Grumbleweeds' Graham Walker dies

Comic loses cancer battle

Graham Walker, founder of the comedy musical and impressions group The Grumbleweeds, has died at the age of 68.

He had been fighting cancer for two years.

Walker started the group with Robin Colvill in Leeds in 1962. They toured the Northern club circuit before getting their big break five years later, when they appeared on the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks, by which time they had grown to a five-piece.

But it was on radio where they made their name, with an incredible 15 series running on Radio 2 from 1979 to 1988.

In 1998, they pared back to a more financially viable two-man bad, with just Walker and Colville. They were due to tour later in the year, including a summer season in Skegness.

Among those paying tribute on Twitter was Shane Ritchie, who said: ‘Just heard the sad news... funny, sweet & genuine[ly] gentle.’

Fellow comic Billy Pearce, who is also from Leeds, added: ‘I'm just getting my head round the fact that we've lost my great pal Graham Walker, I'm heartbroken... There's no one like him; he was so brave.’

Mick Miller said: ‘So sad to hear about the passing of Graham from The Grumbleweeds. He was one of the nice guys. A truly funny man.’

And Bobby Ball said: ‘You know a comedian is a man who tells funny stories and a comic is a FUNNY man that's the difference. Graham Walker was one of the best comics we have had.... where have all the comics gone? To all the people who knew Graham, let’s all have a drink tonight in the memory of a wonderful man and great comic.’

Here are The Grumbleweeds in action:

Published: 3 Jun 2013

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