Manchester Metropolitan University has churned out some incredible talent over the years, with hundred of notable and recognisable alumni. If you’re a current student, or thinking of going to MMU, know that you’re in good company. After all, you never know which of your fellow students might be the next big thing. From actors to comedians, and artists to activists, here are 12 of Manchester Metropolitan University’s most notable alumni.

1. Dame Julie Walters

Julie Walters is a notable alumni from Manchester Metropolitan University
Source: Flickr

You’ve probably seen Julie Walters in many things. She starred as Molly Weasley in Harry Potter films, Rosie in Mamma Mia, Mrs. Bird in the Paddington movies, and many more blockbusters. Arguably Manchester Metropolitan University’s most notable alumni, Julie Walters described her training there as ‘the most wonderful ways to learn‘.

2. Vernon Kay

vernon kay - manchester metropolitan university notable alumni
Source: Instagram

Model-turned-presenter, Vernon Kay is known for being the face of Channel 4’s T4 and All Star Family Fortunes and starring in I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in 2020. Kay is also married to Tess Daley, known for presenting Strictly Come Dancing. Surprisingly, he didn’t study anything related to the entertainment industry at Manchester Metropolitan University. Instead, Vernon Kay received a degree in Environmental Science from MMU, making him another notable alumni to add to the list.

3. Steve Coogan

Steve Coogan is an MMU alumni
Source: Flickr

The BAFTA and Academy Award nominee is one of the most recognisable and notable alumni from MMU. Steve Coogan is otherwise known as Alan Partridge and has also starred in Despicable Me, Stan & Ollie alongside many other roles.

4. John Bishop

john bishop mmu alumni
Source: Instagram

Despite his renowned Scouse accent, the Liverpool comedian earned his Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Manchester Metropolitan University. John Bishop also studied Social Science at undergraduate level there too. Today, he’s among the most prolific alumni from MMU in the world of stand-up comedy, as well as his impressive charity fundraising.

5. Sarah Burton OBE

Sarah Burton is the current creative director of Alexander McQueen, who designed the wedding dress of Kate Middleton. One of the most famous dresses of this century, her work will be remembered in the history of the British Royal Family, and the fashion industry more widely. You might say that Kate Middleton, future Queen, owes her stunning wedding look to MMU, where Sarah Burton studied Foundation Art. Like Bishop, she later received an Honorary Doctor of Arts.

6. LS Lowry

The Lowry Hotel
Source: Canva

The artist known for depicting working-class Salford and Manchester in his paintings. Oh and there’s also a luxurious hotel, gallery and theatre named after him today in Salford Quays. LS Lowry captured the industrial landscapes and mills of Manchester in the late 19th and early 20th century. He studied Art at Manchester School of Art, which is now part of MMU and makes him a pretty impressive alumni.

7. Sylvia Pankhurst

Sylvia Pankhurst

Just two years before LS Lowry studied Art, the daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, Sylvia, also studied Art at MMU. Sylvia Pankhurst and her mother are both iconic for paving the way for feminism and forwarding the Suffragette movement. As an artist, Sylvia Pankhurst’s work exhibited at one of London’s free museums – Tate Modern in 2013, and continues to be noteworthy. For any art students at MMU, just know that you’re in the place that nurtured notable alumni, LS Lowry and Sylvia Pankhurst. That has to be inspiring?

8. Steven Bartlett

Steven Bartlett manchester metropolitan university notable alumni
Source: WikiCommons

Steve Bartlett is one of the faces of Dragon’s Den, the voice of The Diary of a CEO and the brains (or part brains as a co-founder) behind Social Chain. Ok so considering him a notable alumni of Manchester Metropolitan University is a bit controversial. Bartlett dropped out after one lecture, however you never know how much that one lecture inspired him. By his net worth, he’s definitely been successful.

9. Zawe Ashton

Zawe Ashton mmu alumni
Source: Instagram

One of the most diverse actresses out there, Zawe Ashton has starred in Fresh Meat, Not Safe for Work, Velvet Buzzsaw and the upcoming The Marvels. Manchester Metropolitan University might be able to claim her fame, given it’s where she trained in Drama.

10. John Bradley-West

John Bradley-West manchester metropolitan university notable alumni
Source: Instagram

Just three months after graduating from MMU, John Bradley-West landed the role of Samwell Tarly on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Bradley-West’s comedy value is clearly Northern, where he received a BA in acting at MMU. As if GOT wasn’t big enough, he then went on to star alongside JLo and Owen Wilson in Marry Me.

11. Heather Peace

Heather Peace - manchester metropolitan university notable alumni
Source: Instagram

An all-round talent, Heather Peace is a musician, actress and LGTB activist. She played Ali in Coronation Street, but is best known for her roles in Lip Service and Waterloo Road. Most recently, Peace played Stacey Slater’s (Lacey Turner) wife, Eve Unwin in Eastenders. Her dramatic skills were founded at MMU, where she studied a BA in acting, and place her in our list of Manchester Metropolitan University’s notable alumni.

12. Bernard Hill

Bernard Hill
Source: Flickr

From the captain in Titanic to King Théoden in The Lord of the Rings, Bernard Hill’s acting skills are wide-ranging. To date, he’s the only actor to have appeared in three films awarded 11 Oscars, so you know he’s pretty talented. Like many other notable alumni from Manchester Metropolitan University, Bernard Hill trained in Manchester and moved on to Hollywood – well at least while making films.

13. Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh manchester metropolitan university notable alumni
Source: MMU

The Oscar-winning actress from Everything Everywhere All At Once studied at acting at MMU. She studied and graduated with a BA(Hons) Creative Arts in 1983, which has clearly served her well. Michelle Yeoh is not only an Manchester Metropolitan University notable alumni, she’s the first South East Asian winner to win an Oscar for Best Actress. In her acceptance speech, she drew on her roots, and reminded kids that ‘dreams do come true’.

So Manchester Metropolitan University has some pretty famous alumni, from noteworthy actors to important activists. Whether you’re an MMU drama or art student, or earning a degree in environmental science (like Vernon), you could be destined for the stars! But despite MMU churning out so many stars, it’s not the most common uni when it comes to where the rich and famous studied!

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