Celebrity Spotting in Richmond

A guest post by Steve Carson, local resident and bon-viveur - August 26th, 2012.

This morning I was walking along Church Street in Twickenham with Mr Totally Richmond and stopped for a coffee at Pincho (which also happens to be quite a good Spanish restaurant) and suddenly realised that we were sitting about 15 feet from Miranda Hart who was shooting a scene from her upcoming new series in Crusader Travel. Such fun.

Although we certainly had a good look to see what was going on, after a couple of minutes we went back to our coffee and pain au chocolat, and continued our conversation. Now clearly Miranda isn’t the most famous person in the known universe, but she’s certainly very well known in the UK, and both my wife and I love her show… so it struck me odd that we were so relaxed about seeing her. And then I realised that there are just so many celebs in Richmond its almost a common occurrence to see them.

Let’s start with double olympic gold medal winner, Mo Farah. Team GB’s most accomplished athlete at the recent games, it wasn’t unusual to see him running around Teddington / Bushy Park before he left to train in the US, and after the games he spent a fair amount of time in the Borough – presumably to quietly check out his two golden postboxes. I’ve met a few locals who’ve spoken to him and they say he’s every much as a gent as he seems in his TV interviews.

There were also quite a few other Olympians in the Borough, training and/or staying at St Mary’s University and the Lensbury… and all of the cyclists racing through our streets.

In the world of film we had two of the world’s biggest movie stars living in Richmond last summer.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie not only rented a house for their family while Brad was filming in the UK, but seemed quite happy to wander around the local streets, popping into the Richmond Odeon and local shops from time to time, and other than there being a few shots by the papparazzi, they were generally not hassled.

Again, I think that’s down to us all being rather used to seeing stars here. Let’s face it, Keira Knightly grew up in Teddington and Richmond – although i’m not sure she was quite at superstar status when she attended Teddington School.

My first local superstar spot was also a double. Back in the late 1990s I found myself sitting in a pizza restaurant in Barnes (can’t remember its name now – it used to be round the corner from Sonny’s, where Rocks Lane meets Castlenau) on a table right next to a really attractive woman with her husband and kids. They were enjoying a casual lunch, just like any other family. After a few moments the penny dropped. It was Yasmin and Simon Le Bon. No-one else in the restaurant seemed to even notice…

And of course Barnes and Richmond is full of TV-types, with many reported spottings of the well known. After a quick Facebook post I find my local friends have seen Amanda Redman, Patricia Hodge, Giles Brandreth, Trevor Macdonald, Philip Glenister, Jane Horrocks and Peter Bowles. To add to that list I have walked past both Peter Snow and his son Dan, as well as Tim Rice.

But surely most well loved lovey must be Richard Attenborough who reportedly lives on Richmond Green… and in terms of rock’n’roll… Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger. I can’t find anyone who’s seen Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the world wide web, but i’m unreliably told by Wikipedia that he lives or lived here. And someone once said they saw Gordon Ramsey running in Richmond Park… but again, I’m not sure he lives here.

Twickenham seems to be the home of comedy. Nick Frost can be regularly seen on Twickenham High Street as can Rob Brydon (who is technically in Strawberry Hill) and since they have young children, in the playgrounds. Strawberry Hill is also home to Keeley Hawes of Ashes to Ashes fame. If you’re interested in knowing more about local Twickers celebs, you should visit the Twickenham Museum website which has a huge list of historical figures including Noel Coward and King Manoel II of Portugal.

Having said all this, it would be fair to say there’s one outright winner in the quest for ‘most famous in Richmond Borough’. No-one else really in his league. He may not have a huge twitter following, but there have been many films and tv series made about him, with a certain amount of focus on his love life, his wealth and his ambition. Unfortunately he is no longer with us… Yes, King Henry VIII who lived at Hampton Court Palace. And honestly, if I saw him in Carluccio’s, I’d certainly stop and stare.

Steve Carson is a local resident and bon-viveur. He contributes to blogs when pressured by his friends.

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