What’s Abingdon’s secret?

What is it about the seemingly quiet Oxfordshire market town of Abingdon? Not only is it a beautiful place to live – particularly in autumn – but it also punches way beyond its weight when it comes to creativity.

Off the top of my head, here’s a roll-call of people currently prominent in the arts and media who were born or educated in Abingdon. There may be others I’ve forgotten. Apologies, if so. 

Tom Hollander (actor), who effortlessly stole the show in the recent wonderful TV drama, Us. Also great in Rev.

David Mitchell (comedian, actor and writer), famous for Upstart Crow, Peep Show, and for being one half of Mitchell and Webb. Also king of comedy quizzes.

All five members of Radiohead (a popular music combo, m’lud) of Paranoid Android fame, and many others.

John Spiers (musician), member of the now disbanded folk band, Bellowhead

Tom Richards, (musician) saxophonist with Jamie Cullum’s band.

Michael Bartlett (playwright, film and TV screenwriter), creator of the award-winning Doctor Foster on TV, Olivier Award-winning play King Charles III and many others.

Paul Mayhew-Archer – TV comedy co-scriptwriter of The Vicar of Dibley and creator of many other bits of funniness, recent stand-up comedian and even more recent MBE.

Simon Mayhew-Archer – producer of the spot-on TV comedy spoof, This Country.

Kate Garraway (TV presenter) on Good Morning Britain.

Not a bad line-up for a town of just 36,000 people. But why? Are Abingdonians just naturally creative? Or is there something in the Thames water? 

And now me. Not that I am comparing myself with any of these hugely talented people – though maybe I am, just a little bit!