Celebrity interviews on Shropshire..
Perhaps it's our special Shropshire welcome that makes us so well-loved by those on the celebrity circuit. Not only have we had Hollywood stars like Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart willing to spend their well-earned break from filming cruising our canals, but some well-known faces from film and TV, such John Challis and the late Pete Postlethwaite chose to make Shropshire their home.
Shropshire is no stranger to visits by members of the royal family, with the Queen popping to see us as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 and Princes William and Harry enjoying night outs in Shrewsbury, whilst they were both training at RAF Shawbury. We've also had our fair share of international statesmen, with former US president Bill Clinton visiting Shropshire as part of the G8 summit at Weston Park, and Bob Geldof has been known to visit Ludlow during its arts festival.
Shropshire has appeared on the silver screen regularly over the years, with filmmakers choosing our fair county as a backdrop for many box office hits. Most recently the 2007 film adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement, starring Hollywood stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, was filmed at Stokeay Court, in south Shropshire.
Perhaps the all-time classic filmed in Shropshire is the evocative adaptation of Mary Webb's novel Gone to Earth. Not only was Mary Webb born and raised in Shropshire, but the film adaptation of 1949 was filmed around Much Wenlock and the hauntingly atmospheric Stiperstones. Of course, whilst film making moved on and the brooding flickering celluloid that captured the county in Gone to Earth made way for glorious Technicolor, new producers and directors also fell in love with Shropshire.
Richard Burton graced our borders to film Absolution in 1978 at Ellesmere College, although regrettably both critics and public alike viewed it as "not one of Burton's best films"! And in 1980 the production crew of the comedy film Clockwise which starred John Cleese again used the charming Shropshire town of Much Wenlock as one of its central locations.
In 1984 the cast and crew of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol transformed Shrewsbury from our late 20th century county town into a snowy, Victorian England, for arguably the definitive film version of his book. Take a visit to St Chad's Church today and you'll be surprised to see Ebeneezer Scrooge's 'gravestone' no less; a permanent reminder of the film's production in the town.
We have also been visited by Hugh Grant whilst he was filming The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain, at locations near to Oswestry, and the Oscar winning drama Howards End brought in big names like Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson to Brampton Bryan, near Ludlow.
It's not just on the big screen that Shropshire has been seen. The Only Fools and Horses spin off series The Green Green Grass, which followed Boycie's new life in rural Shropshire, was set and filmed in the pretty little village of Ratlinghope in Church Stretton.
Some of our top attractions such as Hawkstone Historic Park & Follies and The Ironbridge Gorge Museums, have also been seen on the small screen. Hawkstone was the perfect setting for the BBC adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia, Ludlow Castle was the centrepiece for ITV's Moll Flanders, and the late Kate O'Mara was seen in Blists Hill Victorian Town doing battle with Colin Baker in Doctor Who, in 1985.
But you too can experience the celebrity lifestyle in Shropshire – enjoy Michelin starred dining in Ludlow, our gastronomic capital, visit Ironbridge, Shropshire's very own World Heritage Site and birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, and let's not forget Shropshire's county town, Shrewsbury – with lots of independent shops and fashion boutiques, it's the perfect place for upmarket retail therapy.
So for the perfect celebrity retreat, Shropshire really does fit the bill – after all, Harrison and Calista thought so. But for all the famous folk who have graced our county, Shropshire itself remains the real celebrity.
Here's a selection of interviews with celebrities reminiscing about their own connections with Shropshire.
Harrison Ford Remembers Shropshire
In an interview in the Sunday Times on 19th March, Harrison Ford reminisces about his time in Shropshire.
TV's Nick Owen Reminisces About Shropshire
My grandfather was a bank manager in Shrewsbury, my father grew up there and I spent eleven years of my childhood at school in the town...
In The Footsteps of Brother Cadfael - Interview with Sir Derek Jacobi
Popularity has its price - as Sir Derek Jaobi has discovered. Ever since he played the medieval sleuthing monk Brother Cadfael in the television series based on the best-selling books by the late Ellis Peters, Sir Derek Jacobi has been inundated by eager fans who send him gifts.
Wild & Wonderful - Interview with David Bellamy
Shropshire's wildlife constantly surprises. Buzzards and rare Red Kites wheel through the border valleys and bright blue Kingfishers startle shoppers in Shrewsbury. Many of the county's hotels, pubs and B&B's display Shropshire Wildlife Trust's Badger signs, which means the proprietors will gladly introduce you to their local flora and fauna and nature reserves. Shropshire has 50 designated "wild places".
Aga Country - Interview with Mary Berry
The Aga Cooker, that ultimate symbol of homeliness, (which is manufactured in Shropshire) has become a world wide favourite with the great and the good. Ask renowned cookery writer and TV expert Mary Berry, and you'll immediately know why.
Festive Shropshire - Interview with Jullian Lloyd-Webber
Jullian Lloyd Webber is widely regarded as one of the most creative musicians of his generation, and s bought many new listeners to the cello. Having performed at Ludlow Festival twice in the past few years, he has developed a great affection for the county. Here he describes just a few of Shropshire's many events - cultural, countryside or just plain unusual.