Actor Colin Firth will receive an honorary degree from the University of Winchester at a graduation ceremony held on Friday 19 October at Winchester Cathedral.

Colin Firth has starred in a range of acclaimed films, television and theatre productions. He was born in Grayshott in Hampshire and was educated in Winchester. His grandparents were English missionaries working in India, while his parents are academics that have both worked as lecturers at the University of Winchester. Colin spent many of his childhood years overseas, spending time in Nigeria, where his Father was teaching, and he also lived in Missouri until he was 11.

He got his first taste of acting playing Jack Frost in a school pantomime and became determined from the age of 14 to become an actor.

His first professional acting role was as Guy Bennett in the West End production of Another World. From this performance he was chosen to play the character Judd in the movie of the play.

He went on to play a variety of character parts in both film and television. For his portrayal of Robert Lawrence in the 1989 TV production of Tumbledown he received the Royal Television Society Best Actor award and also a BAFTA nomination. He enjoyed huge widespread popularity as a heartthrob and another BAFTA nomination for his portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC serialisation of Pride and Prejudice.

Colin Firth comments: "The fact that I have had a long-standing personal association with the University of Winchester gives this award a special significance for me. I am tremendously proud of it."

"We are thrilled that Colin Firth will be accepting an honorary degree from the University of Winchester at graduation this year," said University Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Turner.

"Colin Firth has had an impact as both an actor of great substance but also as an involved supporter of projects around the world that take up the causes of the poor, the weak and the dispossessed; we honour him for both these roles" added Professor Turner.

Colin Firth's filmography includes: The English Patient, Fever Pitch, Shakespeare in Love, Bridget Jones' Diary, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Love Actually, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and the upcoming And When Did You Last See Your Father.

Other University of Winchester honorary degree recipients this year include the TV personality and gardening expert, Alan Titchmarsh; composer Sir John Tavener; and author A.S. Byatt.

The University of Winchester graduation ceremonies take place from 17-19 October at Winchester Cathedral, where this year more than 1,200 students will graduate.