15 famous faces you (probably) didn’t know went to these Leeds universities

From MPs to Hollywood actors and everything in between.

There’s quite a few famous faces that have graced Leeds Beckett and Uni of Leeds’ campuses over the years, including Hollywood actors, politicians, musicians and more.

Whilst there’s plenty more Leeds university alumni to be uncovered, we’ve picked 15 faces from across Leeds’ universities that you might not have known spent time studying for their degrees in our city…

Image: Bastille, Facebook
Dan Smith. / Image: Wikicommons

BRIT award winner and lead singer of Bastille, Dan Smith studied English (2007) at the University of Leeds and will be returning this year to play a set at Millennium Square to celebrate 10 years of debut album Bad Blood.

Emma Mackey. / Image: Emma Mackey, Instagram
Chris Pine. / Image: Wikicommons

Sex Education and Barbie actress Emma Mackey (2016) and Hollywood actor Chris Pine both also attended the university.

Pine completed a year abroad at the university, and recently admitted on radio that he had a go at the infamous Otley Run during his stint living on Brudenell Road, saying “I don’t remember much of it but yes I have done it.”

Keir Starmer.
Keir Starmer. / Image: Wikicommons
Alastair Campbell.
Alastair Campbell. / Image: Wikicommons

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer also studied at the university, as well as former Government Whip Alastair Campbell, who got his PGCE in the city.

Ricky Wilson. / Image: Kaiser Chiefs
ALT-J. / Image: Wikicommons

Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson completed a Graphic Arts & Design honours degree (2000) in the first few years of the band’s beginning, going on to shoot to fame just five years later when I Predict A Riot became a must-download track for the nation.

Similarly, members of alt-indie band Alt-J also met whilst studying Fine Art and English Literature (2007).

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. / Image: The Brownlee Brothers, Facebook

Sportswise, we’re not short of athletes from the local area, but perhaps most notably the Brownlee brothers have become known as one of the university’s most successful alumni.

Alistair Brownlee MBE studied Sports Science and Physiology (2009) and Jonny Brownlee MBE, History (2012) and both brothers received an LLD in 2013.

Josh Warrington. / Image: Josh Warrington, Facebook
Michael Lawrence. / Image: Leeds Beckett University

Former IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington reportedly studied Dental Technology (2013) and in the world of rugby, Leeds Beckett University saw no less than fourteen students, graduates, and members of staff taking part in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, including BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science student and Leeds Rhinos player Keara Bennett and Jamaica captain Michael Lawrence, who graduated with a degree in Sports Coaching.

Jay Rayner.
Jay Rayner. / Image: Jay Rayner, Instagram

Jay Rayner studied Political Studies (1987) and recently revisited the city to review MorMor’s residency at Kino as well as heading back to Leeds Kirkgate Markets to grab a mackrel sarnie from Mr Mackrel, ‘the best £5 you can spend on lunch anywhere in Leeds’ according to the food critic.

Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine. / Image: My Dad Wrote A Porno, Twitter

Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine, hosts of My Dad Wrote A Porno first met at the University of Leeds and came together to produce a six seasoned podcast that has been downloaded over 430 million times since first airing in 2015.

Feature Image – Wikicommons / Instagram

Which famous faces should we add to our Leeds alumni list? Let us know by sending a message to @thehootleeds on Twitter.

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