Celebrities in the area
Pauline Quirke became famous during the popular 1990s comedy series 'Birds Of A Feather'. However, more recently she appeared in series 1 and 2 of the detective drama Broadchurch as the creepy caravan owner, Susan Wright. During the filming, Pauline fell in love with West Bay and bought a penthouse apartment here in 2014.
P. J. Harvey
Polly, the well known singer / songwriter 'Rock Chick' lives in the West Bay area. She has been prominent since the early 1990s, releasing a number of CDs, currently recording on the Island label. P.J. Harvey is a quiet person by nature, but rejects the notion that her songs are an autobiography of her life. She is the first music artist to be awarded the Mercury Prize (album of the year) twice, initially in 2001 then ten years later in 2011. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2013 for services to music.
Martin Clunes had lived in Powerstock, but has since moved to a small farm on the outskirts of Beaminster. Friendly off-screen and originally becoming known in the 1990s sit-com, 'Men Behaving Badly', he has more recently appeared as 'Doc Martin' in the Cornwall based series, completely at odds with his natural character. He also holds an annual charity event on his farm called 'Buckham Fair'.
Mark grew up in the West Bay and Bridport area, attending Sir John Colfox school before moving on to Weymouth College. At this time he had the fortune of being able to exercise his culinary skills at the Bridport Arms. Later, he moved to London, spending 17 years as chef director for Caprice Holdings, a company owning many of London's top restaurants, including 'The Ivy'. In 2006, it was rumoured that he was in talks with Arthur Watson to buy West Bay's Riverside Restaurant. However, Mark Hix has recently purchased a seafood restaurant in Lyme Regis. Mark is the son of the late Ernie Hix, who organised the annual RNLI Raft Race at West Bay, but sadly died on 5th August 2006.
Chris has lived in Bridport since around 2004. He wrote the ITV drama 'Broadchurch' starring David Tennant and featuring West Bay as the fictional town of Broadchurch, a storyline he worked on in his back garden in Bridport. He also wrote 'Life on Mars', 'Torchwood', 'Law & Order UK', 'Born & Bred' together with episodes of 'Dr Who' and is a member of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.
Fiona was born, Julia Harrison, the daughter of a local vicar and attended a school in Toller Porcorum (closed in the 1980s), completing her senior education at Sir John Colfox school. Fiona was a well known 'soft porn' star in the late 1960s / early 1970s. She was believed to have owned an apartment in or around Chesil House in West Bay. Her bright yellow 'E Type' Jaguar with the registration 'FU 2' was often seen in the area.
David spent his retirement years in the West Bay area, sadly passing away in April 2007. He was a TV scriptwriter and author. His breakthrough came in the 1960s, scriptwriting for the TV police series of 'Z Cars'. During the 1970s, David was heavily involved in the BBC 'Doctor Who' series and co-invented the famous robot dog, 'K 9'. The original concept of Harbour Lights was also by David Martin.
Keith was the original flamboyant TV celebrity chef in the 1980s. Some of his first TV series was filmed in the West Bay and Bridport areas, using the kitchens of 'The George' in South Street, Bridport and was a frequent visitor to the Riverside. Keith Floyd sadly died in Bridport on 14th September 2009 while settling down to watch a TV documentary of himself on Channel 4. He had been staying with long term friend Celia Martin, widow of David Martin (see above) at the time of his death.
Born, Stephen William Bragg, Billy now lives in Burton Bradstock near Hive Beach. Probably best known for his punk and political music, in the mid 1980s Billy Bragg wrote the song: 'A New England', sung by the late Kirsty MacColl.
Nancy Wigginton, better known as Nan Winton was the first woman to read the news on BBC television in 1958. In 1960 she began reading the 6pm news and weekend bulletins on Sunday evenings. However, some viewers thought a woman reading the late news was not acceptable and she was removed from the role in 1961. Nan Winton lived in Pymore Lane, Bridport and died on 11th May 2019 at the age of 93 following a series of falls at her home.
Fiona purchased a cottage in Seatown a few years ago, but more recently has bought a cottage in Burton Bradstock through auction. Since 1997, she has been a presenter on the early morning 'GMTV' show, retiring in December 2008.
Ronnie had owned a holiday cottage in Beaminster. He obtained his inspiration for the 1970/80s comedy series 'Open All Hours' from a small hardware shop in nearby Crewkerne, Somerset where he went to buy boiled sweets (bull's eyes). He had lived in Pinner, Middlesex for many years, moving to the Cotswolds in later life. Ronnie Barker died in 2005 at 76 years of age.