A definitive list of the Edinburgh Uni alumni hitting the headlines right now

I’m not over Robbie Coltrane’s death either, don’t worry

As Edinburgh University students, we’re constantly reminded of the historic status of many of the institution’s alumni.

Whether you’re grabbing an overpriced bite to eat in the (now re-named) David Hume Tower, dozing off in your 9am informatics lecture in the Dugald Stewart Building, or holding back the tears of dread about your future career during your graduation ceremony in McEwan Hall – our alumni are all around us.

But what of the more recent Edi departees? Here’s your definitive guide to the most current and newsworthy* Edinburgh Uni alumni:

(*principle of newsworthyness applied in a loose and self-defined way)

Robbie Coltrane – actor 

Let’s get the heartbreak out of the way. Whether you’re a Harry Potter superfan or just one of the “yeah I’ve seen a few” types (there’re more of them than you think…), the news of Robbie Coltrane’s death a few weeks ago brought a sadness like no other to this great nation.

Although he was the ultimate comfort character in all of our childhoods, Coltrane’s distinguished acting career began well before he reached our screens as Hagrid in 2001, including some of his first theatre performances taking place in the Traverse Theatre near Edinburgh Castle. RIP to a pure legend.

Iain Sterling – Love Island presenter

He’s the man that makes us all feel a little better about ourselves by making us laugh whilst twelve absurdly attractive Brits graft each other for three months straight on national TV.

Iain Sterling recently welcomed Maya Jama to her new role as host of ITV’s Love Island, replacing Sterling’s long-term partner Laura Whitmore. With wit, an eye for good looks, and an ear for gossip, we all know if Iain were an Edi boy in 2022 we’d be out of the job and he’d be the one running Matchmaking Mondays.


Gordon Brown –  former prime minister

Realistically, when is this guy not in the news? The UK’s 52nd prime minister is always on stand-by to pop up and give his view on the government of the day’s latest policy announcement with his booming Scottish bass tones.

The sub-par design of his prime ministerial lecturn recently had him in the headlines. It might look like a computer stand on wheels, but at least his wasn’t the ridiculous twisted Jenga contraption given to Liz Truss…truly unhinged.

Gordon Brown is not just one of the university’s most famous alumni, but a former Pollock Halls king and a heartthrob for all the Edi politics boys who think they’ll make it to Downing Street a few years after they graduate. Keep dreaming, chaps.

King Edward VII

Following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in September, endless TV documentaries have aired about the Royal Family’s past and where it will go in the future.

King Edward VII was the eldest son of Queen Victoria (Queen Elizabeth II’s great great grandmother), and served as monarch between 1901 and 1910.

He spent a summer studying at Edinburgh in 1859. With the Edinburgh Fringe Festival not starting for nearly 90 years after he was here, we can only dream of the bliss that was a summer in the city without tourists who walk at 1mph across North Bridge. Glorious.

Laura Kuenssberg – journalist

The queen of British political news herself. You think you know a thing about British politics? Wrong. Laura K knows more. And she’s got the Twitter following and LinkedIn “experience” page to prove her status as the UK’s foremost interrogator.

Seriously, Kuenssberg truly is one of the most well-qualified and respected journalists in the country, hence her recent appointment to one of the top jobs in British broadcasting: presenting the BBC’s flagship Sunday political programme. Her pink suit in the opening titles was a cultural reset.

Chris Hoy – cyclist

If you think standing hungover in the rain at Peffs on a Wednesday afternoon isn’t worth it, just remember that the UK’s second most successful Olympian in history is Edinburgh University born and bred.

John Allan – chairman of Tesco

So you’re upset about that Tesco meal deal going up to £3.40 (AND £3.90 WITHOUT A CLUBCARD)? You know who to blame.

A joke, of course. Prices are rising across the UK and as the head of one of the country’s most trusted and familiar companies, Allan has a big role to play in voicing the concerns of everyday families regarding the cost of living.

He recently caused a stir by saying the Labour Party is the only “team on the field” when it comes to economic policy. He made the intervention live on the BBC on a programme hosted by… Laura Kuenssberg. Edi boys and girls are running the world.


Michael McIntyre

Last but not least, yes, the most deservingly mainstream comedian in the country is an Edinburgh University alumnus.

He hasn’t exactly hit the headlines lately, so the only tenuous link to “relevance” we could find is that McIntyre hosts a weekly game show called The Wheel on BBC1.

It involves spinning celebrities around on a gigantic wheel while he sings the theme tune at them, then forcing them to answer quiz questions. If you ever think your Edinburgh education isn’t putting you on track to stardom, think again kids.

Featured image: Overlay via YouTube, YouTube and YouTube

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