The joys of Yorkshire as told by Yorkshire folk

Our beautiful county has been the birthplace and childhood home of many a talented adult, so what do famous Yorkshire men and women have to say about it? Most are proud of their roots, and wax lyrical about their hometowns at every given opportunity. I’ve collected together some quotes below from some of our most recognised exports, which paint a picture of Yorkshire through the eyes of Yorkshire folk.

“It was a step up to get a job there, but also I just loved Yorkshire. We lived in Aberford just outside Leeds – this was with my first wife, Linda – and were opposite the pub, The Arabian Horse. It was perfect.

“I just really enjoyed the Yorkshire people and the whole ambience of the place. It was great.”

Richard Madeley – TV personality

“The musical heritage of Yorkshire is deep and wide”

Lesley Garrett – singer & musician

“The only place I considered home was the boarding school, in Yorkshire, my parents sent me to”

Joe Strummer – singer, songwriter and guitarist with The Clash

“Leeds is quite laid-back. That’s why I live there now”

Matthew Lewis – actor

“My parents retired to a small village 50 miles outside Leeds and I still go there as often as I can to recharge my batteries”

Alan Bennett – playwright, author & performer. Much of his written work has been based in Leeds and Yorkshire too.

“The thing I remember from Sheffield, when I was growing up, was characters. People who looked at life in a different way. I was always attracted to people like that.”

Michael Palin – comedian, actor, writer & TV presenter

“Any excuse, I try to get back to Sheffield. I find London, where I’ve lived for 50 years or so, exciting, vibrant, stimulating – all those words – but it’s almost as if London is so vast that you can’t really get a sense of the city. When you’re in Sheffield you can see the hills around you and there’s a real sense of what Sheffield was – a big industrial city. There’s a definite identity still, which goes right through all the people I know from Sheffield, rich or poor. They’re proud of Sheffield, in a slightly stroppy sort of way.

“So when I go to Sheffield, I look around at the stone walls and the hills and I know where I am. Whereas in London, I feel kind of rootless.”

Michael Palin – comedian, actor, writer & TV presenter

“Good boozers in Leeds!”

Leigh Francis – Keith Lemon, actor, TV presenter, director, producer, writer

“I’ve honestly never once thought about leaving York, not even when we [Shed Seven] first signed the record deal and suddenly this world of opportunity opened up, I didn’t think, ‘Right, that’s it, best move to London’.

“When we used to go on long tours, the sign for York and the A64 was the one thing I wanted to see most. It’s still the same, there’s a good feeling about coming back to a place you really call home”

Rick Witter – singer, songwriter, DJ & radio presenter

On Bradford: “It’s very industrial-looking and very old. It has just got that kind of, like, very British feel to it. It’s very up and down. There are hills everywhere. It’s a cool place that has a lot of character – with a lot of characters that live there!”

Zayn Malik – singer

About a Yorkshire rap he recorded: “When you have pride in your roots, there’s nothing more fun and joyous than singing about it.”

Brian Blessed – actor

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