Support our Nation today - please donate here

Swansea University honours Welsh filmmaker and actor Jonny Owen

27 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Jonny Owen with fiancee Vicky McClure,

Merthyr-born producer, actor, and filmmaker Jonny Owen has received an honorary degree from Swansea University.

The 52-year-old was made a Doctor of Letters in front of hundreds of students graduating from the university’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences today ( 27 July).

Jonny graduated with a BA in History from Swansea University in 1999 and embarked on his acting career while still a student. He later went on to appear in some of the UK’s biggest TV shows, including Shameless, Torchwood, Murphy’s Law, and My Family.

In 2006, he was awarded a BAFTA Cymru for his documentary on the Aberfan disaster which he co-produced.

An avid football fan, he also directed the critically-acclaimed 2017 documentary film Don’t Take Me Home, which chronicled Wales’ run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and a memorable summer for Wales fans in France.

Joining Jonny at the graduation celebrations were his family and fiancée Vicky McClure MBE, who is best known for her roles as DCI Kate Fleming in the BBC series Line of Duty, and Lol Jenkins in the film This Is England and its sequel mini-series on Channel 4.

She was recently awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity, having worked to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, as well as creating a choir to help those with the illness.


The couple met on the set of 2013 film Svengali, where Vicky played the part of Shell, the on-screen girlfriend of her now-fiancée, who also wrote the film. Svengali was screened at the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival, and was nominated for the Michael Powell Award, a prize which honours the best British feature film.

Now based in Nottingham, McClure’s hometown, Jonny has been Nottingham Forest FC’s media and communications director – and board member – since March 2018, having previously directed the 2015 film I Believe in Miracles, chronicling Forest’s glory years under Brian Clough in the 1970s and 80s.

In 2021 the pair created their own production company, Build Your Own Films, the company behind ITV’s Without Sin and the recent one-off documentary Vicky McClure: My Grandad’s War.

Jonny Owen receiving his honorary degree from Swansea University Chancellor Dame Jean Thomas

After receiving his award, Jonny said: “It is one of the truly great honours of my life to receive this award from Swansea University. As a former Swansea student it makes it extra special for me.

“Going to Swansea University changed my life. I quite simply wouldn’t be where I am today without them and I’ll be eternally indebted to them.

“They believed in me and did nothing but encourage me as a student and in the decades after I left. I’m delighted to be going back once again and thanking them in person.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.