SEVERAL stars have been spotted in these parts in the past 12 months - but none shone as bright as Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise who set locals searching for their autograph books when he pitched up in Ryedale in the spring.

Cruise was in North Yorkshire for the filming of the latest in his Mission Impossible franchise (scheduled for release this summer).

He was spotted with co-star Hayley Atwell and photographed in Pickering and near the village of Levisham.

York Press: Tom Cruise arrives in North Yorkshire for filming in AprilTom Cruise arrives in North Yorkshire for filming in April

Fans were first alerted to his arrival in North Yorkshire after Sarah Jones, who runs Pear Tree House B&B and Holiday Cottage in Pickering, spotted the American actor while out walking.

The 58-year-old actor, who was wearing a face mask as well as a navy blue roll-neck jumper, dark trousers and boots in between takes, was captured climbing onto the roof of a train carriage for a stunt scene.

Fellow Hollywood star Johnny Depp caused quite a stir too in June when he came to York to play with Jeff Beck in concert at York Barbican.

York Press: Johnny Depp spotted in York in JuneJohnny Depp spotted in York in June

The actor was in York less than a week after winning his multimillion-dollar US defamation lawsuit against his former wife Amber Heard.

Fans of Depp - many dressed up as his Captain Jack Sparrow character from hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean - lined the barriers at the back of York Barbican hoping for a glimpse of the star - and maybe even a selfie with him.

Some caught up with him at The Principal hotel, where he was staying.

Eleven-year-old fan Toby Rhodes got a selfie with the star after passing on a birthday card and chocolates which he had bought with his pocket money.

And superfan Michelle Boudin, 35, got the actor to sign her hand in York - then turned it into a tattoo so she had his autograph forever.

Just a few days after Depp was in town, Take That star Gary Barlow holed up in York for several nights when he brought his one-man show A Different Stage to the Grand Opera House.

After his June 9, 10 and 11 shows at the Grand Opera House, York, sold out Gary Barlow quickly added a Sunday matinee on June 12. Again, all tickets were sold.

After the opening night's show, Barlow took his entourage to The Ivy in St Helen's Square to enjoy dinner in its upstairs private dining area, the Etty Room.

York PR professional Lisa Byrne had helped make the booking. As the former editor of celebrity magazine OK! Lisa had worked with Gary over the years.

A self-confessed fan, Lisa went to the show and popped into the Ivy afterwards for a quick catch up with the star - and the obligatory selfie which she shared on social media.

Lisa said Gary loved The Ivy. "They had a really lovely time. He thought it was beautiful - a really gorgeous restaurant. He really loves York and says it is such a lovely city and that people are so warm and friendly."

When actor Emma Thompson dropped into a York fashion store in February, staff were quick to grab a selfie!

York Press: Actor Emma Thompson spotted shopping in YorkActor Emma Thompson spotted shopping in York

The Oscar winning actress popped in to Moda in Pelle shoe store in Low Petergate and stayed long enough to have her photograph taken with shop assistant Daisy Ambler.

The store, which is managed by Mercedes Cragg, had two staff in at the time, Daisy and her colleague, Julie Baxter.

Julie said: "The shop was quite busy at the time and I didn't recognise her at first, but then when I heard her speak I realised who it was. She came in with a friend and had a browse and she bought two pairs of boots - one for her and one for her friend.

"The style she bought was the Bezzie and it's one of our best sellers.

"She left them with us and came back later to collect them.

"Daisy was absolutely buzzing.

"It's not every day you get a Hollywood A-lister in your shop!"

Dame Emma, 62, has family connections to York as her husband, actor Greg Wise went to St Peter's School in the city.

Actor James Norton, of Happy Valley fame, was spotted a few weeks ago doing some Christmas shopping in York.

He was photographed at Thora & The Prince gift shop in Haxby with owner Rachel Stott.

Posting on Instagram, owner, Rachel Stott, said: "Happy valley all the way here today... Christmas gift arrived in store early!"

The star of McMafia, tipped by many to be the next James Bond, was brought up in Ryedale and went to Ampleforth College and seemed to be buying childrens' Megabloks.

Norton, whose other TV roles include Happy Valley, Grantchester and War & Peace, dropped in to do some Christmas shopping.

Thora and the Prince has been open for seven years now and offers a wide range of gifts and homewares.

Rachel also works closely with local independent creatives and well-established UK-based brands with an ethical manufacturing source.