Excuse Me, Are You John Shuttleworth?

Radio 4 fans need no introduction to singer/organist John Shuttleworth, who has been a firm favourite on the station for some years now. But say the name Graham Fellows and many listeners won’t know who you’re talking about – including John Shuttleworth himself!

Graham Fellows is an actor, musician and character comedian who has been in showbusiness for 40 years and, after hiding behind the masks of made-up people, it’s time he revealed himself.

This two-part series is an honest account of Graham’s life to date - sometimes hilarious, sometimes moving and often disarmingly honest - which will give a real sense of the man behind the mask. Each show will be punctuated with witty and moving songs performed on pedal harmonium and Graham will share which songs he kept for himself and which he gave to his characters, and why.

There will, on occasion, be interjections from some of Graham’s characters, particularly John Shuttleworth, as these lives are so intertwined. In fact, John is such a well-developed character that he can interject when Graham least expects it!

Episodes

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012020122420201225Part One finds Graham greeting John on Christmas Eve before he begins to share his story, although John doesn’t know who he is or why he’s there and assumes he’s a carol singer. But Graham wants to take us back to 1977 when he first started Drama school and came up with a riff that led him to his first character – Jilted John.

From here we follow Graham’s life as a jobbing actor in Coronation street, a theatrical landlord to Hollywood star Mark Rylance, and a role in the film Morons from Outer Space.

Then Graham lands a song publishing deal for his first solo album, Love at the Hacienda, and to celebrate the deal and amuse the record company he recorded a comedy demo tape, in which he pretended to be a naff singer/songwriter looking himself for a song publishing deal. His publisher loved it and the solo career was put on hold.

The show ends with the song that explains Graham’s love for audio recording and, in particular, reel to reel tape recorders which is how he came to start talking to himself and eventually created the world of John Shuttleworth, his family and friends.

A Chic Ken production for BBC Radio 4

After years hiding behind the masks of made-up people, Graham Fellows tells his own story.

02 LAST2020122520201228Part Two finds Graham a bit depressed and ready to quit showbusiness. After some counselling, he decides that what he really wants to do with his life is become a milkman! But after three months with not a single glimpse of a housewife in a nightie, he’s offered an acting job in the Theatre. This renews his love of performing and he returns to John Shuttleworth, honing the character so that he’s shortlisted for the Perrier awards and has his first series on Radio 4.

Graham soon feels ready to create a new character, and rock musicologist Brian Appleton is born: “I've been dumped upon from a massive height by so many rock stars, even Morrissey ripped me off. I wrote a song called My Turn to be Poorly.”

John is ever present, and Graham reveals that such were the demands of Shuttleworth and the sheer quantity of songs the character needed for new tours and radio shows that he had to pass many of his own songs straight over to John, including She Lives in Hope and The Man who Lives on the M62. At which point, Ken Worthington appears and insists that John wrote all his own songs, unaided.

Graham reveals who voices the other characters in the Shuttleworth world before ending the show with a song that captures the truth of a simple event in HIS life – I Had an Egg with my Son.

A Chic Ken production for BBC Radio 4

After years hiding behind the masks of made-up people, Graham Fellows tells his own story.

Radio 4 fans need no introduction to singer/organist John Shuttleworth, who has been a firm favourite on the station for some years now. But say the name Graham Fellows and many listeners won’t know who you’re talking about – including John Shuttleworth himself!

Graham Fellows is an actor, musician and character comedian who has been in showbusiness for 40 years and, after hiding behind the masks of made-up people, it’s time he revealed himself.

There will, on occasion, be interjections from some of Graham’s characters, particularly John Shuttleworth, as these lives are so intertwined. In fact, John is such a well-developed character that he can interject when Graham least expects it!