Outstanding people from Luton.


Monty Panesar

(born Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, 25 April 1982 in Luton, Bedfordshire), is an English cricketer. A left-arm spinner, Panesar plays Test and ODI cricket for England, and county cricket for Northamptonshire. He is the 631st capped player for England, with the number 46 on his ODI shirt, he is People’s Champion for the Love Luton campaign.

"I am happy to have grown up here, it is an area to be proud of and a place where you can realise your dreams and fulfil your potential".




Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys

British geneticist and inventor of genetic fingerprinting


“I'm very much a Lutonian, having been raised in the town that launched me as a scientist thanks largely to the great education I received here. Luton is a place of re-invention, from hats to cars to hi-tech business, with a dynamic and diverse populace who are proud of Luton's history and future and who deserve to be citizens of the City of Luton."



Elizabeth Price

An artist who grew up in Luton, has won the 2012 Turner Prize. She said being nominated had brought her work to a wider audience and the money would allow her to "carry on working and make new ambitious things". Price praised her education at a comprehensive school, Putteridge High School, in Luton.

It's incredibly depressing listening to the comments people made earlier that a young girl from Luton going to a comprehensive might not be able to imagine being an artist and might not have the opportunities I've had.


David Arnold

(born January 23, 1962) is a Grammy Award-winning English film composer, best known for scoring five James Bond films, the blockbuster Independence Day and cult television show Little Britain.

He has collaborated with such musical acts as The Cardigans, Kaiser Chiefs, Massive Attack, and Pulp, and solo artists Natasha Bedingfield, Björk, Chris Cornell, Shirley Manson and Mark Morriss(The Bluetones). In 2001, he provided a new arrangement of Ron Grainer's Doctor Who theme music for a series of audio dramas from Big Finish Productions.





John Badham

(born August 25, 1939) is a film director. Though born in the United Kingdom (in Luton, Bedfordshire), John Badham was raised in the state of Alabama in the U.S. As well as numerous film credits, Badham has also directed and produced for TV, including credits for Rod Serling's Night Gallery.



Danny Cannon

(born 1968, in Luton, England) is a film and television screenwriter, director and producer.

He began making films at the age of 16 in 1984, and started a youth experimental theatre group at 33 Arts Centre. Using the centre's facilities, he was a very prolific director of video dramas and collaborated with a number of other directors in different roles including cameraman. A major influence was the centre's video maker, Dermot Byrne with whom he worked on a number of projects. It was at 33 that he met the future film composer David Arnold who played in a band that rehearsed there. Danny convinced David that he could compose soundtracks for his and other people's videos. David's first but not the last soundtrack for Dermot was 'The Undead' written by Keith Moyes. By 1987 he was awarded the BBC Young Filmmaker of the Year Award for a 40-minute short called Sometimes. He enrolled at the National Film and Television School in 1988, from which he graduated in 1990.


Kerry Michael Dixon

(born 24 July 1961, in Luton) is a retired English professional footballer who played most notably for Chelsea and England.




Arthur Hailey

(born on April 5 1920) at Luton, the son of George Hailey a factory worker, and his wife Elsie, Arthur began his writing career early, producing poems, plays and short stories. By the time Arthur Hailey died at his home in the Bahamas aged 84, he was one of the most commercially successful authors of all time. Having produced 11 books,which had sold more than 150 million copies, in 40 languages, and had brought him tens of millions of dollars, even though much of it was from his role as the inventor of the disaster movie.





Sarfraz Manzoor

is a journalist, author and broadcaster. He is currently employed by The Guardian but his writing has been featured in, amongst others, Esquire, Prospect, The New Statesman, The Observer and Index on Censorship. 

His television credits include writing and presenting ‘Luton Actually’ for the BBC and ‘The Great British
Asian Invasion’ for Channel 4. As a commentator he has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes including ‘Question Time’, ‘The Moral Maze’, ‘The Heaven and Earth Show’, ‘The Moral of the Story’, the ‘Today’ programme and ‘Newsnight Review’. He is a familiar voice on Radio 4; recent documentaries include a profile of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, a programme exploring Muslim humour and a forthcoming programme on John Lennon. . He is also an occasional presenter and panellist on ‘Saturday Review’. In addition to Radio 4 Sarfraz has also presented on 5 Live and Radio 2. 

Prior to his broadcasting career Sarfraz Manzoor was a deputy commissioning editor at Channel 4 which he joined after 5 years as producer and reporter on Channel 4 News. His critically acclaimed memoir ‘Greetings from Bury Park’ was published in the UK in June and will be published in the US in April 2008. 




John Payne

A British musician who was lead singer and bassist of Asia from 1992 to 2006 and from June 2007 with Asia Featuring John Payne. When asked to join Asia by Geoff Downes, he had to learn the bass guitar fast, including all of Asia's hits. While Payne was in the band, they released over 15 albums. He is also a guitarist, composer and record producer.




David Renwick

Was born on 4 September 1951.  He went to school in Luton before studying journalism at Harlow Technical College. In the early 1970s, he got a job as a reporter / sub-editor on the Luton News. 

After becoming disenchanted with journalism, he began sending comedy sketches to broadcasters. This enabled some of his work to be commissioned, whilst still holding down his newspaper job.  Renwick started writing more and more for radio and television, and went into a partnership with Andrew Marshall. It was this partnership, that wrote works such as The Burkiss Way, Whoops Apocalypse, and Alexei Sayle's Stuff.  However, David Renwick's best known work, One Foot in the Grave, and Jonathan Creek, are series for which he was the solo creator and writer. 


Colin Salmon

(born December 6, 1962) is an English actor known for playing the fictional character Charles Robinson in three James Bond films. He is highly noted for his distinguishable and strong voice and his height (standing at 6'4"). Salmon was born in Luton, Bedfordshire, England, the son of Sylvia Ivy Brundenell Salmon, a nurse. He attended Putteridge and Ashcroft High School. He is a supporter of Luton town fc Salmon married Fiona Hawthorne in 1988; the two have four children. Salmon has recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bedfordshire for services to media.


William Schwer

(born 12 April 1969 in Luton, England) more commonly known as Billy Schwer, is a former professional boxer from Luton in Bedfordshire, England. For the majority of his professional career, Schwer fought in the lightweight division but also competed in the light welterweight division. He is the former British, Commonwealth and European lightweight and the IBO light welterweight title holder.




Paul Young

Paul together a musician, was raised in Luton. Paul had a passion for music from a “young” age, when he learned to play the piano and then guitar, and it wasn’t long before he played bass in his first band. This was with Kat Kool and the Kool Kats. Paul left school to work with his father at Vauxhall Motors and continued to play with bands in the evenings.  Paul’s voice soon developed and he joined North London’s Streetband, singing on their two albums. It was here that he became known for that famous song we all love “Toast”!  In 1985, Paul’s appearance on Live Aid at the Wembley Arena was a performance we will never forget. This has been followed by several outstanding songs, finishing with an appearance in the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert singing “Radio Gaga”.  After ten years solo career Paul reformed The Q Tips for three concerts in the UK in 1993. It was in this year that his new album “The Crossing” was released in Europe, followed by “Reflections” in 1994. His music career continues right up to today.


With thanks to our Love Luton partners: 

Arriva; A Thin Place; Barnfield College; British Land;  easyJet; FCC Environment; Gulfstream; Heart FM;  Keepmoat;  London Luton Airport; Luton Borough Council; Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa;  Luton on Sunday; The Mall; Signature Flight Support; University of Bedfordshire; Vauxhall Motors; VolkerFitzpatrick and  VolkerHighways.