The Grumbleweeds

The Grumbleweeds

The Grumbleweeds are a British comedy band and comedy troupe who were popular on radio and television in the 1980s.

The Grumbleweeds started in Leeds in 1962, formed by Robin Colvill and Graham Walker. They performed on the northern club circuit and pubs in Yorkshire, and occasionally abroad in Germany. Turning professional in 1967, and by now a five-piece with the addition of Maurice Lee and brothers Albert and Carl Sutcliffe, they appeared on "Opportunity Knocks", and "New Faces", hosted by Max Bygraves. Although they didn't win, the exposure was sufficient to warrant a recording contract with Philips, releasing an album of serious songs, "In a Teknikolor Dreem", which was produced by Alan Hawkshaw and remains collectable today.

In 1973, the group secured further television exposure with a series "The Coal Hole Club", shown on BBC One in the early evenings and aimed squarely at children. The show mixed the group's repertoire of impressions with fast-moving comedy and music. During this period the band sporadically continued to release singles and albums, which contained a mixture of serious songs and comedy sketches.

It was on radio, however, where the Grumbleweeds made their major breakthrough with the successful BBC Radio 2 series, "The Grumbleweeds Radio Show", from 1979 to 1988. Fifteen series were recorded, and it received the prestigious "Best Radio Show" award from The Television and Radio Industries Awards in 1983. "The Grumbleweeds Radio Show" is also the title of a series of television programmes made between 1983 and 1988 for Granada Television, which retained the fast-moving sketch format.

In late 1987, brothers Albert and Carl Sutcliffe decided to leave the group, and were augmented by side-musicians in the 1988 television programmes. By 1989, slimmed down to a three-piece, they secured a new BBC Radio 2 series, "Someone And The Grumbleweeds", which ran for three years. Maurice Lee decided to leave the group in 1997, and was briefly replaced by Tony Joe.

The Grumbleweeds are now reduced to their two founder members Colvill and Walker, but remain a popular attraction on the cabaret circuit. They have continued performing in most aspects of entertainment, even appearing in television series such as "Emmerdale", "Coronation Street" and "Heartbeat".

External links

* [ The Grumbleweeds]
* [ Interview with Graham Walker and Carl Sutcliffe]
* [ Interview from 2000]

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