Here’s your guide to the top 10 stars of stage and screen who came from – or spent much of their life – in Ayrshire. We’ve listed some of their best known roles.

1. Daniela Nardini

Born 1968, Largs.

Irvine Times:

Daniela, part of the family famed for their ice cream parlour in her home town, shot to fame in the late 90s drama This Life. She played lawyer Anna in the BBC 2 show, which captured the Cool Britannia ethos with lots of wild parties, casual sex and drug taking. It soon became a word-of-mouth hit and Daniela starred in 32 episodes over two series.

2. Kirsty Wark

Born 1955, Dumfries.

Irvine Times:

Kirsty was educated at Kilmarnock Grammar Primary before attending Ayr’s Wellington School. Starting at the BBC in 1976 she soon became a radio producer before moving into TV. Before long she was fronting Reporting Scotland and she has been one of the leading lights of Newsnight since 1993 as well as a host of other shows.

3. John Sessions

Born 1953 in Largs.

Irvine Times:

The actor and comedian became famous in the 80s for his improv work on Whose Line Is It Anyway and provided many of the voices on hit show Spitting Image. As an actor, he starred in the acclaimed Porterhouse Blue, as well as the 90s comedy Stella Street. He died in November 2020 aged 67.

4. Lily Aspell

Born 2007 in Kilmarnock.

Irvine Times:

The Irvine-based girl is the youngest on our list – by some way. She played the young Wonder Woman in the 2017 movie and reprised the role in the sequel Wonder Woman 1984 which was released recently. A keen rider, she is the niece of two time Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell and has a bright future ahead of her.

5. Ronni Ancona

Born 1968, Troon.

Irvine Times:

Ronni is famed for her impressions, but has also starred in a range of comedy dramatic roles. She appeared John Sessions in Stella Street before, er, impressing on her own TV show. She was most recently seen on screen in last year’s season of Last Tango in Halifax.

6. Rab Affleck

Born 1953, Irvine

Irvine Times:

You’ll know his face. Former boxer Big Rab has appeared in everything from Monarch of the Glen to Stardust, to Kick Ass to the Martin Scorsese epic Gangs of New York (where he was leader of The Plug Uglies). With parts in Doctor Who and, most recently, The Outlaw King, which was partly filmed in his native Ayrshire, his resume takes some beating.

7. Gwyneth Guthrie

Born 1937, Ayr

Irvine Times:

Actress Gwyneth has starred in many films and TV shows over the years, but will forever be known as the fearsome battleaxe Mrs Mack. She first appeared in the role in Take The High Road in the early 80s and remained a beloved member of the cast for years. Now 83 and living in Dundonald, she was delighted to find out the show was now being repeated on the STV Player.

8. Karen Dunbar

Born 1971, Ayr

Irvine Times:

She comedienne became famous for her sketches in Chewin' the Fat, including such roles as the Lonely Shopkeeper and Betty the Auld Slapper. That led to her own series, The Karen Dunbar Show which ran for four years and was nominated for top European comedy award The Golden Rose.

9. Edith MacArthur

Born 1926, Ardrossan.

Irvine Times:

Edith was known for her roles in a number of shows, but is best remembered for her role as Jean Guthrie in TV’s adaptation of Sunset Song in 1972. She also appeared in the tv series Rob Roy, Doom Castle, as the Duchess of Argyll and as Elizabeth Cunninghame in High Road. She died, aged, 92, in 2018.

10. Julie Graham

Born 1965, Irvine

Irvine Times:

Julie is best known for her leading role in the TV show Shetland, playing Rhona Kelly. She has appeared in many other series over the years, including Life Support, Survivors, The Bletchley Circle, Benidorm and The Bill.

What do you think of our list? Have we missed any legends of cinema or TV who hailed from Burns Country? Let us know.