Grumbleweeds’ Graham Walker dies

Graham Walker at The Stage New Year party 2008. Photo: Martin Bostock
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Graham Walker, co-founder of comedy band The Grumbleweeds, has died at the age of 68.

Originally a two-piece band (with co-founder Robin Colvill) offering comedy songs and impressions, The Grumbleweeds were formed in 1962 in Walker’s native Leeds and worked the northern club circuit before turning professional in 1967, by which they had grown to a quintet.

Appearances on the television talent shows Opportunity Knocks and New Faces brought the band to national attention and earned them a recording contract. In 1973 they hosted their own childrens’ show, The Coal Hole Club, on BBC One and went on to appear on The Wheeltappers and Shunters Club and The Grumbleweeds Radio Show.

On Radio 2, The Grumbleweeds Radio Show ran for 15 series from 1979-88 and won the best radio show award in the Television and Radio Industries Awards in 1983. They returned to the station from 1989 to 1992 with Someone and The Grumbleweeds.

After several personnel departures, Walker and Colvill continued to perform under the band’s name and were due to appear in summer season at Skegness this year. His acting credits included appearances on Heartbeat, Max & Paddy’s Road to Nowhere and Coronation Street.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Walker died yesterday, June 2, a fortnight after his 68th birthday.

A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Stage.