Famous Grimsby peeps

Cod Almighty | Article

by Various

9 May 2006

We've all had that conversation: the one about celebrities from Grimsby. We've all sat there in the pub with our mates, racking our brains to remember anyone much after Julie Peasgood, only to wake up at three o'clock in the morning thinking of Norman Lamont. No longer need you rely on your deteriorating memory, though, as here for your present and future reference is Cod Almighty's at-a-glance guide to famous Grimsby peeps. Do we rule or what?

Damon Albarn's gran

I have no proof this is true. One of the lads at my workplace lived in Grimsby for a few years and is adamant that Damon Albarn visits the local area once in a while to check up on his gran. Tenuous, I know... SW

Damon Albarn indeed has relatives in Grimsby, cos our A-level performing arts teacher reckoned that he was Damon's uncle and that 'Country House' was penned about him! When they did the Pier that time and got a Telegraph 'special supplement' (ie. nothing's going on this week), the whole family went VIP to see them (although the concept of VIP at the Pier remains a strange mystery to me). 'MH'

'Lord' Archer

Maybe you decided he wasn't Grimsby enough, or maybe you decided he wasn't worth a place, or indeed maybe you didn't consider him. In case it's the last of these...

Although he was born in Weston-super-Mare, Jeffrey Archer became the youngest member of the House of Commons in 1969 as MP for Louth. Already he had represented Great Britain as a sprinter in international competition, and was later promoted to deputy chairman of the Tory party, and then to the House of Lords. Archer wrote many best-selling novels and collections of stories, but his most famous work of fiction involved creating forged alibis and falsified records to win a libel suit against the Daily Star, who claimed he had slept with a prostitue and paid her hush money. When the truth emerged he was fined and imprisoned for four years for perverting the course of justice. This proved to be a much more effective publicity stunt than running or politics, and led to the publication of his prison diary. MS

Tony Bluto

The Grimsby-born-and-bred actor pops up all over the place when you least expect it. He's been in loads of films including Truly Madly Deeply, Nightbreed, and 102 Dalmatians. He also played Nick the accountant in the first episode of the excellent Black Books. Recently he played the Mellors-esque farmhand in the advert for Pot Noodle's Bacon Sizzler, a cartoon version of him appearing on supermarket shelves all over the country. Tony is a big fan of John Belushi: while still living in the Grimsby area, he created a show in which he recreated Belushi's Blues Brothers role. Furthermore, 'Bluto' is not his real name; Equity made him choose another, so he plumped for the name of John Belushi's character in Animal House. MM

Jens Bojen

Humberston-based climber, reported in the Grimmo Telegraph of 20 June 2005 as "the oldest man in the UK to reach the summit" of Mount Everest aged 62 years old. Revealed that he was moved to attempt the climb - deemed to be a challenge for the most experienced of climbers - as "I read about Sir Ranulph Fiennes and I thought if he is going to attempt that at 61, there was no reason why I shouldn't attempt it". This despite Bojen only starting to walk and climb ten years ago in the Lake District, after spending 30 years as a sea fisherman. Wise words: "Over many years you learn to relax. The first thing to do when things get tough is relax, then think it through." SW

Keith Chegwin's aunt

I can't believe you went so far down into the bottom of the barrel without spotting Cheggers' auntie, who lives on Ladysmith Road. ME

Quentin Cooper

Isn't Quentin Cooper a Town fan? SW

He is from Grimsby. He went to Wintringham, I think. That doesn't answer your question, but he has been known to dip around for Town matters in the e-world now and then, so he must have some latent interest in the association football club. TB

Steve Currie

The bassist in the original Rumble Band line-up, Currie shot to intergalactic fame when he joined T-Rex, playing on huuuuuge hits such as 'Get It On', 'Metal Guru', and 'Telegram Sam'. Stop looking blankly at me, younger readers, you're making me feel old again. He left the band but continued recording with Marc Bolan until the singer died in a car crash in 1977. Having emigrated to Portugal, Steve bizarrely also died in a car accident in 1981. MM

Della Dolan

Della Dolan became Miss UK in 1982, and went on to secure third place in that year's Miss World competition. At the time, beauty contests were attracting many protestors; indeed, as Dolan accepted her prize, shouts were heard from the crowd: "You're rubbish, Dolans!"; "Dominican Republic and Finland? You should be beating these easy!", "Sort it, Miss UKs!"

