CINEMA and television star Kit Harington may have gained global fame in Game of Thrones but the down-to-earth actor still calls 'wonderful' Worcester home.
The 'smouldering' 27-year-old actor first caught the acting bug at Chantry School in Martley, further developing his skills at Worcester Sixth Form College.
Kit Harington, who moved to Worcestershire at the age of 11, plays the young Jon Snow in the colossally popular medieval HBO fantasy drama. The first episode of the fourth season airs tonight (Monday) on Sky Atlantic.
His success has brought him major roles in upcoming films Pompeii, Seventh Son, Spooks: The Greater Good and Testament of Youth, an adaptation of a World War One autobiography.
But, in an exclusive interview with your Worcester News, the modest actor reveals he has never forgotten his roots (he was back in Worcester over the weekend) and has made return visits to his old schools where he first honed the skills that would propel him to international stardom.
Kit, who loves Worcester Cathedral, also follows the progress of Worcester Warriors (he played scrum-half himself at Chantry) and likes to socialise with friends at Heroes in Friar Street when he comes home.
He also gets recognised by people from his past, especially if he has his hair down and his beard like his swashbuckling character.
Kit said: "Worcester has changed so much since I lived here. I moved away when I was 18, from Worcester Sixth Form to drama school in London.
"My birthday is the day after Christmas so it's a good excuse to see friends back in Worcester.
"I love Worcester for its size. It isn't a large city but it isn't small enough to be claustrophobic.
"I found it a wonderful place to grow up. Worcestershire will always be my home. I will continue to come back. I'm very fond of my home but it is much harder now to get back. Whenever people ask me where I'm from I say from London - and a place called Worcester."
Although Kit is often to be found in London, LA or New York, not to mention filming the fourth season of Game of Thrones in Belfast, he still loves to come home to see his parents on the Worcestershire-Herefordshire border.
In Game of Thrones Kit plays the brooding, illegitimate son of the honourable northern lord, Eddard ("Ned") Stark, played by Sean Bean.
Kit said: "They asked Sean Bean whether he would do RP (received pronunciation). He said 'no' so they said 'right , you're all doing northern accents'."
Kit learned from Sean's 'minimalist' style and said he tried to be from the 'same acting school' as his on-screen dad.
Ned Stark is beheaded on the orders of the sadistic boy king, Joffrey Baratheon, at the end of the first season in the southern capital, King's Landing.
His execution has a devastating effect on his wife and children and drags the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros into a protracted civil war.
In the series, based on the books by George RR Martin, Jon Snow leaves his father's keep in Winterfell with his fierce Direwolf, Ghost, to join the Night's Watch, a grim and dwindling brotherhood of monk-like soldiers dressed in black who guard a giant ice wall from the terrors which lie beyond.
Jon Snow must deal with the conflicting demands of love, family and duty and many perils, both human and supernatural.
But Kit said even bigger things await the character in series four and, though he cannot reveal details of the plot.
Fans can expect to see lots of swordplay and his character learning to 'fight dirty' and taking a more commanding role.
He said of Sue Rickman, his drama teacher at Chantry: "Sue Rickman was a big influence on me in getting me into acting. She is a wonderful teacher.
"I was very lucky with acting. It worked out for me and all the right things happened at the right time. The first step was at Chantry with Sue. I owe a huge debt."
Sue Rickman, head of drama at Chantry, said: "He always had a flair for drama and a determination. He was inspiring.
"He was on Jonathan Ross. That was weird. You think 'Oh, that's Kit!' He still looks like he did at school. He is quite down-to-earth, quite straightforward, just a really nice chap. He was one of the lads and very popular at school.
"I would like to think that he got his first insight into what drama could be like from the drama lessons. I do like to think it all started here. I thought he was very good in Game of Thrones. He's good-looking with that smouldering look. I think he would shine whatever he does."
Kit also performed at school in several productions, including Death By Pizza, by writer and former member of staff, John Townsend.
She added: "We are very proud of him. It's always nice when someone you taught makes the big time.
"He does inspire our pupils. He gave us signed posters for our drama studio wall and pupils say 'what's he doing on the wall?' I say 'because he used to be sitting where you're sitting'. They go 'really?'"
Paul Morris, head of English at Worcester Sixth Form College, said: “Kit was an excellent student who was keen, enthusiastic and interested in everything he was involved with during his time at college.
"Kit played a prominent role in several college productions, one of which was ‘Into the Woods’ where he demonstrated fantastic singing as well as acting skills and gave a memorable and committed performance.”
Gary Frost, head of performing arts, said: "He kindly agreed to return to college to talk to existing students about his training as an actor after graduating from the Central School of Speech and Drama.
"He was very modest about his achievements and the he was extremely pleasant and helpful.”
Michael Kitcatt, principal, said: “We are delighted to follow the success of Kit’s career and look forward to his many talents continuing to receive critical acclaim in the future.”