The strength of any artist in show business these days is to know when to change their style and direction; to progress and develop and move forward, instead of resting on their laurels of former glories. The great art, however, is to anticipate future trends and remain one step ahead of the pack, by making exactly the right move at exactly the right time.
For The Grumbleweeds, who continue to enjoy tremendous success in the business, 1998 marked an exciting change in their career. After 25 years in show business, as a five-piece musical band, the group decided that the time was right to make a major change in direction. Drawing on all their years of experience and know-how, they developed and updated, and introduced a sparkling new, fast-moving act, embracing the entire spectrum of entertainment, to take them into the next millennium with a vengeance. Yet despite the change the emphasis remained firmly placed on comedy and impressions.
The Grumbleweeds’ success over the past 50 years has been moulded to perfection through domestic cabaret clubs, concerts, pantomimes and summer seasons. It was on radio, however, that they made a major breakthrough, with their highly-succesful BBC Radio 2 series. ‘The Grumbleweeds Radio Show’ which ran from 1979 to 1988. Fifteen series of programmes in all, which received the prestigious Best Radio Show Award from the Television and Radio Industries Awards in 1983.
The Grumbleweeds story started in Leeds in 1962, when the group was first formed by Robin Colvill. They spent the next few years undertaking the usual round of clubs and pubs in their native Yorkshire and overseas engagements in Germany, following in the footsteps of bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They turned fully professional in 1967, following an appearance on television’s ‘Opportunity Knocks’. They went on to appear on ‘Max Bygraves Meets New Faces’, courtesy of Johnny Hamp, who nearly 20 years later masterminded their popular TV series, ambiguously titled ‘The Grumbleweeds Radio Show’.
In the years in between, the group, then a duo and slimmed down to the originals, Robin Colvill and Graham Walker, who enjoyed success in most aspects of entertainment, even down to appearing on programmes as ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Max & Paddy’s Road To Nowhere’, ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Heartbeat’ as serious actors.
They are heralded throughout the business by their peers as ‘The Governors’, enjoying record-breaking success in virtually every major seaside resort in the UK, Australia, Germany, the Falklands, South America, Spain, the Canaries, New Zealand and cruise ships all over the world. They maintain the enviable skill of being able to entertain an audience ranging from family to stag to corporate with apparent ease.
Unfortunately, Graham Walker lost his long battle with cancer and sadly passed away in June 2013. Carrying on the tradition of the family entertainer, Robin Colvill has been joined by his close friend and first-class actor, singer, comedian and entertainer James Brandon, who has taken Robin’s place in the duo, whilst Robin fills Graham’s shoes as the hapless idiot.