After a year of working with underprivileged old people, children and animals in an effort to bring about world peace, Dolan opened a clothes shop called Hobo in the precinct, which specialised in dead expensive stuff. I went in there once with my mum. It's in Abbeygate now.

Della Dolan is not to be confused with the "family saga portraying wartime life in the North East of England" Della Dolan, which is available used and new from Amazon. MM

Keeley Donovan

Grimmo's very own Keeley is now presenting the weather on Look North! Having risen up through that local window into local talent, Channel 7, Keeley did her studies, got some experience in on Propellor TV, before joining the BBC Yorkshire's weather squad. It's only a matter of time before we're saying "Paul Hudson, your time is up". SW

Michele Dotrice

Jane Eyre, Les Misérables, Henry IV and Anton Chekov's Three Sisters: Cleethorpes-born Michele Dotrice has been in stacks of quality drama, but - nearly 30 years after the series finished - is doubtlessly still plagued by idiots leaning out of car windows to shout "Mmmm Betty! The cat's done a whoopsie on the carpet!" at her when she's trying to quietly do some shopping.

Her role as Frank Spencer's long-suffering wife aside, Dotrice has quite an impressive acting CV: Boon, Midsomer Murders, and Murder In Suburbia, Michele With One 'L' has been in them all. She's even been in The Equalizer. And indeed... no, I'm sorry I can't do that obvious gag. You can work it out for yourselves when I tell you that she's married to Edward Woodward.

Her parents are actors, as are her two sisters, and most of them appear to have been born in Guernsey, so what Mrs Dotrice was doing in Meggies in 1948 when her waters broke is anybody's guess. MM

Her mam dropped her in Cleethorpes because her dad Roy Dotrice (Fagin in some old film) was playing on stage at a theatre on Alexandra Road. It's now an amusement arcade next to the chippy opposite Sea Road. RJ

Corinne Drewery

"Her out of Swing Out Sister" as everyone invariably refers to her. Swing Out Sister were most famous for, thanks to Pete Green's transposing: "you've got to find a way, say what you want to say, break out... BA-da-da-da-da daaaaa dah, ba-DA-da-da-da-da DAAAAH dah." Corinne apparently hailed from somewhere between Ludford and Louth and with Grimsby Town Football Club being the closest football league club, we'll claim her as one of our own. SW

Ray Edmonds

See Dean Reynolds. SW/SM

Craig Edwards

See Dean Reynolds. SW/SM

I would just like to make it known that Craig Edwards could often be seen, after he turned professional, keeping it real by pressing his arse against the wall of my folks' front garden while waiting for the number 4 bus, cue in hand. PG

Brenda Fisher

When I was a young lad in the 1950s the name Brenda Fisher was spoken in highly respectful tones. The daughter of a Grimsby fisherman, 'our Brenda' swam from France to England in 12 hours 42 minutes in 1951, setting the then fastest time for a female to conquer swimming's Everest. An accomplished marathon swimmer, she also became the third person ever to swim Lake Ontario in 1956, in a time of 18 hours 51 minutes. In her honour, the fine people of Grimsby bestowed on her the local equivalent to a Hollywood Oscar by naming a tug after her. She completed a second, but slower, crossing of the Channel in 1954.

Incidentally, long-distance swimming is a sporting activity in which women can compete with men on equal terms. Apparently, they have more buoyancy (you can make up your own reasons for this), which isn't much of an advantage in short swims but over the long distances can become a significant factor. In addition, they have greater insulation and more stored energy: obvious advantages when submerged in cold water for many hours. EF

There is a Mariners connection to Brenda Fisher in that she married Town player and Irish international Pat Johnson. RS

Helen Fospero

A regular face for Sky News and Five news these days, Meggies lass Helen went to Whitgift before starting off her journalist career at the Grimsby Evening Telegraph. Working her way up through Fleet Street, she found herself at Sky in the late 80's, the start of her television career. Helen has since appeared on GMTV and fronted the relaunched and regionalised Look North with Peter Levy, hand-picked by Greg Dyke. SW

Freddie Frinton

Freddie was born in Grimsby in 1909, the son of an unmarried local seamstress. After being fired from his job as a fish packer in a factory where he entertained his workmates with parodies and jokes, he assumed the name Frinton and became a music hall comedian. Although a non-smoking teetotaler, his trademark was playing a well-dressed but dishevelled stage drunk with a broken cigarette in hand and the catchphrase "Good evening occifer". He became known nationally when he appeared on TV: first on The Arthur Haynes Show in the late 1950s and then co-starring with Thora Hird in the sitcom Meet The Wife in the early 1960s. He died in 1968.

