Honorary doctorate for actor Nettles at uni ceremony
THE star of hit TV series including Bergerac and Midsomer Murders has been made an honorary Doctor of Arts by Plymouth University.
John Nettles was given the honour during the university's graduation week ceremonies.
His honorary doctorate recognises his work in making numerous documentaries, most notably on the German occupation of the Channel Islands, and on the life and work of Sir John Betjeman.
The Cornwall-born actor said it was "absolutely terrific" to pick up the honorary doctorate on the Hoe yesterday.
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His book on the war in the Channel Islands – "Jackboots and Jewels" – has just been published.
He was awarded an OBE in 2010, and now lives in North Devon near Holsworthy.
Educated at St Austell Grammar School, Mr Nettles graduated from Southampton University with a degree in history and philosophy and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1976.
His screen breakthrough was as the Jersey detective Bergerac, in a series which ran for 87 episodes.
In 1995 he took on a second fictional detective series that was to prove an even bigger hit, as Tom Barnaby in Midsomer Murders.
He was cheered by hundreds of humanities and performing arts students and their families at a ceremony in the university's graduation ceremony marquee. Many stopped the star afterwards to snap pictures with him.
Mr Nettles said: "It is absolutely terrific to receive this honorary doctorate, and fantastic to be back on Plymouth Hoe, as I have not been here for many years."
He added: "I am now in the twilight of my career, but the wonderful students here today are just starting out and my one piece of advice to them would be keep going, never ever give up."
Also presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts in the same ceremony was Adrian Vinken OBE, the chief executive of the Theatre Royal and chairman of the Plymouth Culture Board.
Mr Vinken moved to Plymouth in 1990 to take up his role at the Theatre Royal, and in 2002 led the development of the TR2 building, the largest theatrical production and education facility in Europe. He is a member of various national arts organisations, and has also twice been a governor of Plymouth University, from 1994-99 and 2004-10.
Mr Vinken said: "It is a real honour to receive this award from a wonderful University, but it has been an even greater privilege to be part of its growth into a major force which acts as a great showcase for Plymouth."
City-born TV journalist Angela Rippon was due to be made an honorary Doctor of Arts by the university at a ceremony today.