Here’s a list all the famous people you didn’t know went to Exeter Uni

And they happen to fit the Exet-ah stereotype perfectly!


Universities are often characterised by their student population. Now as much as we wouldn’t like to admit it, it’s undeniable that the Exetah girlie and rugby boy stereotypes can be spotted in their natural habitats roaming around the Streatham campus. Famously, there have been some notable alumni who’ve paved the way for these students (some we may be a little prouder to be associated with than others) so here’s a little recap of all the famous people you didn’t know went to Exeter Uni. 


I couldn’t resist starting with Stormzy. While he did not actually attend uni in Exeter, he was awarded an honorary degree by the university in 2022 for his philanthropic work in supporting dozens of black students get into higher education, and we love to see it. Safe to say he’s far from your Exeter typical rugby boy.

JK Rowling

Now you probably have heard that JK Rowling studied French and Classics in Exeter before she reached fame. It was thought that her time in Exeter inspired some of the scenes she created in the Harry Potter series but that was a myth she’s now dispelled. Enough said.

Katie Hopkins

Next up we have one of our more controversial figures, Katie Hopkins. She studied Economics at the university and has not shied away from voicing her opinions on public platforms since. DebSoc invited her back to campus in a few years ago, where she was met with protestors, boos and unfortunately so much more. Oh how I wish it was surprising that she’s part of our alumna.

Zara Tindall

King Charles’ niece Zara Tindall studied physiotherapy before going on to be an Olympic Equestrian. Horse riding and royal? Of course she went to Exeter.

Vanessa Kirby

And why only have a royal when you can have an actress who played a royal on tv as well? Vanessa Kirby, probably most commonly known for playing Princess Margaret on The Crown (a role she won a BAFTA Award for in 2018), studied English in Exeter prior to embarking on her acting career. She has since been nominated for an Oscar for her leading role in Pieces of a Woman and has made several features in notable films as well.

Steve Backshall

Every British girl’s first love, sexy Steve attended Exeter to study English and theatre studies after he had taken a year out to backpack around south east Asia (so Exeter!).

Thom Yorke

One for all the Cavern Saturday goers. Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead attended Exeter Uni. In true Exetah boy fashion, he formed Radiohead when at Abingdon School (an all-boys private school) and after leaving school he took a gap year. When at Exeter he studied English and upon graduating eventually saw great success with his band from back at school.

Dolly Alderton

British journalist and ‘Everything I Know About Love’ author Dolly Alderton attended Exeter and studied English and Drama. Within ‘Everything I Know About Love’ Dolly reflects on her time at Exeter, echoing a Thursday morning debrief after TP (Dolly definitely loves a green Venom), her memoir has since been adapted for the BBC and highlights what it’s like to be a woman attending and graduating uni in this generation.

Featured images via @stormzy and @dollyalderton on Instagram

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