If you do a search for Freddie Frinton on the internet, and ignore the offer to buy a Freddie Frinton on eBay, you discover that most of the sites he's found on are German. This is because in Germany he's a national institution, starring in Dinner For One, the most talked about New Year's Eve programme on German television. Early in the evening of every 31 December, before they start the serious business of celebrating in earnest, Germans gather around TV sets in restaurants, bars and homes and are soon convulsed with laughter at the 20-minute sketch in black and white. In fact, for many Germans, seeing the old year out would be incomplete if Dinner For One were missing from their screens. It's bizarre, but it's true. I checked it out one year when we had analogue satellite TV and could receive all those German channels (you know, the ones with the soft porn on late at night). The sketch must have been on at least half a dozen times before midnight as different regional television stations screened it at different times. The show was recorded in 1963 and has been broadcast in Germany every year since. EF

Tim Gallagher

Another fine product of Grimsby's rich vein of performing talent, Tim was Elwood to Tony Bluto's Jake in their Blues Brothers tribute act. They did sketches as well, you know, and very funny ones at that.

Tim is not one of the Gallagher brothers, but he's been in plenty of trouble, playing 'Robber' in the TV series Harbour Lights, 'Convict' in the film Out Of Depth and appeared in Drunk and Disorderly with Keith Allen and Rowland Rivron. Tim was also heavily featured, I am told, in When Saturday Comes, in which he played Steve, team-mate of Sean Bean's hero. It's all very Sheffield United-flavoured, that one, but we won't hold that against Tim.

If this acting fame is not enough, I am reliably informed that Tim was classmates with snooker loopy Dean Reynolds. MM

Kim Gee

Or "the 23-year-old mum of three from Grimsby" as the Sun kept describing her during her time on Pop Idol in 2003. Was the fifth of the twelve contestants to be voted off despite constant jibes from Simon Cowell about her size. Austin Mitchell tabled a parliamentary motion saying Kim would be a worthy winner of the show. The next day Kim was voted off. Not to be confused with: Matt from G4, Verity, the 'adult entertainer' with the same name. SW

Vivean Gray

Better known during the late 80s as grumpy rat-bag Mrs Mangle from Neighbours, Vivean Gray was born in Cleethorpes. Leaving the area for Australia, she went on to make appearances in other prime Aussie TV fare such as The Sullivans and Prisoner Cell Block H. Vivean reportedly moved back to her native land after she left Neighbours. SW

Mike Hallett

See Dean Reynolds. SW

Patricia Hodge

Star of the BBC's highly acclaimed The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1986), Wintringham alumnus Hodge is currently appearing in ITV1's godawful-looking Sweet Medicine, having popped up at various points in between. Whenever I think of her I remember having the 'famous people from Grimsby' conversation with my mate from uni Emma, who said: "Ooh, Patricia Hodge, really? You wouldn't think it, cos she talks all la-di-da." PG

John Hurt

The man most famous for having an alien burst from his stomach in Alien. John was born in Derbyshire but moved to the area during his early with his clergyman dad. John went on to study painting at Grimsby College, before leaving for that there London. The Naked Civil Servant (also starring fellow North East Lincs thesp Patricia Hodge) propelled John from television to film, and he went on to grace many films with his distinctive gravelly voice: the aforementioned Ridley Scott classic, The Elephant Man (again with Hodge), Scandal, Midnight Express, Contact, and some champion indie affairs such as Dead Man (was that a hint of Grimmo I heard in that?) and the brilliant Love and Death on Long Island. SW

Verity Keays

Grimmo was represented in a classy light when the vocal coach participated on TV karaoke-a-thon X Factor in October 2004. One of trouser hoiker Simon Cowell's 'students', Verity was - absurdly - the second person to be voted off, probably because she was a sprightly 50 years old and not from a significant conurbation. Scored an own goal by admitting she liked "really nice singers like Celine Dion", but redeemed herself by revealing the rock chick underneath thanks to her Foreigner collection. Not to be confused with: Matt from G4, Kim Gee. SW

Norman Lamont

Ex-Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer. And what a funny fellow he was - the first Chancellor of the Exchequer to cut a sort of gay Dracula figure. To be fair to the lad Lamont, he was once queueing to get into a Town match and was spotted by some officials, who immediately offered to spirit him away into the higher sphere of the directors' suite, but our Norm insisted on sitting it out with the proles. Or so we were told.PG

I can't quite take issue with Norman Lamont, but at least want to put the record straight. He's from the Orkneys, as I recall (looking him up, I see he is now Lord Lamont of Lerwick, so maybe it's the Shetlands), but does have a gran who lived in Grimsby. One year the GET had two major scoops when his gran leaked his sacking as Chancellor, and Graham Taylor's dad, or brother, or someone, leaked his sacking as England manager.

