Actor claims Penrith is “just about worst place you could hope to live”

Date: Saturday 15th November 2003

ACTOR Charlie Hunnam has caused outrage by claiming in a magazine article that Penrith was “just about the worst place you could hope to live”.

Now a Hollywood hunk, 23-year-old Charlie has had a meteoric rise to fame since being spotted in a shoe shop by a children’s television program maker. This year he took the lead role in the film Nicholas Nickleby, and is starring in the forthcoming Cold Mountain film with Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Renée Zellweger.

In an interview with celebrity gossip magazine Now, he recalls his days as a schoolboy in Penrith. He said: “They hated me from the second I got there up until the second I left. I made only one friend, who was also a reject.

“He only had one arm because he’d been in a horrible accident when he was young. Everyone hated him as well. It was a dead end kind of existence,” said Charlie.

As a result, he said he just fell in love with films and spent all his time at home watching them. That was until he was 18 and he thought: “God, there has to be more to life than this.”

Originally from Jesmond, near Newcastle, he moved to Little Salkeld, near Penrith, with his mother, Jane, and older brother, Billy. His two younger brothers were born after the move to Eden.

Charlie attended Penrith’s Ullswater Community College and then Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, before leaving to study performing arts at college in Carlisle. More recently the family lived at Melmerby, before moving south.

He got his big break while shopping in the centre of Newcastle. He was spotted by a production manager from Byker Grove and subsequently invited to join the cast. He then shot to fame as a gay schoolboy in the Channel 4 drama Queer as Folk, and has been making waves in the acting world since moving to live in Los Angeles four years ago.

Having appeared on the American television show Undeclared and then alongside Dawson’s Creek star Katie Holmes in the movie thriller Abandon, he is this year being tipped for fame after his recent screen successes.

In an interview with the Herald, in October, 1998, when he was 18, he said he enjoyed spending time away from city life and taking a step back from his hectic daily routine in Eden.