Graham Fellows

Last updated

Graham Fellows
Graham Fellows December 2017.jpg
Fellows pictured in December 2017
Born (1959-05-22) 22 May 1959 (age 62)
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
MediumRadio, television
Genres Observational comedy, stand-up
Website Official website

Graham David Fellows (born 22 May 1959 in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire , England) [1] [2] is an English comedy actor and musician, best known for creating the comedic character John Shuttleworth and one-hit wonder Jilted John.

Contents

Jilted John

Fellows was a drama student at Manchester Polytechnic [1] when he first came to prominence in August 1978 as the eponymous singer of the novelty record "Jilted John", a first-person narrative of a boorish, bitter teenager with a thick Essex accent whose girlfriend Julie had left him for another man named Gordon, "just 'cause he's better lookin' than me, just 'cause he's cool and trendy". The song became known for the refrain "Gordon is a moron" repeated several times.

Fellows later said: "I'd written a couple of songs and I wanted to record them. So I went into a local record shop and asked if they knew any indie or punk labels. They said there were two, Stiff in London and Rabid just down the road. So I phoned Rabid up, and they told me to send in a demo. We did the demos with the late Colin Goddard – of Walter & the Softies – on guitar, and the drummer and bass player of the Smirks. I took it along to Rabid, who loved it ... so we re-recorded it a few days later, at Pennine Studios, with John Scott playing guitar and bass and Martin Zero (aka Martin Hannett) producing." [3] The single, issued by Rabid in April 1978 (TOSH 105), featured "Going Steady" as the A-side and "Jilted John" as the B-side. [4]

"Jilted John" was first played on national radio by BBC Radio One's John Peel, [5] who apparently commented that if the single was promoted by a major record label he could see it becoming a huge hit. [6] This proved to be the case when it was picked up by EMI International. The song was introduced by Kid Jensen on Top of the Pops as "one of the most bizarre singles of the decade", and reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart. [7]

Two follow-up singles were released the same year under the guise of "Gordon the Moron". A pseudo concept-album also produced by Hannett followed, entitled True Love Stories, charting John's love-life – and two further singles, neither of which was a hit. No other recordings followed these, making Jilted John a one-hit wonder. However, a cash-in single by Julie and Gordon called "Gordon's Not A Moron" sold moderately well, as did lapel badges bearing the legends "Gordon is a moron" and "Gordon is not a moron".

Fellows revived the Jilted John character at the 2008 Big Chill festival, along with Bernard Kelly, premiering a new song about Keira Knightley's ultra-thin figure. In December 2014 Jilted John won the 'One Hit Wonder World Cup' feature on the BBC Radio 6 Music Steve Lamacq show. [8] In late 2015 it was announced that Fellows would once again revive Jilted John for Rebellion Festival 2016 at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. [9]

In October 2018, Jilted John embarked on a 40th-anniversary tour of the UK. [10]

Discography

Singles

  • "Going Steady"/"Jilted John" (July 1978) Rabid TOSH 105, reissued (August 1978) with A and B sides flipped EMI International (EMI 567) (UK No. 4) [11]
  • "True Love"/"I Was A Prepubescent" (January 1979) EMI International (EMI 577)
  • "The Birthday Kiss"/"Baz's Party" (April 1979) EMI International (EMI 587)

Albums

Compilations

  • The Crap Stops Here: "Jilted John/Mrs. Pickering" (1980) Rabid LAST1

John Shuttleworth

John Shuttleworth at The Big Chill in 2010 The Big Chill.jpg
John Shuttleworth at The Big Chill in 2010

In 1986 Fellows created John Shuttleworth, a middle-aged, aspiring singer-songwriter from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, with a quiet manner and slightly nerdish tendencies. His musical talents are usually expressed through his Yamaha PSS680 portable keyboard, and his repertoire includes such songs as "Pigeons in Flight" [12] – a song which Shuttleworth attempted to have selected for the Eurovision Song Contest. [13] A spoof documentary about his road to submitting a song for Eurovision, called Europigeon, featured such past Eurovision stars as Clodagh Rodgers, Lynsey de Paul, Bruce Welch, Katrina Leskanich (from Katrina and the Waves), Johnny Logan, Cheryl Baker and Brotherhood of Man. [14] He has released a number of albums and singles as John Shuttleworth. [15]

