail of places associated with her around the town.
  • Actor Steve Coogan (best known for his role as Alan Partridge) attended Cardinal Langley RC High School, Middleton.
  • Actor, Don Estelle, (best known for his role as Lofty in ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’) lived in the Seven Sisters tower blocks and is buried in Rochdale.
  • Circus performer General Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton) visited Rochdale twice; in 1846 and 1871.
  • Comedian Tommy Cannon (from the double act Cannon and Ball) was chairman of Rochdale AFC during the 1980s.
  • Controversial comedian and nightclub owner Bernard Manning lived in Middleton.
  • Coronation Street actor Julie Goodyear MBE attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (now St Anne’s Academy) in Middleton.
  • Film and TV actor Anna Friel was born in Rochdale
  • Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket lives in Rochdale and in 2015 was awarded a Papal Knighthood for his services to charitable causes.
  • Singer Lisa Stansfield - best known for worldwide chart topper ‘all around the world’ is from Rochdale.
  • The 6th Doctor from the BBC's Doctor Who, Colin Baker, grew up in Rochdale.
  • The Courteeners, best known for hit single ‘Not 19 Forever’ hail from Middleton.
  • The hit BBC drama Waterloo Road (starring Denise Welch and Laura Aikman) was filmed in Rochdale from 2006-2012.
  • The poster for the Pablo Fanques circus show in Rochdale was the inspiration for the Beatles song ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’.
  • Writer, composer, comedian and actor Bill Oddie OBE was born in Rochdale