What do you think of when you think of Watford? If you answered Watford FC, Elton John, Graham Taylor, Luther Blissett or John Barnes, you score ‘fair’.

If your thoughts turned to George Michael, Gerri Halliwell or Vinnie Jones, sorry, you get a ‘poor’ and shown the door.

If you want top marks, and the chance to wow your fellow pub quiz team members, then read on to learn 30 things you didn’t know about Watford’s hidden cultural history.

There are popes, royalty, iconic 70s rock bands, obscure TV references and a whole load more. Get ready to see your hometown in a whole new light. (And there is one about Elton John in there as well; we couldn’t resist.)

1. Maureen Lipman (below) started her acting career at the Watford Palace. It was 1967, as a matter of fact.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Maureen Lipman has bemoaned the death of the TV play

2. Despite working with the likes of music heavyweights Emeli Sande, Cheryl Cole, Lily Allen and Sam Smith, Naughty Boy (below) still lives in West Watford with his parents. His first recording studio was in their garden shed.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Watford's Naughty Boy, aka Shahid Khan, scoops two MOBOs

3. Characters Will McKenzie and Simon Cooper better known as half of the Inbetweeners, live in Edinburgh Drive, Abbots Langley.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The Inbetweeners Movie will be released in August

4. School scenes from movie The History Boys were filmed in Watford Grammar School for Boys and Watford Grammar School for Girls.

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5. Comedian Robin Ince was born in Chenies village.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Robin Ince

6. Scenes from television show The Demon Headmaster were filmed in Rickmansworth and Sarratt.

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7. Peep Show’s Super Hans aka Matt King was born in Watford.

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8. Nick Leeson, who brought down Barings Bank, was a former pupil of Parmiter’s School.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Nick Leeson warned that if there was to be another scandal, it would probably occur in emerging markets

9. Simon Le Bon, lead singer of Duran Duran, was born in Watford.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran will perform at a concert marking the start of the Olympic Games

10. Mary Portas used to live in Bushey.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: ON THE CUSTOMER’S SIDE: Mary Portas goes undercover for her secret shopper TV series

10. Former children’s laureate Michael Rosen attended Watford Grammar School for Boys in the 1960s.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Children’s Laureate and author Michael Rosen will receive an honorary master’s degree from the university today.

11. Watford has made huge contributions to the printing industry. Rotary photogravure was a technique which was first used in Watford to reproduce very fine, high quality fine art prints and then it went on to be used to produce colour magazines. All the ladies’ colour magazines, like Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Own, were all printed in Watford, as well as most of the colour supplements for the Sunday newspapers.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: newspaper.jpg

12. Melanie C aka Sporty Spice lived in Watford for a spell. Before fame beckoned that is.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Mel C says the birth of her daughter saved her from the grip of an eating disorder

15. Comedian Eddy Brimson is a life long Watford FC fan. As is Elton John.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: sdfg

15. Paul Carrack of Squeeze and Mike & The Mechanics fame lives in Chorleywood. 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Carrack, who lives in Chorleywood, is looking forward to his live concert at the Arena

16. The grand staircase of Cassiobury House was removed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, when the house demolished in 1927.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The Friends of Little Cassiobury was set up by people interested in bringing back to life the Little Cassiobury house, a grade II* listed building just off Hempstead Road, close to West Herts College.

17. The town hall’s interior staircase that sweeps up to the main council chamber is listed in its own right, as a prime example of Art Deco construction.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Charges will not be imposed on fitness trainers who bring their clients to parks in Watford, the mayor said today.

17 In the video for Elton John’s Step into Christmas, he holds up his Watford AFC supporter’s club membership card.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Watford release Elton John concert question and answers

18. Speaking of videos, American director Jack Synder recently revealed his personalised Watford FC mug.

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19. Grade II protected Jackson’s Jewellers in The Parade is said to have its own ghost – a man in Elizabethan dress who passes through walls.

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20. Bushey church St James has been home to weddings, christenings and funerals for a number of EastEnders’ characters.

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21. Kings Langley was the home of the makers of Ovaltine and the listed factory facade is now all that is left and still stands alongside the railway line among a new housing development. The Ovaltine factory itself has recently been converted into a series of flats and duplexes.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Ovaltine Court

22. In the 1960s, RAF Bovingdon was used in the production of four World War II films, The War Lover (1962); 633 Squadron (1964) The Battle of Britain (1968) and Mosquito Squadron (1969).

It was also used to film parts of the flying car scenes in the James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun starring Roger Moore. On television it served as the location for at least one black and white episode of The Avengers The Hour That Never Was, starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg featuring Gerald Harper and Roy Kinnear, as well as the 1980 Blake's 7 episode The Harvest of Kairos as the surface of the planet Kairos.

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23. The Who performed regularly in Watford and Carpenders Park in 1964, specifically The Trade Union Hall and The Mine.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Celebrating 50 years of The Who in Brighton

24. Kings Langley became Kings Landing for a week to celebrate Game of Thrones.

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25. Pope Adrian IV, the only Englishman ever to have become Pope, was born as Nicholas Breakspear in Abbots Langley around the year 1100. Therefore, Abbots Langley village includes a number of roads named after its famous son (Adrian, Breakspear, Pope), and at one time included activities of the Brakspear brewery.

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26. Watford is referenced in the following songs: The Prisoner by The Clash, Albion by Babyshambles, Lesson One by Just Jack, Watford John by Badfinger and I Love London by Crystal Fighters.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Music Box

28. Elton John performed his first gig at The Namaste Lounge Pub, Northwood Hills.

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Have we missed anything from the list? Comment below or email editor@watfordobserver.co.uk.