Russell Grant: My Favourite Places
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Russell Grant found fame in the Eighties as an astrologer before branching out into other areas of TV including Russell Grant’s Postcards for Channel 5, and The Russell Grant Show for Sky One. His success on Strictly Come Dancing has seen him move into musicals over the last few years, with runs in Grease and The Wizard of Oz. He’s currently appearing in Peter Pan at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.
My dad lives in Denham and I was raised in that corner where Middlesex meets Buckinghamshire, so I’m very familiar with Chesham. I love walking around here, especially now I’ve lost 11 stone in weight since 2009. People think it’s from Celebrity Fit Club but that show was a disaster for me. My weight went up by 5 stones after the show, I had two heart attacks and cancer. I’d been looking after my Nan who had Alzheimers and when she died I let myself go and got very depressed. I’ve lost the weight by changing my diet and I suppose using more willpower and doing more walking around.
St Mary’s Churchyard, Henley on Thames
I spent a lovely afternoon in Henley a few years ago, it’s a gorgeous little town. I came here specifically to find Dusty Springfield’s grave and pay homage. I thought she was the greatest star ever, so I went to find it and lay a few flowers there for her.
Christchurch Great Hall
I came to Oxford when I did my Postcard series on Channel 5, and it’s a city to-die-for. I remember going into the great hall at Christchurch College and thinking how utterly amazing it was. Then I went to the covered market and remember being confronted with the sausage stall. I’m not sure if it’s still there but it’s stuck in my mind ever since. Two very different memories!
My mother used to live in Brackley – she’s 85 now, bless her – and worked in Banbury so I know the town a little. There’s a lovely little museum in Banbury that focuses on North Oxfordshire that I thought was very charming.
My family on my grandfather’s side all came from Steeple Claydon, way back in the 16th century. But my granddad was born in Kentish town, so the family had at some point moved to London. I only found out about it in the 1990s when my family tree was researched as a Christmas present for me. I went to visit Steeple Claydon a few year ago now – a lovely sleepy village with that fabulous high-steepled church.