Catherine Zeta Jones

Catherine Zeta Jones

To celebrate ITV Studios Home Entertainment’s fantastic Christmas DVD box set collection (including classics such as Prime Suspect, Jeeves & Wooster, Darling Buds of May and The Catherine Cookson Collection) we’ve taken a look at stars past and present - unearthing some modern-day stars with very humble beginnings. There’s hope for us all!

1) Catherine Zeta Jones
Although Catherine Zeta Jones began acting in her local theatre, she found her breakthrough role in playing Mariette Larkin in The Darling Buds of May at the tender age of 22. 

Jones has seen gone on to become a Hollywood A-lister, married to A List resident Michael Douglas and acting with someone of the biggest film stars including Sean Connery, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Liam Neeson, Tom Hanks, and Billy Crystal, in such films as The Mask of Zorro, America’s Sweethearts, The Haunting, Intolerable Cruelty and Chicago, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe under the same title.

As well as enjoying several BAFTA nominations and a Tony award for Best Leading Actress.

2) Jeremy Irons
Early on in his career Jeremy Irons graced our screens as Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited, and saw his career take off after the success of the TV programme and has since become one our most beloved actors.

After playing the penniless Oxford student Irons has enjoyed several leading roles in several major movie titles such as Aramis in The Man in the Iron Mask, Humbert in Lolita, Simon Gruber in Die Hard: With A Vengeance, and the voice of Scar in The Lion King.

Irons’ repertoire also includes hosting the extremely popular Saturday Night Live, and joining the cast in the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and The Pink Panther 2. 

As well as starring in his films Irons has also managed to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in The Reversal of Fortune and receive two BAFTA nominations for his roles in Brideshead Revisited and The French Lieutenants Woman.

3) Ralph Fiennes

In 1991 Ralph Fiennes played Michael in that year’s Prime Suspect. Today he has won himself a BAFTA for Supporting Actor in Schindlers List and been nominated for a further three. He has also enjoyed two nominations for Academy Awards for The English Patient and Schindlers List.

As well as starring in 11 blockbuster movies in the last 20 years. Fiennes, who has featured in Wuthering Heights (as Heathcliffe!) Wallace and Gromit; the curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Hurt Locker, In Bruges, Cemetery Junction , The Reader, and Clash of the Titans, is perhaps currently best known for his part in Harry Potter playing the infamous Voldemort, a name that strikes fear in the hearts of...well...everyone!  

4) Sean Bean
One of Sean Bean’s first acting roles was as the evil Dominic O'Brien in Catherine Cookson's The Fifteen Streets. 

Shortly afterwards, he became infamous for his raunchy sex scenes opposite Joely Richardson in Lady Chatterley where he played groundskeeper Mellors, before consolidating his heartthrob status as a maverick soldier fighting in the Napoleonic War in the hugely popular TV series Sharpe. 

Since then he has had major roles in numerous Hollywood movies, including Troy, The Island, National Treasure, Golden Eye and these days is best known for his role as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

5) David Thewlis

Back in 1993, David Thewlis joined a cast that included Helen Mirren, Mark Strong and Jonny Lee Miller to play a sexual predator named James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3.  

Since then he has had major roles in scores of television projects and movies including Seven Years in Tibet with Brad Pitt, The Island of Dr. Moreau with Leonardo DiCaprio, and The Big Lebowski and is most famous for starring as Professor Lupin in five of the Harry Potter flms.