Newer characters

Two further Fellows creations followed, firstly Brian Appleton, a rock musicologist and media studies lecturer from a college of further education in the Newcastle-under-Lyme area although originally he hails from Selly Oak in Birmingham. His girlfriend Wendy is an aromatherapist, but unfortunately upon qualifying she became allergic to the essential oils she uses. He is convinced that he has been instrumental in helping many rock acts to achieve megastardom and yet received no credit for his efforts, such as being the cause for the gap in "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, inadvertently launching the vocal career of Phil Collins at a failed audition for the lead singer of Genesis after the departure of Peter Gabriel and giving Howard Jones the idea for using a mime artist in the hit "New Song" while working opposite him at a Clingfilm factory in High Wycombe. Brian also claimed to have a significant bearing on the career of the Thompson Twins (for example he inspired the hit 'Love on Your Side' while directing Alannah Currie towards her hat which he accidentally knocked off her head) and Morrissey (who coincidentally shares the same date of birth as Graham Fellows), who Brian claims was inspired to form The Smiths after hearing Brian's own composition "My Turn to be Poorly". [16] [17]

His newest character is Dave Tordoff, a builder from Goole specialising in 'laser screed' concrete flooring. He has ambitions to become a popular after dinner speaker, having seen how easy it was for Kevin Keegan. The topic he most enjoys discussing is his accumulated wealth, followed by life on his ranch-style property with wife Mandy and daughter Courtney. Hobbies earmarked for 2007 included falconry. [18]

Other work

In 1982 Fellows played Paul McCartney in Lennon by Bob Eaton at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, directed by Clare Venables. [19] Fellows released one more album in 1985 under his own name titled Love at the Haçienda, which was re-released in 2004 and again in 2020.[ citation needed ]

In 2000 he appeared as Alan Stephens, a St John Ambulanceman in two episodes of Time Gentlemen Please . [20]

Prior to creating Shuttleworth, Fellows appeared in Coronation Street as Les Charlton, a young biker chasing the affections of married Gail Platt (then Tilsley). During his fame as Jilted John, Fellows appeared on Coronation Street briefly when he met Gail, single at the time, on the street in Manchester. In 2007 he appeared in an episode of ITV's Heartbeat . [21]

He presented a programme of his favourite poetry and prose on Radio 4's With Great Pleasure in January 2007. [22]

In July 2009 he read Radio 4's Book of the Week , You're Coming With Me Lad by Mike Pannett, a Metropolitan Police officer's semi-autobiographical account of his experiences in the North Yorkshire town of Malton. [23]

A one-off UK 7" single was released in 1980 under the band name Going Red – "Some Boys"/"Tune Kevin's Strings" [24] – with a picture sleeve depicting Graham in the shower, fully clothed. The band, as credited on the single sleeve, was Graham Fellows (vocals/guitar), Mervin Cloud (guitar/vocals), Russell Giant (percussion) and Francis Charlton (bass guitar). Chris Sievey was also involved, possibly pseudonymously as one of the aforementioned names. The A-side was an uptempo new wave-style rocker, whilst the humorous B-side features fake crowd noises and predictable heavy metal riffing.

Appeared as Dr Persil in Ideal (2010) and as Eric Sykes in the BBC Four drama Hattie (2010). [21]

Appearing on BBC Radio 4's Midweek programme on 3 June 2015, Fellows said he had recently converted a disused church on the Orkney island of Rousay into an eco-friendly recording studio and artists' retreat. [25] [26]

In December 2015 Fellows appeared on BBC One's Celebrity Mastermind answering questions on Donald Crowhurst, coming third. [27]

Fellows was to embark on a tour as himself in January and February 2018 [28] and said he was working on an album of new material – Weird Town. [29]

Discography

Albums

  • Love at the Haçienda (1985) Wicked Frog Records: Frog 01
  • Love at the Haçienda (2004) Chic Ken: CHIC KENCD009
  • Weird Town (2018) Boss Tuneage: BTRC121, Chic Ken: CHICKENCD021 [30] [31]
  • Love at the Hacienda (2020) Firestation Records: FST 179

Personal life

Fellows splits his time between Louth, Lincolnshire, [2] Leicester, and Orkney with partner Miriam Holland. [32] He has three sisters, one of whom was married to television chef Ainsley Harriott. [33] He has four children.[ citation needed ]

Selected TV, film and radio

Related Research Articles

Graham Norton Irish comedian and television presenter

Graham William Walker, better known by his stage name Graham Norton, is an Irish actor, author, comedian, commentator, and presenter. Well known for his work in the UK, he is a five-time BAFTA TV Award winner for his comedy chat show The Graham Norton Show (2007-present) and an eight-time award winner overall. Originally shown on BBC Two before moving to other slots on BBC One, his chat show succeeded Friday Night with Jonathan Ross in BBC One's prestigious late-Friday-evening slot in 2010.

Factory Records

Factory Records was a Manchester-based British independent record label founded in 1978 by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus.

Brotherhood of Man

Brotherhood of Man are a British pop group who achieved success in the 1970s. They won the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest with "Save Your Kisses for Me".

Clodagh Rodgers is a retired singer and actress from Northern Ireland, best known for her hit singles including "Come Back and Shake Me", "Goodnight Midnight", and "Jack in the Box".

The United Kingdom held a national preselection to choose the song that would go to the Eurovision Song Contest 1970.