About the time it suddenly became fashionable for Tories to like football (after Thatcher had stopped trying to destroy the game with ID cards), he claimed among his interests "Grimsby Town, the club I follow with devotion". This led the Guardian to ring up the club, who said that Michael Brown (the then MP for Cleethorpes?) was a regular visitor, and Austin Mitchell came along now and again, but they'd never seen Lamont. Shortly after that came the incident at the turnstiles, presumably as he tried to buff up his credentials. Looking him up just now, he makes no reference to football, or Grimsby, among his interests. PB

Jonny Lees

Sorry if I missed this one, but wasn't Ned Glover in Emmerdale from Grimsby? I can't think of his name but I would know if it I heard it. CR

Ned Glover is Jonny Lees - regular at Willy's. Also appeared, I think, in Early Doors at one point! J

Janice Long's relatives, maybe

Radio 2 DJ Janice Long has some relatives who live on Ladysmith Road. I think it is an aunt or her gran. Anon

Duncan McKenzie

Possibly the best player ever to come out of Grimsby. Born in Cleethorpes but attending Wintringham school, the great Dunc played over 300 professional games, scoring over 100 goals. Dunc joined Forest in 1967 after a farewell piss-up (well, we were; Dunc wasn't) somewhere off Filey Road or Beverley Crescent (we weren't actually invited - I didn't even know him but we knew some lasses who did and we just turned up with a can of Watneys Party Four). He was at Forest until 1974 then at Leeds until 1976, Anderlecht later in 1976, Everton until 1978, Chelsea in 1979 and Blackburn Rovers from 1979 to 1981. He also played for Tulsa Roughnecks and Chicago Sting. His party piece was jumping over Minis (cars not skirts) and throwing a cricket ball the length of Forest's pitch. RS

TS McPhee

Another famous Grimsby-area chappie is none other than T S (Tony) McPhee of the Groundhogs. My mate Gordon knows him quite well. What, you don't remember the Groundhogs? Split was their 'big' album in the early 70s. RD

Kevin Miles

Amid a recent discussion about Smiths tribute bands (Marion, Gene and Shed Seven for the record), Cod Almighty's very own Mark Stilton proferred that "Marion were infinitely superior to Gene who were just a blatant Smiths clone right down to the haircuts. The Gene bass player was from Grimsby though... incidentally." Smiths clones they might have been to you, Stilton, but did any of the Smiths support Town like Kevin Miles did? I rest my case.SW

Austin Mitchell

Seems to have been the town's representative at the House Of Parliament for eons. Austin, bless him, is forever popping up on TV furthering the town, or his own ego, whichever comes first. Most recently he was on Channel 4's news belittling Emperor Blair's heart problem in a "been there, done that" style. The late 90s saw him hosting a political debate show on Sky News.

He's not averse to the occasional potentially humiliating publicity stunt, but Austin's got that enthusiasm and energy that let him carry them off.

In relation to the Mariners, Austin replied to our pre-season survey, which was rather groovy of him but before that... uh... all I can remember is him being carried along by the two Wembley visits back in 1998. Get yersen down to Blundell Park, Austin, and prove you're a man of your people. Actually, staying away proves you are. SW

Amy Monkhouse

What about Amy Monkhouse, who has won two bronze medals in the last two Commonwealth Games? JJ

Don Oslear

Oslear began his working life as a filleter on Grimsby docks and played local football as a goalkeeper. Despite never playing cricket professionally either, it was as an umpire that he made his name, overseeing more than 350 first-class matches, including five tests and eight one-day internationals in the early 1980s. A traditionalist with a sense of fun, he decried the introduction of coloured clothing to the one-day game in 1993, likening the umpires' new blue attire to that of a milkman and incurring the ire of the then Test and County Cricket Board by carrying a rack of empty milk bottles onto the field.

Oslear died in May 2018 at the age of 89. PG

Darren Pattinson

With 29 wickets for his county that season, at an average of less than 21, Darren Pattinson was clearly in excellent form when he received his England call-up. But it was the wider context – a career comprising only 11 first-class matches, by the age of almost 29 – which meant Daz's international selection would go down as one of the most eccentric of all time.

Born in Grimsby in 1979, Pattinson grew up in Australia playing club cricket, and made a belated first-class debut for Victoria in January 2007 while working as a roof tiler. A series of handy performances as a fast-medium swing bowler earned him a two-season contract with Nottinghamshire, where he came to the notice of the England selectors in 2008.

Initially selected as back-up, the player made it into the XI for the second test against South Africa at Headingley after the withdrawal of Yorkshire strike duo Ryan Sidebottom and Matthew Hoggard. A decent enough performance in the visitors' first innings returned 2 for 95, but Patto became the scapegoat as England suffered a ten-wicket battering and never represented his country again.

Pattinson played a key role as Notts won the County Championship in 2010 and went on to become a useful performer in the Twenty20 game. His international elevation, though, would be remembered as an aberration by the England selectors and was panned by Ian Botham as "illogical, pathetic and diabolical".

Darren's erstwhile international captain Michael Vaughan later revealed more about the circumstances that led to the player's solitary test appearance. While Sidebottom was injured, Hoggard had got "absolutely trolleyed" at a benefit function on the Tuesday night, and was in no fit state to begin the match on Thursday morning.

All of this seems to us to express the very essence of Grimsby quite gloriously, and makes our hearts swell with pride all the more for Darren's unlikely exploits. Botham likes golf, campaigned for Brexit and played for Scunthorpe United, so he can do one, the big meanie. PG

Al Pellay/Lana Pillay

If you've ever suspected Grimsby might not seem the nicest place to grow up LGBT and mixed-heritage, you're probably right. "All my life I have experienced a regional and generational homophobia and racism, which was my motivation to follow the yellow brick road far away from Grimsby Town and the parochial mindsets," Pillay told Voice Online in May 2011. Can't blame you one bit for leaving, Lana, but it seems a bit harsh blaming it all on the Mariners.

Born in Grimsby in 1959, actor, singer and variety act Pillay appeared on TV and in film with several Comic Strip Presents productions in the 1980s and (as Lana Pellay) achieved an international hit single with 'Pistol in my Pocket'.

Maximum respect is extended from the Cod Almighty team to Lana for having sung the "Let the carnival begin/Every pleasure, every pain" bit in the song 'Human Nature' by Gary Clail and the On-U Sound System. This featured as the theme tune to our favourite indie TV show Snub TV, without which a whole generation of provincial adolescents would never have experienced the sounds of The Pixies, Jesus Jones and Ultra Vivid Scene on BBC2 just after teatime. PG

Julie Peasgood

Julie Peasgood. How her surname proved to be apt when the Grimsby-born actor was roped by Birds Eye - a major local employer - into plugging frozen veg on TV during my youth. With her dazzingly toothy and cheery smile, who could resist the charms of a few frozen peas to go with their fish fingers and chips? You still hear Julie's voice over ads to this day.

Julie has also had stints with Brookie (as Fran Pearson) and that perennial refuge for talentless young blonde actresses, Hollyoaks. Once a year, you're guaranteed Julie getting back to her roots supporting the Caxton Theatre - Grimsby's thesp throng - complete with Grimsby Telegraph local star coverage.

Incidentally, Julie's daughter Kate McEnery - once described by the Diary's brother as 'fit' - plays Jody in Hollyoaks. Unfortunately for hormone-driven teenage male Town fans fantasising that Kate will jump at the offer of a ticket to BP, Kate is rumoured to support Arsenal. SW

Sophie Powles

After roles in Holby City, Dalziel and Pascoe, and something called Britannia High, Cleethorpes-born actor Powles is currently doing the biz in Emmerdale as teenage smackhead Holly Barton. RD

Dean Reynolds

Another in Grimsby's long line of snooker professionals, Reynolds enjoyed a 20-year career ending in 2001. He attained a world ranking of 7th in the 1990-91 season after reaching the finals of two ranking tournaments in 1989: the Grand Prix and the British Open. PG

Allan Smethurst, aka The Singing Postman

Allan Smethurst shot to public attention, at the age of 38, in February 1966 when he made it on to Top of the Pops as The Singing Postman. Following the Rolling Stones' performance of '19th Nervous Breakdown' on the show, he performed his self-penned ditty 'Hev Yew Gotta Loight Boy?' At that time Allan was living at 29 Garnett Street in Cleethorpes, and working locally as a postman on twelve quid a week. Heading for fame and fortune he packed in the job, but convinced them to let him keep his uniform.

The Singing Postman even won the Ivor Novello award that year for best novelty song - which took some doing in those days, when songs like 'Jake the Peg' were doing the rounds. The most recycled soundbite is that "Allan briefly outsold both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in various parts of East Anglia", but the weird thing is that despite the title becoming a national catchphrase, the single never actually made it in to the top 50. Come to think of it, neither did 'Jake the Peg'.

All his songs harked back to formative years in north Norfolk, but Allan had actually lived in Grimsby since sometime during the second world war, so I've no compunction in saying that he is one of ours. The Singing Postman ditties were written in his bedroom on a Woollies guitar bought in 1949. He eventually plucked up the courage to send them to the BBC in Norwich who gave him a spot on local radio.

But by July 1970 the Singing Postman was broke and signing on. Afflicted by severe stage fright, he had taken to the bottle during a summer season at the Windmill theatre in Great Yarmouth. Allan spent most of the 70s pissed up and trying to summon the inspiration for a career revival - a bit like me really. To make things worse Allan developed 'curling finger', a nasty form of arthritis that made plucking a guitar damn nigh impossible. His musical career was over.

By the beginning of the 80s Allan was back in Grimsby, lodging at the Sally Army hostel where he lived until his death in December 2000. Despite everything, he'd hung on to his Ivor Novello award, but no-one could ever get him to sing, even at the Christmas parties at the hostel. The press tracked him down when Ovaltine Light used his 'hit' single on an advertising campaign in 1994 (a stroke of genius by those Ovalteenies, don't you think?), and Rolf Harris visited him a few months before his death at the hostel. Apparently Rolf had recorded a cover version of 'Hev Yew Gotta Loight Boy' and was trying to latch on to the fashion for duets by convincing Allan to record a cover of 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' with him.

Don't just think of the Singing Postman as a bespectacled, buck-toothed Norfolk dialect novelty act. Beneath the naive façade of his simple ditties lurks a wistful longing for an earlier age when... [snip] RD

Chris Snell

"There are not many world champions in Grimsby? Well I was world champion in 1984 (see Telegraph headlines early Nov 84) at budgerigars. With my late dad we won Best in Show, beating 5,300 of the best birds in 1984."

Matt Stiff

The second representative from Grimsby (after the wonderful Verity) to make the finals of X Factor. One quarter of finalists G4, who lost to a man who proclaimed "R&B is cool". The group was formed when the members met at some arts college in London. Matt is the only member who seems to have decent music taste, openly claiming to own Marilyn Manson and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, while the others went for the likes of Gareth Gates, Coldplay, and - pfffttt! - Faure. Dunno if he's a Town fan though. Not to be confused with: Verity Keays, Kim Gee. SW

Haydn Taylor

Known locally (or so I've read) as the first man to swim the Humber in the 1930s, Hadyn went on to make his name nationally as a swimmer of the English Channel, which he did in 1935. SW

Bernie Taupin

Didn't famous songwriter Bernie Taupin have some connection with Grimsby? I know he wrote Elton John's track 'Grimsby' – about our fair town – but my dad said he came from Market Rasen. It would be interesting to find out, as Mr Taupin can definitely be described as talented. GB

He came from Tealby. Tealby, not Rasen. MM

Rod Temperton

Meggies-born Rod Temperton played keyboards in funky 70s band Heatwave and wrote their biggest hit 'Boogie Nights'. I liked that song a lot – and as it happens, so did Quincy Jones, who signed him up to write a few tunes on this album he was producing for Michael Jackson. Rod wrote the title track to Off The Wall, as well as 'Rock With You', and a few years later replicates this success by writing a few tunes on the multi-billion-zillion-squillion-seller album Thriller, again including the title track. "Rod Temperton of Grimsby and Heatwave" is how he was touchingly described on Jacko's website.

