Bolton School head defends Ian McKellen after he says 'I'm not northern'

Ian McKellen

Phillip Britton

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , news feature writer

A HEADMASTER at Bolton School has defended Sir Ian McKellen’s shock confession that he does not class himself as northern.

The Hollywood actor, who starred in The Lord of the Rings and X-Men, spent his early years in the borough before moving to London 50 years ago.

In an interview with the Telegraph on Tuesday, Sir Ian — who just last month wore his old Bolton School tie while being presented with an honorary degree at St Catharine’s College in Cambridge — was quoted as saying: “I certainly wouldn’t define myself as a northerner. I’ve lived in London for 50 years. I wasn’t born here but I have spent most of my life here.

“I don’t go back [to Bolton]. I’ve not got family there so I’ve no reason to do so unless it is for work.”

But Philip Britton, headmaster of the boys’ division at Bolton school, said the 75-year-old, who visited the school four years ago when its McKellen Studio Theatre was unveiled, still holds a “deep affection and appreciation” for his life in Bolton.

At the time, Sir Ian, who was head boy between 1957 and 1958, said: “I remember my days at school vividly and with great affection.

Bolton School has a great tradition in the liberal arts. I've always acted for the love of it and this first love was inspired at Hopefield, the school theatre."

Mr Britton said: “I was delighted to see an article in The Telegraph, a national paper, about the interview with Sir Ian referencing his acting at Bolton School and its impact on his career choices.

"It is great to see Bolton in the news in that positive way.

"In common with many of our former pupils, his life has taken him beyond Bolton and, as time goes on, those direct family links weaken within the area.

"What is very impressive is that so many Alumni, like Sir Ian, retain a deep affection and appreciation for the school and the town without necessarily considering that being ‘northern’.”

A spokesman for Sir Ian is yet to comment.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:43pm Wed 23 Jul 14

mattaiuseire says...

Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman?

If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian...

Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing.

Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item.
Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman? If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian... Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing. Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item. mattaiuseire
  • Score: 29

4:58pm Wed 23 Jul 14

stereo_world says...

mattaiuseire wrote:
Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman?

If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian...

Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing.

Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item.
"Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item."

Pretty much summed that up for me.
[quote][p][bold]mattaiuseire[/bold] wrote: Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman? If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian... Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing. Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item.[/p][/quote]"Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item." Pretty much summed that up for me. stereo_world
  • Score: 12

6:27pm Wed 23 Jul 14

127001 says...

What is it with the BN lately (or the past decade)?

People who say they aren't normal
Mr. Khan who changed a letter in the name of his baby
A man who offered George Osbourne a pasty
Helen Flanagan
Big Brother
Helen Wood
People who can't take a joke
Writing one sided stories to suit agendas...

I could go on.
What is it with the BN lately (or the past decade)? People who say they aren't normal Mr. Khan who changed a letter in the name of his baby A man who offered George Osbourne a pasty Helen Flanagan Big Brother Helen Wood People who can't take a joke Writing one sided stories to suit agendas... I could go on. 127001
  • Score: 10

6:28pm Wed 23 Jul 14

127001 says...

the first point should say 'northern'.
the first point should say 'northern'. 127001
  • Score: 1

11:56pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Taki1940 says...

Sir Ian seemed simply to say that he was himself. Much of the reaction to this story belies a readiness to be offended.
Sir Ian seemed simply to say that he was himself. Much of the reaction to this story belies a readiness to be offended. Taki1940
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Thu 24 Jul 14

nigella farrage says...

mattaiuseire wrote:
Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman? If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian... Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing. Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item.
Did you know that Spike Milligan was Asian, and proud of the fact, as he was born in India?

Or do you often play pool or snooker - and game that was invented in Asia (in fact in the Pakistan region of India - before it separated)!!!

Also those who live in bungalow don't relaise it but the word is of Asian origin!!!
[quote][p][bold]mattaiuseire[/bold] wrote: Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman? If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian... Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing. Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item.[/p][/quote]Did you know that Spike Milligan was Asian, and proud of the fact, as he was born in India? Or do you often play pool or snooker - and game that was invented in Asia (in fact in the Pakistan region of India - before it separated)!!! Also those who live in bungalow don't relaise it but the word is of Asian origin!!! nigella farrage
  • Score: -1

6:35pm Thu 24 Jul 14

JustBecause says...

nigella farrage wrote:
mattaiuseire wrote:
Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman? If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian... Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing. Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item.
Did you know that Spike Milligan was Asian, and proud of the fact, as he was born in India?

Or do you often play pool or snooker - and game that was invented in Asia (in fact in the Pakistan region of India - before it separated)!!!

Also those who live in bungalow don't relaise it but the word is of Asian origin!!!
Shut up you fool.
[quote][p][bold]nigella farrage[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mattaiuseire[/bold] wrote: Born in Burnley, lived in Wigan & Bolton, but doesn't see himself as a Northern Englishman? If he was born in Burnley but lived in Pakistan for 50 years I'm sure he wouldn't 'define' himself as Asian... Ahh well each to their own, I do see his point, but it's almost as if the article is making out as though he has shun his childhood upbringing. Then again his words were probably taken well out of context in order to create another nonsense news item.[/p][/quote]Did you know that Spike Milligan was Asian, and proud of the fact, as he was born in India? Or do you often play pool or snooker - and game that was invented in Asia (in fact in the Pakistan region of India - before it separated)!!! Also those who live in bungalow don't relaise it but the word is of Asian origin!!![/p][/quote]Shut up you fool. JustBecause
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree