Friday 17 November 2023

Post 491 - A gramble about the Beeb


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside (

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.

Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy



Your letters...


I literally take exception to the misuse of the word literally.

Literally yours,

Hilda Oddbin.


Story Time...

I’m livid. I am and all. What has caused this anger, I hear you ask. The British Broadcorping Casteration, that’s what. How so, you may ask. [They’re asking a lot of questions today. - Ed.] Pull up a chair and oi’ll tell ee...

Right, first of all, the Beeb is not a private company; it is, instead, owned by Joe Public... me, and you, and him... and we fund the corporation by paying an annual subscription called the licence fee. In the year ending 31 of March 2023, the BBC received an income of around £5.7 billion of which £3.7 billion was paid by us viewers as licence fee payments. Got that? Thus, because it receives so much dosh, the BBC is able to produce its programmes without the annoying features known as advertisements.

Mind you, I have seen as many as six ads for shows being shown on the various Beeb channels between two programmes. I can deal with that. Fair enough; they are entitled to plug their own output.

What doesn’t sit so well with me is the Graham Norton style of chat show where guests are there simply to plug their book/TV programme/film/perfume/range of clothes (Delete as applicable.). That has been going on for years. I recall an episode of the Michael Parkinson chat show when the guest was David Niven and the topic of conversation was his autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon. That was it. All just a big advert for his book. Actually, the book was already a big seller, but this probably helped shift another few hundred thousand copies.

What annoys me even more than celebrities using the Beeb to advertise, basically, themselves, is when there is advertising on news bulletins. To me, news should be about that which is happening around us. It should not be about the latest Operatic production/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical/Disney film. (Delete as inapplicable.)

Okay, I have moaned on about such items before, but, just last week, the ‘I am a big star, please advertise my book’ treatment hit a new low... Well, two new lows, actually.

The first was a news item about Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr ‘unearthing’ a compact cassette of John Lennon singing a song that was not deemed decent enough to ever make it onto a record. Frankly, the sound quality was abysmal and it is no wonder the song got forgotten about; it was dreadful. Obviously, Paulie and Bongo thought otherwise and have realised that they could make shed-loads of money by tarting it up a bit and adding some instrumentation. That done, the record has been released as a forgotten Beatles’ gem. Aye, right.

To promote the single release, they also got Peter Jackson (he of Lord of the Rings fame) to direct an accompanying video featuring the late Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison being cleverly superimposed on new film of Paul and Dingo. I say cleverly, there are bits where it is pretty obviously AI footage.

Peter Jackson has also directed a documentary to promote the song. These facts were all imparted in a news bulletin. That isn’t news; that is blatant advertising, mate.

Worse was to come. Barbra Streisand is a singer/actress who is probably as wealthy as the remaining Beatles... Well, Ringo, certainly. Apart from music videos, she has produced little of interest for over ten years. Until now. She has written a book: her autobiography.

All well and good; no doubt she will be doing the book-plugging tour of every chat show that will have her. Obviously not just that, because somebody at the Beeb has decided that this rich lady writing a book was a newsworthy event, so she was interviewed on the BBC’s main news programme.

Okay, that annoyed me, but I can cope with it. There has been much more blatant plugging on the Beeb. What really bugged me though, was that nothing of importance or even relevance was talked about. The only things that we learned was that she wasn’t a very happy person and... this really is trivia worthy of a mention on The One Show or Loose Women... that Siri (the voice recognition app) couldn’t pronounce her name correctly, but now can. Well, thank goodness she told us that; I couldn’t have slept without learning that nugget of (non)information.

Make that three new lows. This was where story time was supposed to end but, this week, the Beeb are at it again. Apparently, that very famous, and very rich, actor, Tom Hanks has opened an exhibition dedicated to the US’s ‘journey to the moon’. Tonight, I watched the news bulletin from this once hallowed institution as Mr. Hanks’ exhibition was given a free advertisement.

Sorry, BBC, but you are meant to be an impartial organisation and that impartiality is made possible because you do not show advertisements and do not rely on advertising revenue. To me, this is very much about advertising whether money has changed hands or not.

But, come on, we all know that there is no such thing as a free launch. What is being exchanged for these ‘free’ plugs if it isn’t money? Mmm? Answer me that. 

I think I may have the answer. [You bloody would have. - Ed.] Freebies. Have a few records (Yes, I know that 7” singles no longer exist, but I’m sure you get the gist.)/books/tickets to an exhibition been passed out to some execs at the Beeb? I couldn’t possibly say, but you are welcome to draw your own conclusion.



Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 11th of November? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Charles Penrose 1873 - Entertainer. Famous for... this.

Iain Macleod 1913 - Politician.

Ivy Benson 1913 - Bandleader.

Robert Carr 1916 - Politician.

Roy Jenkins 1920 - Politician.

Ron Greenwood 1921 - Footy bloke.

George Blake 1922 - Spy.

June Whitfield 1925 - Actress. June Fletcher in Happy Ever After.

Chris Dreja 1945 - Musician. A Yardbird. Here are the Yardbirds (featuring a certain James Page) with Over, Under, Sideways, Down.

Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson 1945 - Foo’y blurk.

Andy Partridge 1953 - Musician. Founder member of XTC. Here’s a nice wee toon, Love on a Farmboy's Wages

Bruce Woolley 1953 - Musician. He has been involved in many musical collaborations over the years. Here is the Radio Science Orchestra with Atom Age Girl.

Ian Craig Marsh 1956 - Musician. A founding member of Human League, he later formed the British Electric Foundation and Heaven 17. A clip? But of course. Here’s the BEF with Groove Thang from the album Music for Listening To. Isn’t that the most perfect title for an album?

David Easter 1959 - Actor. Mac Nightingale in Hollyoaks.

Andy Hughes 1965 - Musician. One time member of The Orb. He was involved with this tune, the band’s biggest hit, Toxygene.

Nick Blackman 1989 - Footy bloke. Ex-Motherwell, you know.

Jamaal Lascelles 1993 - Footy bloke.

Ellie Simmonds 1994 - Swimmy bloke.

Ryan Kent 1996 - Footy bloke.

Okay, now what about any famous or notorious individuals born on the 18th of November?

Katie Johnson 1878 - Actress. Her only starring role was as Mrs Wilberforce in The Ladykillers when she was aged 76; a role which won her the British Film Academy award for best actress.


Katie Johnson aka Mrs Wilberforce aka Mrs Lop-sided

Wyndham Lewis 1882 - Painter, writer and critic.

Alec Issigonis 1906 - Car designer. Designed the Morris Minor and the Austin/Morris Mini.

Bobby Thompson 1911 - Comedian. Known as The Little Waster.

Brian Huggett 1938 - Golfy bloke.

Jimmy Crawford 1937 - Singer. Here is his hit from 1961, I Love how You Love Me.

Ian McCulloch 1939 - Actor. Greg Preston in Survivors.

Bill Giles 1939 - TV weatherman.

John Pitman 1939 - Journalist, TV producer and documentary film maker.

David Hemmings 1941 - Actor. Dildano in Barbarella.

Chris Rainbow 1946 - Musician. A clip? Indeed. Here’s Give Me What I Cry For.

Joe Corrigan 1948 - Footy bloke.

Graham Parker 1950 - Musician. With his band, The Rumour, he had a hit or two. Here’s Temporary Beauty.

John Parr 1954 - Musician. Would you like another clip? Aye, go on then. Here’s the very non-PC Naughty Naughty.

Jake Brockman 1955 - Musician. Known as the fifth Bunnyman as he had been associated with the band throughout the 1980s before becoming a full-time member in 1989. Have another clip. Here’s Nothing Lasts Forever.

Shirley Strong 1958 - Athleticky bloke.

Kim Wilde 1960 - Singer. Here’s another clip for you, You Came.  [Ooer, missus! - Ed.] Behave yourself.

Stephen Moffat 1961 - TV writer and producer.

Paul Smith 1961 - TV writer.

Peter Schmeichel 1963 - fodbold målmand.

Nadia Sawalha 1964 - Actress and TV presenter.

Jenny Jay 1967 - Actress. Carmen in Bread.

Gavin Peacock 1967 - Footy bloke.

Anthony McPartlin 1975 - Not Dec.

Lucy Akhurst 1975 - Actress. Sophie in Spaced.

Matthew Baynton 1980 - Screenwriter, actor and musician. Member of the Horrible Histories troupe which has been together for that programme as well as Yonderland and Ghosts.

Michael Dawson 1983 - Footy bloke.

Marc Albrighton 1989 - Footy bloke.




I’ve received a letter...

Dear (the late) Jake Grambleman,

It was nice to hear a song from your band, Echo and the Bunnymen. I was wondering what was the first top ten hit from them was. Can you help?

Yours earnestly,

Dirk Utter.




Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Korblades fare? We won. And lost. 88 pees back from our £2.20 stake. What happened? Read on.


Birmingham vs Ipswich - Away win

Result - Birmingham 2 Ipswich 2

Ooh! ’It the bar!

After the home side led 2-0 with only 11 minutes left, Ipswich substitute Marcus Harness pulled one back.

Harness then scored again on 89 minutes to level the score - and though that was enough to earn Rooney his first point from his fourth game in charge, it still felt like a defeat.

Birmingham led on 13 minutes after Jay Stansfield's fifth goal of the season - and that was doubled six minutes after the break when Cameron Burgess put through his own net under pressure from Stansfield.

But Ipswich got one back on 79 minutes when Freddie Ladapo's effort was saved by goalkeeper John Ruddy but the rebound fell to fellow substitute Harness.

Harness then got his second to stretch second-placed Ipswich's unbeaten run to 10 league games - and take them a point closer to leaders Leicester City.

Despite their three-game losing run since previous boss John Eustace was sacked, Birmingham had the protective cushion of a great record against Ipswich, who have won only once in their past 19 visits to St Andrew's.

Rooney had opted to make another four changes following last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Southampton - and the hosts went 1-0 up when Juninho Bacuna's through ball let in Stansfield, who swivelled inside the box and Ipswich keeper Vaclav Hladky failed to prevent the recalled striker scoring.


Plymouth vs Middlesbrough - Away win

Result - Plymouth 3 Middlesbrough 3

Ooh! ’It the bar! Again!

Plymouth Argyle twice came from a goal down to win a point as they held Middlesbrough to an entertaining 3-3 draw in the Championship.

Josh Coburn put Boro ahead from close range midway through the first half before Bali Mumba levelled after a good passage of play from the hosts.

Finn Azaz's superb effort put Argyle ahead at the break, but Boro responded as first Coburn converted after his penalty kick was saved and then Sam Greenwood put them in front soon after.

But Morgan Whittaker levelled the scores once again as his curling free kick from the left evaded everyone and skipped off the wet turf into the net.


Millwall vs Southampton - Away win

Result - Millwall 0 Southampton 1


Substitute Ryan Fraser scored in added time to give Southampton victory at Millwall.

Fraser popped up at the near post to grab the three points in an otherwise forgettable game at The Den.

Goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski looked to have earned Millwall a vital point with a brilliant save to deny Kamaldeen Sulemana.

But he hadn’t.


Arbroath vs Partick - Away win

Result - Arbroath 1 Partick 3


Aidan Fitzpatrick scored in each half, and Brian Graham added a third, to earn three points for the Jags.

Kerr McInroy was the supplier for both of Fitzpatrick's goals, while Graham took advantage of a slack pass back to complete the win.

Stevie Lawless missed a penalty and Harry Milne had an effort disallowed but that mattered little in the end.

Neither did Jermaine Hylton's late consolation.


Cove Rangers vs Hamilton - Away win

Result - Cove Rangers 1 Hamilton 0


No match report. This is Scotland, mate. We don’t matter up here.

Never mind grumbling, let’s have some grambling. (Do you see what I did there?) What has The Grambler come up with this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Bristol Rovers vs Fleetwood - Home win - Evens

Notts County vs Bradford - Home win - 17/20

Accrington vs Wrexham - Away win - 20/21

Barrow vs Crawley - Home win - 19/20

Harrogate vs Swindon - Away win - 19/20

The bets have been placed - Ten 20 pee doubles plus a single 20 pee accumulator. If the results go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will be richer to the tune of a whopping


Ten pees less whopping than last time.




Teaser time...

Yay! How did you get on with the five teasers set last time? Here are the answers.

1. Who am I?

I was born in North Richmond, New South Wales in 1972. A goalkeeper, I played 366 games for Middlesbrough and 172 for Fulham and hold the record for the most Premier League appearances of any Australian. I was capped for Australia 109 times over a 20 year period.

Answer - Mark Schwarzer

2. Which Nigerian has scored the most Premier League goals?

Answer - Yakubu Ayegbeni, known as Yakubu or ‘The Yak’

3. Who is the only player to have been capped for his country more than 200 times?

Answer - Cristiano Ronaldo (203) S’obvious, really.

4. Which club plays its home games at the Ashton Gate Stadium?

Answer - Bristol City

5. Another anagram? Why not. Here’s a Scottish footballer...


Answer - Che Adams

Would you like five for this week? Of course you would. [Have they any option? - Ed.]

1. Who am I?

I was born in Utrecht in 1964. A striker, my career was split between two clubs, Ajax and AC Milan. I scored 128 goals for Ajax and 91 for Milan. I was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992. I won the Ballon d’Or three times. In 1992 I was the first player to score four goals in a Champions League match. I was capped 58 times and helped the Netherlands win UEFA Euro 1988, where I also won the Golden Boot. My career was cut short by an ankle injury and I retired aged just 28.

2. Which Italian player has scored the most Premier League goals?

3. Who was the first footballer to receive a knighthood?

4. Which club plays its home games at the Keepmoat Stadium?

5. Here’s another anagram. Who was this English player? [Ah... Past tense. Is that a clue? - Ed.]


Easy peasy.

There you have it; five teasers to test you. As always, try and answer them before shouting out Hey Googly, Syria or Alexis. Please feel free to pass on the link to your pals so that they can enjoy The Grambler’s footy teasers too.




Remember the serious message...

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of (the already mentioned) Never Too Young | Bowel Cancer UK



Please, take a few minutes to watch an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

Click on this link: The amount quoted is miles out of date. The total now stands at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Ms. J. Whitfield who provides this week’s concluding link. You may remember June Whitfield as Edina’s mum in Absolutely Fabulous from the 1990s until the 2000s. You may remember her as Terry Scott’s missus in Happy Ever After and Terry and June [They must have been scratching their heads to come up with that title. - Ed.] Ahem... from the 1970s and 80s. But June Whitfield had been a star long before those shows. She first achieved stardom not on the small screen (as they used to term TVs) but on the radio. She joined the hit radio show Take It From Here in 1953. The show featured a section which translates as Les Miserables. Seriously. It was called The Glums and it featured Jimmy Edwards as Pa Glum, June Whitfield as Eth and Dick Bentley as her gormless boyfriend, Ron Glum... He lacked any gorm, whatever.  Let’s have a little clip to finish. Altogether now... Take it from here...







That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week (well, most weeks) by going to the blog at where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may have missed.


Happy grambling.


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