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Merthyr born Hollywood actor receives honorary fellowship at Welsh university

27 Jan 2024 2 minute read
Steve Speirs in his USW cap and gown

Merthyr-born Hollywood actor and comedy writer, Steve Speirs, has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of South Wales (USW) for his contribution to the TV and Film industry.

Born Steven Roberts in Troed-y-Rhiw in 1965, Steve attended Afon Taf High School where he acquired a taste for drama.

After joining the National Theatre of Wales, he studied drama at Loughborough University, and took his stage name, Speirs, from the surname of one of his lecturers.

His career has taken him from the UK to the bright lights of Hollywood, playing Captain Tarpals in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Quartermaster in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and starring alongside Ricky Gervais in Extras and Jack Whitehall in the Bad Education movie.

Steve Speirs outside the ICC in Newport.


A talented writer, Steve wrote his first film, Caught in the Act, in 2008, which was based on his life and memories of growing up in Merthyr.

He has also created, written and starred in BAFTA-nominated comedy The Tuckers for BBC Wales.

His extensive TV credits include his role as Big Alan Williams in Stella, as well as appearing in Not Going Out, Cuckoo, Miranda, and adaptations of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and The Boy in the Dress, among many more.

He also made his West End debut in 2020 as Burbage in the Olivier-nominated comedy, The Upstart Crow, based on Ben Elton’s popular TV sitcom of the same name.

Alongside acting, Steve is a proud ambassador for various charities, including Hospice Of the Valleys, Prostate Cymru and Signposted, a men’s mental health charity in Wales.

On receiving the Honorary Fellowship, Steve said: “I am honoured to have been awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of South Wales, and to be a part of these wonderful Graduation ceremonies.

“I am very proud of my roots in the South Wales valleys, and know all too well how important a university education is to achieving your potential in life.

“It is fantastic to see the next generation of actors, writers and directors ready to make their mark in the creative industries – congratulations and best of luck to you all.”

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