Matt Monro British singer

Matt Monro was an English singer who became one of the most popular entertainers on the international music scene during the 1950s and 1970s. Known as The Man with the Golden Voice, he filled cabarets, nightclubs, music halls, and stadiums across the world in his 30-year career. AllMusic has described Monro as "one of the most underrated pop vocalists of the '60s", who "possessed the easiest, most perfect baritone in the business". His recordings include the UK Top 10 hits: "Portrait of My Love", "My Kind of Girl", "Softly As I Leave You", "Walk Away" and "Yesterday". He also recorded several film themes such as "From Russia with Love" for the James Bond film of the same name, "Born Free" for the film of the same name and "On Days Like These" for The Italian Job.

Manchester's music scene produced successful bands in the 1960s including the Hollies, the Bee Gees and Herman's Hermits. After the punk rock era, Manchester produced popular bands including Joy Division, New Order, the Smiths and Simply Red. In the late 1980s, the ecstasy-fuelled dance club scene played a part in the rise of Madchester. In the 1990s, Manchester saw the rise of Britpop bands, notably Oasis.

Chas & Dave

Chas & Dave were a British pop rock duo, formed in London by Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock. They were most notable as creators and performers of a musical style labelled rockney, which mixes "pub singalong, music-hall humour, boogie-woogie piano and pre-Beatles rock 'n' roll". For a time, Rockney was also the name of their record label, their major breakthrough being "Gertcha" in 1979, which peaked at No. 20 in the UK Singles Chart, and was the first of eight Top 40 hit singles the duo played on. They had their biggest success in the early 1980s with "Rabbit" and "Ain't No Pleasing You". They also had nine charting albums. In October 2013 they released That's What Happens, their first studio album in 18 years.

Jaki Graham British singer

Jacqueline Graham is a British singer-songwriter. Following her hit version of "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" with David Grant in 1985, Graham scored a further five UK Top 20 hits over a two-year period. In 1994, her cover version of Chaka Khan's hit "Ain't Nobody" reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart.

UK national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision: You Decide is the most recent name of a BBC television programme that was broadcast annually to select the United Kingdom's entry into the Eurovision Song Contest. The show had previously gone under several other names, including Festival of British Popular Songs (1957), Eurovision Song Contest British Final (1959–1960), The Great British Song Contest (1996–1999), Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up (2004–2007), Eurovision: Your Decision (2008), and Eurovision: Your Country Needs You (2009–2010), but was known, for most of its history, as A Song for Europe.

Vince Hill

Vincent “Vince” Hill is an English traditional pop music singer and songwriter who is best known for his recording of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune "Edelweiss" (1967), which reached No.2 on the UK Singles Chart. Along with a successful recording career in the 1960s, Hill hosted several hit TV shows during the seventies and eighties, including They Sold a Million (BBC), Musical Time Machine (BBC) and his own chat show Gas Street (ITV). Outside of his work in show business, Hill is a Patron of The Macular Society, a UK charity for anyone affected by central vision loss. Hill revealed in 2019 that he is losing his eye sight to Age-Related Macular Disease (AMD).

David Spencer, known professionally as Ricky Valance, was a Welsh pop singer. He was best known for the UK number one single "Tell Laura I Love Her", which sold over a million copies in 1960. He was the first male Welsh singer to have a UK number one single hit.

Daz Sampson British singer, producer and broadcaster

Darren "Daz" Sampson is a British professional football manager/scout, music producer and broadcaster. Sampson is known for his commercial dance music as part of several groups and his television appearances. He has had nine Top 30 UK singles.

The Shuttleworths is a British radio comedy that, between 1993 and 2010, has aired for five series and numerous specials on BBC Radio 4. It features "versatile singer/songwriter from Sheffield" John Shuttleworth and his family and neighbours, all performed by comedian Graham Fellows.

United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest Overview of UK Eurovision Song Contest participation

The United Kingdom has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 63 times. It first took part in the second contest in 1957 and has entered every year since 1959. Along with Sweden and the Netherlands, the UK is one of only three countries with Eurovision victories in four different decades. It is one of the "Big 5" countries, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, who are automatically prequalified for the final each year as they are the biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The British public broadcaster, the BBC, broadcasts the event and organises the national selection to choose the entry. The United Kingdom has won the Eurovision Song Contest five times, and has finished as runner-up on a record fifteen occasions. The UK has hosted the contest a record eight times, four times in London and once each in Edinburgh (1972), Brighton (1974), Harrogate (1982) and Birmingham (1998).

