One of The Potteries most famous sons, Jonathan Wilkes is devoutly proud of his home town and regularly returns to tread the boards during panto season at the Regent Theatre.
Since his very first stage appearance, at the Queens’ Theatre in Burslem, he has gone on to star in hit UK musicals, concerts and TV shows.
Jonathan’s original dream, however, was to become a professional footballer. He played for Everton Youth until the age of 15 and then decided to change career paths and try his vocal cords at singing.
He said: “I wasn't really clued up on singing but when I had my tonsils out when I was 15 I discovered I had a voice and it just went from there really!”
After three successful years headlining his own show in Blackpool, Jonathan was offered a presenting job on a BBC Choice show called Hype and he moved to London.
Whilst in the capital, Jonathan signed a record deal with Innocent Records and his hit debut single, ‘Just Another Day’, was released in 2001. Before long, he was performing at the Royal Albert Hall alongside fellow Potteries singer and good friend Robbie Williams.
From then on the stage beckoned and Jonathan took to the road with a series of successful musicals, including The Rocky Horror Show, Grease and Guys and Dolls.
He also loyally returns to Stoke every winter to take part in pantos such as Cinderella, Aladdin and Snow White, which have seen record-breaking sales year after year.
“One of the most important weeks of my career”, said Jonathan, was during Stoke’s Got Talent in 2008, when he offered the lucky winner of the show a chance to appear in a panto and perform on live TV.
His own TV appearances have included Sky One’s The Match and All Star Cup as well as ITV’s Soccer Aid, which helped raise funds for UNICEF. He has also presented You’ve Been Framed, and had a weekly guest appearance on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway earlier this year.
The award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Jonathan for his contribution to the performing arts, his charity work with UNICEF and for being an ambassador for Stoke-on-Trent.