CHIPPING Norton is the toast of the nation thanks to a new book. R2D2 Lives in Preston is the intriguing title of the book compiled by BBC Radio 6 presenter Shaun Keavney.

The book is based on the programme’s regular Toast the Nation strand in which listeners nominate their hometowns based on the often-bizarre and interesting things that have happened there.

Chippy, which is one of 128 towns and cities featured in the book, owes its place among the likes of Cheltenham, Stratford and Oxford due to former resident Peter Eddershaw, who was brought up in the town and went to Chipping Norton School.

Peter, now 47 and a research scientist living in Bishops Stortford, contacted Shaun Keavney almost three years ago to reveal that the Chipping Norton Studios played host to the Bay City Rollers and Dexys Midnight Runners; that Gerry Rafferty is believed to have recorded Baker Street at the same place; that Who drummer Keith Moon once owned the Crown and Cushion Hotel in the town and comedian and actor Ronnie Barker owned an antique shop there.

“I lived further down New Street and used to pass the studios every day. For a time they were quite popular because they were out of town and seen as a quiet country retreat,” said Peter, whose parents, Maureen and David Eddershaw, lived in Chipping Norton until six years ago.

Peter also recalled Ronnie Barker serving at his Emporium antique shop. “Everyone used to peer through the window. I was amazed when my contribution was included in the book. It’s probably the nearest I will get to being a published author,” he added.

R2D2 Lives in Preston is published by Boxtree, price £9.99.