With its stunning coastline and thriving nightlife, Bournemouth has been home to a surprising number of celebrities. If the town had its own wall of fame, these actors, musicians, comedians and sporting stars would definitely top the list:

Christian Bale

The Oscar winning actor and star of The Dark Knight and American Psycho attended Bournemouth School until the age of 16. He earned a reputation as a method actor after he lost 63 pounds for his role in The Machinist and has been recently nominated for his second Oscar for his leading role in American Hustle.

Tony Hancock

One of Britain’s best-known comedians and actors was brought up in Bournemouth where his father worked as an entertainer at the Railway Hotel in Holdenhurst Road. He was educated at Durlston Court, but left school at 15. His popular show Hancock's Half Hour is now a British comedy classic.

Bournemouth Echo: Tony Hancock

Alex James 

Best known for playing the bass with the band Blur and claims to have spent more than a million pounds on champagne and cocaine. He attended Bournemouth School, before going to Goldsmiths College in London where he met Graham Coxon, who was a fellow founding member of Blur.

Bournemouth Echo: Alex James

J.R.R Tolkien

The legendary creator of Middle Earth spent the final part of his life in Bournemouth accompanied by his wife Edith. He had previously come on holiday to the seaside town every summer for 30 years, always staying at the same room in Hotel Miramar. He lived in a house off Branksome Chine from the 1960s until his death in 1973.

Bournemouth Echo:

Jane Goodall

World-renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr Jane Goodall grew up in a Bournemouth before starting her 45-year study of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. Her passion for the world sprouted in the backyard of her childhood home where she climbed her beech tree and made elderberry wine with her grandmother.

Bournemouth Echo: ‘MASSIVE SUFFERING’: Jane Goodall

Tony Blackburn

The Radio One legend is perhaps best-known for broadcasting on the "pirate" stations Radio Caroline and Radio London in the 1960s and was the first DJ to broadcast on BBC Radio One in 1967. His family moved to Bournemouth when he was three-years-old and he spent several years living in Lilliput.

Bournemouth Echo: Tony Blackburn 2.jpg

Bill Bryson

The best-selling American author spent two-years working as a sub-editor for the Bournemouth Echo and wrote about his experiences in Notes from a Small Island. In 2005 he received an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University and has taken an active role in the Streets of Bournemouth project.


Bournemouth Echo:

Jamie Redknapp

Retired midfielder and Sky Sports pundit, Jamie started his professional career at the age of 16 at AFC Bournemouth and made 13 appearances for the club before attracting the attention of Liverpool. He gained 17 England caps between and has a house in Branksome Park which he shares with his wife Louise.

Bournemouth Echo:

Gareth Malone

Presenter of the BAFTA-award-winning TV series The Choir, the musically-gifted Gareth Malone was educated at Bournemouth School and sang with the Symphony Chorus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He was given an OBE in the 2012 Birthday Honours list for his services to music.

Bournemouth Echo: RECRUITING: Gareth Malone

Freddie Mills

World light heavyweight champion Freddie Mills was described as Britain's biggest boxing idol in the post-war period. Born in 1919 as the youngest of four children, he attended St Michael’s School in Bournemouth and spent much of his earlier life in the area.

Bournemouth Echo:

Max Bygraves

The comedian, singer and actor made twenty Royal Variety Performances and presented numerous programmes including Family Fortunes. He lived in Alum Chine in Bournemouth for many years before retiring to Australia in 2008, but sadly passed away in 2012.

Bournemouth Echo:

Amanda Holden

Now famous for her role as a judge on the ITV talent show, Britain’s Got Talent, Amanda has also starred in Wild at Heart and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for her title performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie. She moved to Bournemouth at the age of 16 and studied drama at Bournemouth and Poole College.

Bournemouth Echo: POPULAR: Amanda Holden catches up on the news at Castlepoint yesterday

Know of someone we've missed? place a comment below or email jennifer.awford@bournemouthecho.co.uk