John Shuttleworth (character) Fictional human

John Shuttleworth is a fictional singer-songwriter and radio presenter, created in 1986 and performed by English comedy actor and musician Graham Fellows. Shuttleworth is in his late 50s and is from Walkley in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He has a quiet manner and slightly nerdish tendencies. His musical talents are usually expressed through his PSS portable keyboard and include "Pigeons in Flight", a song that Shuttleworth attempted to have selected for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Sandie Shaw English pop singer

Sandie Shaw, MBE is an English singer. One of the most successful British female singers of the 1960s, she had three UK number one singles with "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" (1964), "Long Live Love" (1965) and "Puppet on a String" (1967). With "Puppet on a String", she became the first British entry to win the Eurovision Song Contest. She returned to the UK top 40, for the first time in 15 years, with her 1984 cover of the Smiths song "Hand in Glove". Shaw announced her retirement from the music industry in 2013.

Believe in Me (Bonnie Tyler song)

"Believe in Me" is a song by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler from her sixteenth studio album Rocks and Honey (2013). American songwriter Desmond Child composed the song with British songwriters Lauren Christy and Christopher Braide. It was released as the album's lead single on 13 March 2013. The song was written to "uplift the world", and was completed by Child whilst having dinner with Tyler.

The United Kingdom participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with the song "Still in Love with You", written by David Mindel and Adrian Bax White. The song was performed by the duo Electro Velvet. British broadcaster BBC announced that it would internally select the entry that would represent the United Kingdom at the 2015 contest in Vienna, Austria. BBC held an open submission period for interested artists and songs to submit their bids in addition to considering proposals from record companies and their own BBC Introducing platform. After receiving approximately 300 submissions, an expert panel selected the song "Still in Love with You" performed by the duo Electro Velvet as the British entry. The artists and song were presented to the public in a special presentation show titled Our Song for Eurovision 2015 broadcast via the BBC Red Button service in March 2015.

The United Kingdom participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song "You're Not Alone" written by Matt Schwartz, Justin J. Benson and S. Kanes. The song was performed by Joe and Jake. The British entry for the 2016 contest in Stockholm, Sweden was selected via the national final Eurovision: You Decide, organised by the British broadcaster BBC. Six acts competed in the national final and the winner was selected entirely through a public vote.

References

  1. 1 2 "Graham Fellows tells how a bus shelter complete with sofa and TV fuelled the comedian's love of Scottish life". The Scotsman . 21 November 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  2. 1 2 Chalmers, Robert (26 October 2008). "Comedy – Graham Fellows: My icy, windswept island paradise". The Independent . London. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  3. "Roger Dopson, Liner notes of CD release of True Love Stories". Shuttleworths.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 July 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  4. "Jilted John – Going Steady" . Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  5. INFORMATION, ADD AUTHOR. "Jilted John". www.shuttleworths.co.uk. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  6. Duke, Robin (29 July 2019). "JILTED JOHN". THE GREAT BRITISH SONGBOOK. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  7. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 283. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  8. @BBCLamacqshow (19 December 2014). "Here we go 2,3,4..." (Tweet) via Twitter.
  9. "Jilted John – back for Rebellion!". Rebellion Festivals.com. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2016. where he also gave an in conversation with John Robb
  10. "Jilted John Gigs" . Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  11. Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography . Canongate. ISBN   0-86241-913-1.
  12. "John Shuttleworth sings Pigeons in Flight, Wayne's Secret World of the Organ". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  13. "14 Things You Genuinely Didn't Know About The Eurovision Song Contest". Bubblegun.com. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  14. "Europigeon (TV Movie 1998)". IMDb. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  15. "John Shuttleworth Discography". Discogs.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  16. Howard, Warren (20 September 2013). "Comedy of the week: Brian Appleton, various venues". The Independent. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  17. "The Official Brian Appleton Homesite". Shuttleworths.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  18. "Dave Tordoff". Shuttleworths.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  19. "Brookside to Brassed Off" . Retrieved 17 March 2018 via www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk.
  20. "Time Gentlemen Please (2000–2002)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  21. 1 2 "Graham Fellows male voiceover artist". Sue Terry Voices. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  22. "With Great Pleasure". BBC Radio 4. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  23. "You're Coming With Me Lad, Book of the Week". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  24. Razz Records – CLEAN1, re-issue MCA Records – MCA673
  25. "Midweek; Graham Fellows, Matthew Oates, William McLellan, Kate Waters". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  26. O'Grady, Sean (28 July 2014). "Graham Fellows: 'I can't do John Shuttleworth for ever'". The Independent. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  27. "Episode 5, 2015/2016, Celebrity Mastermind". BBC One . Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  28. "Gigs". Graham Fellows. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  29. "Music". Graham Fellows. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  30. "Weird Town, by Graham Fellows". Graham Fellows. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  31. "Star Interview: Sheffield's Graham Fellows takes an 'out of character' break from being John Shuttleworth" . Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  32. "About". Graham Fellows. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  33. Farndale, Nigel (June 2013). "Graham Fellows". Nigel Farndale.com. Retrieved 1 August 2016.