He wrote songs for Donna Summer and Herbie Hancock, and two of George Benson's most well-known tracks: 'Love Times Love' and 'Give Me The Night'. You may not like any of the above commercial radio-friendly songs, but you can't deny his success. He was even nominated for an Oscar for a song on the soundtrack of The Color Purple. Not bad for a scrawny white lad from Cleethorpes. MM

Thomas Turgoose

Star of the acclaimed Shane Meadows film This is England, Turgoose plays a 12-year-old who lives in a bleak coastal town and turns to local skinheads as substitutes for his father who was killed in the Falklands War. Meadows employed a casting agent to find his star, and after visiting a special project for expelled youngsters in Grimmo, Turgoose was caught on an audition tape. The lad demanded a fiver to return for a screen test with Meadows. The director had reservations because the child seemed so unstable, but he knew he had found his star: "He was the only one who asked for a fiver and we said, 'that's our boy'." Turgoose is starring in the new Meadows film Somers Town as well according to reports. SW

Mike Wattam

Remember Vic Reeves' Big Night Out? All those mad characters? Remember the bloke who popped up to ask "Any booze f' t' baby?", only to be told "You can't give a baby booze"? That's Mike Wattam, that is, former member of Grimsby's Live Theatre group. MM

John Whitgift

If you are looking for a Grimbarian who must have wielded real power and influence throughout the land, then surely John Whitgift is the man. Born in Grimsby circa 1530, he was rose to be archbishop of Canterbury in 1583. He was well favoured by Queen Elizabeth, attending to her last moments at her deathbed, and crowned the new king, James VI and I.

Whitgift, whose religious views were Calvinistic, found Puritan writings heretical, seditious and dangerous and harming the uniformity of the Church of England. In 1586, he became a Privy Councillor, and secured a decree from the Star Chamber for increased censorship. With this decree, Whitgift did his best to suppress Puritan writings. Hmm, he sounds a bit like the sort of bloke who would nowadays sit in the Pontoon and chant anti-Yorkshire and racist songs. He died in 1604. EF

Tom Wintringham

Poet, author, soldier, politician, military historian, journalist and unsung Grimbarian hero of the left, Tom was born in the town in 1898. He served in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1923 and was imprisoned two years later for seditious libel and incitement to mutiny.

During the 1930s he founded the socialist literary journal Left Review and was injured twice while fighting against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. He was barred from both the army and Home Guard during World War II because of his political beliefs.

In his later life Tom worked in radio and film. His suggestion of a 'World Guard' to police disputed regions has been credited as the inspiration for United Nations peacekeeping forces. He died of a heart attack in 1949 at the age of just 51. PG

Further reading

Marc Woods

Local-born swimmer, who notched up 12 medals – four of which were gold – over five Paralympics, most recently at the Athens games in 2004. When I was at St James in the late 80's I used to fleetingly talk to him during swimming at Scartho Baths. During that time he bagged five medals in Seoul. Funny thing is it was six years later I realised this, which shows how much attention I paid during assembly. Top bloke though. SW

Lucy Worsley

Not all famous Grimsby peeps need actually be from Grimsby, as our Lucy demonstrates. Educated at Oxford, born in Reading, and clearly a bit posh, she nevertheless enrolled readily in the black and white army in January 2019 as the Mariners prepared to face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.

Before her brilliant career as a TV historian and author, Lucy worked as a curator of historic houses and oversaw the multi-million-pound refurbishment of Kensington Palace. At this point I can't be the only one hoping a role can be found for her overseeing a spectacular revamp of Blundell Park. PG

Patrick Wymark

Born in Grimsby in 1926 as Patrick Cheeseman, Wymark appeared in the feature films Where Eagles Dare and Cromwell but was most famous for telly appearances in The Plane Makers (anyone ever heard of it?) and The Power Game. He died in 1970. RS

I remember The Plane Makers - it starred Patrick Wymark and was on just after my bedtime in about 1965. RD

Nicholas Volley

An outstanding famous artist originating in Beverley Crescent, Grimsby and rising to become an artist of international acclaim. SWa

These famous Grimsby peeps were remembered by: GB - Glenn Bateman, PB - Pat Bell, TB - Tony Butcher, RD - Richard Dawson, ME - Mick Ebbs, EF - Ed Fleet, PG - Pete Green, AH - Andy Holt, RJ - Roy Jamson, J - 'Jim', JJ - Jo Joel, SM - Sam Metcalf, MM - Miles Moss, CR - Claire Raper, MS - Michael Shelton, RW - Roger Swindells, SW - Simon Wilson, SWa - Sandy Watson

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